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Photos by Chris Casella

Dual Purpose

By Scott Woods

Published December 1, 2011

When Linda Jakes and Dena Gost first laid eyes on their Harrison West double, the potential within the 103-year-old structure was obvious.

But when comparing the home’s current splendor to photos of the property from just a few years ago, it’s apparent that Jakes and Gost have some pretty imaginative eyes.

“Oh, it was gutted,” Jakes said. “The entire building – both sides.”

The ladies approached Dave Iler, who had purchased the dilapidated property and was busy restoring one half of the building. The pair each purchased one side of the double and retained Iler to finish off the project. Iler was at such an early point in the restoration process that Jakes and Gost were able to select their own fixtures, colors and designs for the interiors, including stained-glass shower windows, glass staircase railings and entirely new kitchens.

The customized renovation that resulted after several years of work was “incredible,” Jakes said. The two condos have nearly identical layouts, but each retains a separate feel and personality. Entering Jakes’ condo elicits an entirely different vibe than Gost’s – one who didn’t know better would be hard pressed to realize the spaces are part of the same, symmetrical building.

Jakes and Gost said that while the complete and total restoration of the residence was a long time in the making – Iler even took the time to dislodge the old, leaky mortar in the basement walls with a single screwdriver before installing fresh mortar – the results were well worth the wait.

“When we first bought it, there was a crack house next door and bullet holes in our walls,” Jakes said, adding that the beautification of their building and others in the neighborhood has helped to stifle criminal activity in the immediate area. “It’s come a long way.”

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