At this point, it’s safe to say that everyone has read/seen/heard the news story about our home, the Kizer Mansion. While we have a multitude of emotions running through us, we are still unable to tell our side of this convoluted story. However, in an attempt to not lose our sense of humor, we have taken some of the most common comments that are showing up on social media and responding to them today. (Please note that this post has some slight sarcasm in it…you’ve been warned.)

  1. “I bet the house was haunted.”
Trent and I made the carriage house our home. We spent hundreds of hours in the main house and carriage house.  I even stayed alone in the home (while Trent was out of town). Never once did we encounter something bizarre and strange. Did we occasionally scare the be-jee-bees out of ourselves? Absolutely! It’s a huge house made of solid stone. You canNOT hear when someone is coming in. That’s a little creepy…but it’s not a ghost.
  1.  “Obviously, they ran out of money.”
Obviously, you can’t do basic math. When we purchased the home in February, we had to provide all of our plans to Indiana Landmarks (the seller) along with proof that we had the money to do all the renovations. Our plans anticipated the project costing anywhere from $500,000 – $750,000. While we have spent some money (new garage doors, dumpster rentals, etc), we have been in the demo phase. It’s the cheap phase, folks. The only cheap phase…but nonetheless, cheap. We have not even made a dent in the money set aside for this project.
  1.  “They are probably getting a divorce.”
Trent and I have never claimed to be perfect. However, we are not getting a divorce. Period. In fact, our ten year anniversary is coming up on September 2nd. Congratulations to us.
  1.  “I heard someone is really sick.”
Neither Trent nor myself are deathly ill. In an attempt to be extremely open, I do have Crohn’s Disease. I’ve had this for over a decade (yes…Trent knew about this and STILL married me). While I do have many extended hospital stays, crazy medications and more doctors appointments than imaginable, this is simply part of our life. We have always managed to do our jobs, work on our projects, get involved with our church and be completely “normal.” Well, WE think we are normal.
  1.  “These kids just got in over their heads.”
This house is a huge project – you will get no argument from us on that point. However, we have done multiple huge projects in the past ten years. Some of them have had ridiculous tight time frames….some have had ridiculous tight budgets. Each of them has been challenging for its own reasons. This project was no different. **While we are perfectly comfortable with you calling us “kids” we are both almost 40 years old. Unless we are actually YOUR kid, we probably aren’t considered kids to most people.**
  1.  “They probably ran into trouble with the city.”
We would like the record to show that the city of South Bend has been a dream to work with! Seriously….a dream! On every project house we have been required to obtain permits, change zoning, etc. This was our first time handling these types of items with the city of South Bend and we were both completely impressed. We dealt with various departments and each one was equally great. Every time one of us had to run into the city building, we would come home and say, “I met Joe today and he was so helpful!” (the names have been changed to protect the identities of these awesome civil servants)  Thank you “Joe.” You really have been wonderful to deal with!


  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Debbie Thorpe Buchanan

    I am glad you answered to some of the ridiculous statements, and questions floating around…..while it’s really no one’s business but yours. Thank you for opening up this home for us to see some of the beautiful and intricate details we would not have gotten a chance to see otherwise. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Bev Miller

    It has been a joy to follow your journey. I an sad to see the progress of the home (aka my dream) come to an end but I know this would not happen without good reason, I understand that. I wish you well, I wish you joy, happiness and good health in your endeavours to come. Thanks for sharing with us.♡

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Jo Ann Schmidt

    I’m really sorry you won’t be able to continue for whatever reasons. I was finally getting over my jealousy of you having MY old home that I lived in and worked on for 22 years of my life. I loved reminiscing about each place you took a picture of, and how you were going to change things. Even though you blocked me from commenting, I still followed. You missed out on some great stories I could have shared. I’m sad to see the refurbishing end!

    • August 22, 2015 Reply


      Why did she block you from commenting? She seems kind of snotty.

      • August 22, 2015 Reply


        Maybe they didn’t want to share their experience with someone who may have come off as a jealous know-it-all that still claims “ownership” of the home?

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    Whatever your reasons they are your own. You owe nobody any answers. All that matters is that you both are good with your choice. I will miss your pictures and updates. Especially the Niles pictures.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    When God closes a window, he opens a door. Best of luck in wherever your journey in life takes you!!

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    Some people always want to believe the worst. I’m truly sorry that you won’t be able to continue with this project, because I was so impressed by the place during the open house. I was enjoying your posts about the work you were doing. I wish you both all the best!

    By the way, I laughed at the “haunted” comments, too! 🙂

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    Thank you for responding to some of the ridiculous comments! Even though you didn’t have to and it really is none of our business. I was so enjoying the progress on this beautiful old home. But sometimes life happens and there are unexpected detours. My best to both of you and thank you for letting me into your home.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Toni Schmidt Lawrenc

    I, like my sister Jo Ann, am sorry to see you go. You obviously loved the house as much as we do, and the work you have done on has been very encouraging. It is difficult to see how much the house had been neglected since we left 30 years ago, but were encouraged that you were going to breathe life back into it. We encountered problems with the Historical Society when we owned it (which is why the roof is no longer tile), and dealing with a house that is a listed historical home comes with many obstacles. So, for whatever reason you felt you had to move on, I wish you both well and hope someone else will take up where you left off. I enjoyed all the photos, visualizing what part of the house that photo was taken and the memories that came along with it. Best wishes on your future endeavors.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Jenni, Chris and Zeus

    Leah, you and Trent are the most niecest sweetest people I know. Totally cracked me up about the part where people think you maybe getting a divorce. So sorry you are going through all this crazyness. Prayers to you and Trent. Zeus sends hugs.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    I was not expecting an explanation but appreciate everything that you have shared including the open house.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Julie Robinson

    Love you as a person, that is why I liked following your updates on the mansion…so, really nothing has changed for me! God bless you in your coming in and your going out!!!! Can’t wait to see what God has in store for you guys next!

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Kim Rush

    As I said before you owe the public no reason for whatever happened. I enjoyed following you and the improvements you have made. Hope if you invest in another home in need of improvements you allow us to follow, kinda like Rehab Addict on HGTV. best of luck in the future. You will be missed.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Cindy S In Buchanan

    Wishing you and Trent the very best in your next adventure. I’ve enjoyed your posts, pics and whit. Come on up to Buchanan, we have some beauties that need your TLC. Best wishes!!!

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Maryjean Thomas

    Not living in the area I wasn’t aware of the problems. I am wondering why Landmark was able to sell it. I am truely sorry about your loss of the place you planned to make home. Best wishes on your future endevors.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    I can only echo what so many others have said. Thank you for sharing your incredible experience with all of us. I never knew about the Kizer Mansion at all before you began posting information about it. I am so sorry for whatever has caused your dream to make this your home to come to an end. Thank you for sharing this post with all of us (you certainly did not need to) and may God bless you both as you move on to another grand adventure.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Linda Jones

    Good topics; great answers.

    And for the record, my oldest is 37 next month, and I still call him and his other two siblings ‘kids’. I’ll probably do so till he is 80! (love my kids and grandkids)

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    I’m so glad to hear you’re not sick, broke, or breaking up! Kinda bummed about the no ghost part.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply

    Kathy Myers

    I looked forward to your e-mails about this beautiful house. So sorry it did not work out for you both. Glad you responded to some of the e-mails going around that are not true.
    Good luck to you both, sounds like you are hard working people.

  • August 22, 2015 Reply


    I think you guys are so very classy for taking the time and interest to even respond on matters and set the record straight. Wishing you well.

  • August 23, 2015 Reply

    Dr. David Visser

    Count me as one of the wondering and envious outside observers, but also count me as a member of an embarrassed community for causing you to have to divulge such privacy. I am sure the project, finances, etc, are challenging enough, let alone having to take care of your audience. It’s just another football game with bleacher coaches, or a car ride with backseat drivers. Sorry!

  • August 24, 2015 Reply


    WAIT!! What have I missed? What has happened with this project? I so enjoyed following your posts.

  • September 9, 2015 Reply


    Sorry to see your project end. Thank you for sharing you adventure with us. From the number of followers you gained you may have prompted some others to step up and save a dilapidated old beauty somewhere. Wishing you the best of luck in your next adventure.

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