One Family's Story of How a House Became a Family Heirloom

| by Lina Batarags

Emily Gallup’s memories of her grandparents’ Boise home are fond ones; thanks to the kindness of a stranger, that same house is now, decades later, her own.

Gallup’s grandparents, Dale and Myrtle, bought the house at 3009 Sunset Avenue in the 1950s.

“He built on all the rest of it so it’s not just a home it’s grandpa’s home, grandma and grandpa’s home,” Emily says of the house, which Dale worked on throughout his entire life.

Dale built an attached apartment to the house, which is where Emily and her husband Josh lived after they were married.

Inevitably, however, both the house and its owners began to show signs of age. “They were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” Emily recalls. “My grandpa first and then my grandma.”

As Josh Gallup put it, “As the house was deteriorating, they were deteriorating.”

Two years ago, Emily’s family decided to move her grandparents into an assisted living center. At this point, Emily and Josh were considering buying the house; however, it had fallen into such an advanced state of disrepair that a bank wouldn’t even finance a loan for the couple to buy it.

“We just were devastated,” Emily said.

That’s how Salt Lake City investor Ryan Farr came to buy the house last year. Farr often flips bank owned houses, but, when he bought the property on Sunset Avenue, he had no intention of fixing it up. He fully intended to bulldoze the rundown home.

Just one venture inside the home, however, was enough to change his mind. “Just the overwhelming feeling that it was a home of love and that I was to restore it so that it could be a home of love again,” Farr said of his revised plans.

Farr spent the next five months working on the house, removing mold and restoring windows and floors, when he received a letter from none other than Emily Gallup, whose mother had driven down Sunset Avenue and had found herself amazed by the changes she saw on the house.

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seller,” Emily wrote, “Please accept my most sincere gratitude for the work that you have done on the house at 3009 Sunset.”

Although Farr had fixed up many aspects of the house, he had also left important, sentimental ones as they were: the creaky floors the Dale had originally installed were still creaky, and personal details like family hand prints in the concrete box in the backyard were left untouched. The bay windows Dale had installed in the kitchen were still present, as were hand stencils in the garage.

“I just felt it was important to keep as much as I could,” said Farr.

In her letter, Emily mentioned that she and Josh had made an offer on the house, and, although it was lower than the asking price, it was all they could afford.

In a story of twists and turns, here’s the final turn: Farr accepted the Gallup’s low bid.

“There’s more to life than making money,” said Farr, who just broke even.

“When he knew it was these people he said you know what, I don’t want to consider another offer,” said Agents with a Smile Realtor Barb Dopp; the team also absorbed thousands in closing costs so the Gallups could move home again.

Emily and Josh have moved into the house, and are pregnant again. Sadly, Dale will not see the house return back to his family’s hands; he passed away at age 85.

Still, the house brings the Gallups back that much closer to their family. “It gives me the feel of my grandparents,” Emily said, who is expecting twins.

Sources: KTVB, NWCN

Photo Source: KTVB