Although it has been more than 20 years since dentist W.C. Jessen’s heirs sold his big two-story home on Vine Street, there are still plenty of people in Peabody who refer to it as “the old Doc Jessen place.”
Cory and Daneece Foth bought the house in 1999 and plan to stay in it until another generation refers to it as “the old Foth place.”
“There really is no reason to look for anything else,” Cory said. “The house suits our needs, and we are comfortable here. Plus, it’s a nice neighborhood.”
Built shortly after the turn of the 20th century, the house is like many older homes in Peabody — large and comfortable, with an historic elegance and plenty of features that don’t always fit the lifestyle of contemporary residents.
Upkeep can be expensive, and solutions to ordinary problems sometimes are a headache. However, like many young couples, the Foths enjoy their house.
During their first few years of ownership, the couple made changes to the interior. Cory has a home-based taxidermy business. The basement became his office and workshop. They also made changes inside to meet the needs of their family and their 21st century lifestyle.
“We added a deck, did some interior painting and remodeling,” Cory said. “We got the laundry room out of the basement and up to the ground floor — things like that.
“By this summer, painting the exterior had been at the top of the list for a while.”
The Foths had considered painting the house a couple of years ago but put it off when summers turned hotter than normal and painting didn’t seem like the best choice.
“By this past spring, it was really needing a paint job,” Cory said. “We decided if the weather cooperated, we would try to get it done. The weather has been OK, and things also worked out time-wise and money-wise. Our daughters aren’t too thrilled, but this is our vacation for this year.”
This past weekend the Foths were in the final stages of painting. They had power-washed it thoroughly and then scraped it after the siding dried. The body of the house — in a dark grey — is done, but the dormers, soffits, window trim, and decorative wrought iron still need some attention. They will be off-white. The detached garage also awaits the new color scheme.
“We started painting early last Friday morning and worked all day,” Cory said. “Some friends came to help Friday after work and then showed up again early Saturday morning. We moved along pretty quickly.”
Daneece found the color they liked several months ago on a trip to Springfield, IL to attend the National Taxidermy Championship competition.
“We were on Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis when Cory pointed to a farm house on the north side of the interstate and said he like the colors on it,” she said. “He said he thought he could remember it, and when we got home, he picked out a couple quarts of paint, and we painted swatches on the back of the house.
“He found the body and trim colors that we remembered, and then we decided to add a dark red as an accent on the front door and porch swing,” she said. “The house was beige or white in the past, so this is a big change. Painting makes a huge difference in the look of a home.”
Cory and Daneece are pleased with the help they have received.
“That is one thing I would encourage everyone to line up in advance,” Cory said. “Plan and prepare — prep what you can yourself, but for problem areas like we have on the corners of the second story soffits, find someone with a bucket truck and make it a little easier on yourself. And if you have friends who offer to come and be part of the paint brush crew, accept the offer. Take all the help you can get!”
Within the next few weeks the project will be finished and “the old Foth place” will settle into its second century with a fresh new façade.
Painting the house has not been the biggest project the family has taken on, but it likely will be the most obvious.