It’s official:  Trent and I are the owners of a new home.  (Drumroll please)…The Kizer Mansion.  If you live in the South Bend area, you may know this home.  If not, allow me to give a few of the important tidbits.

1.  Located on W Washington St in South Bend, IN.

2.  Built in 1885-1886 (historical, to say the least).

3.  Size is still being debated.  Some say 7,000 sq ft others say 10,000 sq ft.  We feel it’s around 9,000 – but we will know exactly when we get done.

4.  Current use has been many apartments (MANY) since 1940.

5.  Future use will be our home.

6.  The goal is to renovate this back to a single family home over the next 2 years….and not have any ER visits during this process.

You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram (icons below will link directly) for more pics.

**Photo credit: Todd Ruth Photography**


  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Suzanne Williams

    That is great news! Good luck! I can’t wait to follow your progress. It is such a beautiful home.

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Susan Battles

    Thank You! That house is beautiful and deserves a to be saved. I wish you the Best of Luck. Please post pictures.

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Lorie Eby

    Congrats! We restored an old schoolhouse in Nappanee and still reside there! We love it! You will love your new home too!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply


    My husband and I toured the mansion in December during their holiday walking tour. I was so amazed by the beauty and size of the home. We wish we could be the owners, but are so thankful you will be documenting the project so we can live vicariously through you. Good luck and enjoy the beautiful home!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Linda Brooks

    I lived on COLFAX street. My girlfriend lived in the carriage house in the 1960’s. Never did see the interior of the big house. I am so happy for you both.

  • February 28, 2015 Reply


    good luck

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Sally Reim

    I lived in a basement apartment there in the late 19 eighties when it burned.I lost my grandmother’s treadle sewing machine, her wedding China, & a lot of art work I had done. It will be great to see it restored! Please do post lots of photos.

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Kelli Gumm

    i am so excited to see your progress. Thank you for sharing. I drive past it daily and have envisioned the possibilities. Best wishes!!!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply


    So happy for your new adventure. A lot of love and hard work ahead, but you have chosen well! Good luck! Looking forward to following your progress!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply


    Congratulations! Looking forward to following your progress. Can’t wait to get a glimpse of the inside!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Mark Hanback

    Lived for sometime in an apartment in the big house and lived in the carriage house for 4 years 1989 to 1995 .. Loved the property and house. Best of luck to you.. So glad someone will make this a home again.. I will be watching your progress.. Hats off to you! They don’t build them like that anymore!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Brandon J. Anderson

    Trent & Leah,
    Welcome to the neighborhood! I am the Deputy Executive Director at The History Museum, right across the street from your new (historic) home, and we also own and operate the Oliver Mansion. We look forward to being a resource to you two and offering you any assistance that we can. Feel free to get in contact with me whenever you two would like to talk, and perhaps take a tour of the museum and mansion so I can show you the great resources we have!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply


    Wonderful news! I lived on Washington St. for several years in a home that’s a bit closer to the old natatorium. This house has always been one of my favorites, and I thought it was such a shame that it was reduced to multiple dwellings. It’s great to hear that someone is going to renovate it and restore it. Best wishes on your project home! I look forward to seeing what happens as you proceed. 🙂

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Barbara Ann

    I used to live down the road from this house and am so excited that it will be renovated and a single family home!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Toni Schmidt Lawrence

    Congratulations! I have dreamed of buying that house back since my mother sold it in 1980. My family owned and lived in that house for over 40 years, when my father bought it in 1940 and he and my mother lived in it while they had help from the government in turning it into apartments. I live in Niles now, and would be happy to help you (as would my sister) in giving you any information on the house. My brother, sister and I know all the hiding places there, and in the Carriage House, where we lived for our adolescent and teen years.

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Susan Bauer

    Please video your conversion .. Would love to see the before, during and after ! Thank you for keeping the history alive !!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Mari in Atlanta

    I am bookmarking your blog and will be following you from Atlanta. What a wonderful journey!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply

    Wendy Yuhasz

    So happy to see someone take that house and renovate it into the beautiful home it should be. I am excited to follow your progress!

  • February 28, 2015 Reply


    This is awesome. Good luck in the renovations and I’m looking forward to follow your blog. My parents remodeled a home on the weekends and they still own it but it’s not as old or big as yours. I think it would be cool to try to have that era furniture in at least one room.

  • February 28, 2015 Reply


    i am so happy for both of you and especially for this home! What fun to bring this house back to a home, if you ever need help, it would be an honor!

  • March 1, 2015 Reply


    Congratulations on a beautiful house! I look forward to watching you turn it in to an even more beautiful home!

  • March 1, 2015 Reply


    Sounds like something I’d enjoy doing. Best wishes with your project!

  • March 1, 2015 Reply

    richard j. smith

    all the best 🙂

  • March 2, 2015 Reply


    I worked on this property back in the mid 80’s after a fire magnificent home good luck to you

  • March 2, 2015 Reply


    Cannot wait to see the pictures. Good luck!

  • March 2, 2015 Reply


    Wonderful! Congratulations…….love such history and restoration. I agree with others, please do post lots of pics on fb.

  • March 2, 2015 Reply

    Karen Morris

    I’m very excited to follow the progress. I’ve always wanted to get a home and turn it back to it’s original glory! I would pitch in, but I know it’s a labor of love…I’d want to do it myself too! On the other hand…let me know if you’re going to have a ‘paint’ day or something! 🙂

  • March 2, 2015 Reply


    So neat! I hope it goes well for you 🙂

  • March 2, 2015 Reply

    Mary Brown

    I envy you your finished project!!
    I noticed a statement in the South Bend Tribune article that you will be restoring garden areas as well. Assuming you grew up in the area, I wonder if you are familiar with The Council Oak Tree that once proudly stood in South Bend, but has since succumbed to old age, rot and wind. Under this tree in May 1681, LaSalle met with the Miami and Illinois Indians to enter into a treaty to resist the aggressions of the Iroquois Indians. It was a noteworthy tree even then. I have a “son” of Council Oak and have sprouted numerous “grandsons” from my tree. I am more than willing to give you a seedling start if you are interested. The Council Oak Tree is a burr oak and my “son” has grown faster than I expected.
    Hope all goes well.

    • March 2, 2015 Reply

      Leah Hudson

      It may be next summer before we can move on to restoring some landscaping (and removing lots of concrete), but if your offer is still good then, I would absolutely LOVE to have a start. How amazing to have a tree with its own history!

  • March 2, 2015 Reply

    Elaine Hummell

    I am really excited for you all! I always wished that we had the money and or resources and time to do what ya’ll are starting. Best wishes to you both!

  • March 2, 2015 Reply

    Ann McCain

    I’ve had a real appreciation of the west side homes since high school when I took the Arts in America class. I’m excited to see the results. It would be amazing if you could get the reno on one of the home shows.

  • March 2, 2015 Reply


    You have been given a wonderful opportunity to renovate a beautiful old building/hhome, and the rest of us are very greatful! Congratulations to both of you and when you get tired, dusty, dirty and discouraged while doing this wonderful project, just re-read oll of the posted comments and know lots of us are encouraging you to keep going! It is truly a beautiful building and I am so happy to hear you will be removing cement! My son just completed a renovation in the neighborhood and we have often lamented that someone would purchase this home who might not really appreciate the qulaity and historical value of what they had! Good luck to you both and know that lots of us will be cheering you on!!!!!

  • March 2, 2015 Reply

    Yaya Cantu Shefbuch

    I’m so excited about you taking on this project! I wish you the best and I can’t wait to see a lot of pictures of the renovations you will be making to this beautiful home.

  • March 2, 2015 Reply


    I lived in the carriage house behind it from 2008 to 2011. I worked for the owner and helped renovate the mansion before he sold it. Cant wait for the updates on your renovation. Congratulations its a beautiful place!

  • March 3, 2015 Reply


    What an incredible home this will be for you! I grew up around the corner (on Colfax). My parents also restored a multi-home dwelling back into our single family home and then I lived in a basement apt here (it was my first apt) when it burned down in the late eighties. Can’t wait to follow your progress.

  • March 3, 2015 Reply


    i will be following you as you go thru all the changes to make this your home. It really looks amazing! So glad to see that there is young people that care about the history of some of these older homes. Enjoy the project.

  • March 3, 2015 Reply


    I saw the house for sale and dreamed of purchasing it every time I went by. I honestly figured someone would purchase it and turn it into a bed and breakfast (its what I would have done) since the area could support it even if it was full just during football season.
    I am a photographer though, and if you would like some pictures taken while you work, or of the progress and then the finished product, please let me know.

    Good luck in your renovations!

  • March 3, 2015 Reply

    Jason Swenson

    Looks awesome! Good luck, hope all goes well.

  • March 19, 2015 Reply

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    I enjoy your ideas that anyone can relate to.

  • August 21, 2015 Reply

    Jim Gramza

    I’m so sorry that things didn’t work out for you.

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