New Albany residents bring new life into old homes

Maintaining the heritage, preserving history, and keeping the tradition alive is what Scott and Laura Dunnam always have in mind when they refurbish an old home.

For approximately four years, The Dunnams have made a living from restoring, rebuilding, and refurbishing old homes that were dilapidated, had water damage or other damage, or just needed help in one way or another getting back to its original glory.

The Dunnams own a company called Dunnam Builders and once they finish with an old home and bring it back to today’s standards, it is never on the market for longer than six weeks. They have built homes in the Cedar Crest subdivision, which is the first subdivision with underground utilities.

The homes that are worked on are re-done to be more energy efficient.

The light green house on Bankhead Street is one of the houses that The Dunnams have refurbished and rebuilt and have tried to keep the integrity of the home and restore some of the home back to its original design from 1908.

All of the work for this house took nine months. The house was raised fourteen inches, new windows were installed, they restored some of the brick, and every piece of salvageable wood from the original house was used.

“We get a satisfaction out of getting to save something worthwhile,” Laura said.

On the outside of the house, the gingerbread style was added, along with other designs. “We designed the gingerbread from a lot of antique pieces from around the world. We duplicated the original gingerbread from the house,” said Laura.

On top of the house is a functional lightning rod, complete with a red glass ball, which was very common in the early 1900s for houses to have that on the roof. This house was built before Bankhead was ever built. In the early 1900s, it was all farmland. However, a lot of the houses that were on Bankhead were owned by Ruben Quinn and he sold each piece of property one piece at a time. This piece of property has two and a half acres with it.

On the back side of the house, there was a back porch at one time, but The Dunnams decided to expand the porch and make it almost the whole length of the back of the house. They also built a porch area upstairs overlooking the backyard acreage.

Inside the house, the ceilings were raised from being eight-foot to twelve-foot tall ceilings.

In the kitchen, the ceiling is pressed tin, a stove and refrigerator were installed, and all of the cabinets and granite countertops were refurbished. The pantry door is one of three doors that were original to the house. The pine floors that line the house were original to the home also, but were not originally used as floors.

The Dunnams had to knock out a few walls, create new rooms, built an entire staircase, painted all of the walls, and tried to restore all of the original doorknobs and light fixtures to the original or buy something that would have been used in a house in 1908.

This house was named Annonle, which means “second life.” Laura named this house because it reminded her of her grandmother’s home.

All of the homes that The Dunnams or any other person or couple rebuilds, restores, or refurbishes gets a chance to have a second life.

Scott said, “We enjoy saving history. We don’t just revitalize a house – we revitalize the area. We feel like stewards or caretakers of the homes. Houses like this were built for generations of families and we want our homes that we build to last for at least another 100 years.”