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Drive bottomward Washington Street in the Diamond Hill breadth of Lynchburg and you ability acquisition Vernon Neighbors accurately cutting abroad at old acrylic blanket adorned ironwork on his advanced porch.

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Working on this 167-year-old abode has been a activity of adulation for the Neighbors ancestors but it hasn’t been afterwards its challenges, such as Vernon’s hospital break for advance contagion while alive on that actual porch.

Julie Neighbors remembers back she aboriginal saw the Gothic cottage-style house, with it deluxe arced staircase. It was that access she couldn’t get out of her head.

“I was aloof like, ‘Oh my God, I’m falling in love,’” she said. “I aloof adulation this thing.”

That was 1974, and Vernon and Julie had been affiliated aloof a year back they purchased the Robinson-Stabler-Bocock house. At that time, it had been disconnected into three apartments.

“When we aboriginal bought this house, we confused in Activity Day 1974, we couldn’t fix the toilet,” Julie said. “I don’t apperceive what the hell we anticipation we were doing.”

Julie compared it to the 1986 brawl “The Money Pit,” starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. In the movie, a adolescent brace is absorbed into affairs a cautiously bargain acreage that avalanche afar about them, abrupt the couple’s affairs and relationship.

The Neighbors bound abstruse alive on old houses generally becomes a abundant beyond activity than initially anticipated.

“That’s the affair bodies don’t apprehend back you get into a abode like this and you alpha something, adhere assimilate your hat because it’s not activity to be what you think,” Julie said.

The abode is one of alone two examples of the Gothic awakening appearance in the city, wrote S. Allen Chambers in his book, “Lynchburg: An Architectural History.”

The adventure of this abode begins in 1852 back Christian Robinson Stabler purchased the lot for $1,750. Stabler, a druggist from Alexandria, congenital the mid-19th aeon Gothic cottage that year, Chambers wrote.

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“The autogenous of the Stabler abode presents conceivably the best alluring admixture of styles of any abode in Lynchburg and gives acceptance to the altercation that the action of the styles generally concluded in a draw,” he wrote. “Actually, there were few accurately Gothic capacity in the aboriginal interior. Practically the alone Gothic amplitude in the abode is the second-floor sitting breadth off the amount hall, which is lit by the arresting angled window of the façade and has a aerial angled ceiling.”

The arced access Julie fell in adulation with, the adorned columns framing the doorways and some of the broiler mantles were additions by afterwards owners.

The Stablers lived in the abode until 1870 — the aforementioned year it was annexed into the city. It again was purchased by Thomas S. Bocock, who served in the United States Congress from 1847 to 1861 afore he became apostle of the Confederate Senate in 1880.

James Booker purchased the abode that year, Julie said. There weren’t any added homes on the block and Booker absitively to advertise off lots. It was about that time Julie speculated the Greek columned trim assignment was added forth with the advanced porch.

T. Ashby Watts purchased the abode afterwards Booker, Chambers wrote. Julie believes it was Fanny Watts who added the adorning griffin-adorned crimson in the advanced sitting room. The Watts ancestors endemic the abode for about 40 years, Julie said.

A afterwards owner, W.O. Sisk, died out in the yard. Afterwards the Sisk family, the abode was endemic by DAARD Inc. for a few years. Again Vernon and Julie Neighbors purchased it in 1974, advantageous $35,000 for the 4,500-square-foot house, almost $182,000 in today’s dollars.

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Julie declared the adjacency as a little awkward and bedraggled back they purchased the house, but it has undergone a improvement to well-manicured, single-family homes that now characterize Diamond Hill.

When the Neighbors aboriginal purchased the house, the brick had been corrective a brick blush with white adhesive curve fatigued in haphazardly. Remnants of that old acrylic still can be apparent forth the porch, admitting best of the abode has been adequate to clear-coated accustomed brick.

“We consistently laughed because it looked like a bashed had been accomplishing the lines,” Julie said. “They corrective all the white curve over the accomplished house.”

One of the couple’s aboriginal orders of business was removing the makeshift walls abacus the abode into three apartments.

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Julie recalled best of the home’s autogenous was corrective in summer blooming and battleship grey, and Vernon begin himself stripping abroad layers of acrylic caked into the valleys of the intricately carved woodwork.

“When we were stripping in here, it was like every time we got to a ablaze switch, we’d acquisition this asleep rat, petrified,” Julie said. “So it got to be a joke. ‘Guess what I found?’ ‘Money?’ ‘No.’ ‘A asleep rat?’”

The brace hosted a wallpaper stripping affair for the foyer, arming accompany with scrapers and aerosol bottles and fueling them with spaghetti and beer. The endeavor apparent an anteroom in the stairwell alleged a casket corner, acclimated to advice alteration a asleep anatomy downstairs.

The column column at the basal of the stairs culminates in a ample knob. Julie believes it isn’t the original, and acclaimed the one sitting there now has been agape off its column a cardinal of times during their tenure.

“We had bodies who would ride the balustrade down,” Julie said with a smile. “My boys were hell on wheels.”

For a while, the foyer’s ablaze accoutrement didn’t absolutely fit the grandness of the space. One day, Julie recalled, a woman chock-full by and alien herself as the babe of a above-mentioned owner. Back the woman married, she said her mother gave her a antechamber chandelier, and she capital to acknowledgment it to its able place.

“So we went over to her house,” Julie said. “We still didn’t accept a pot to pee in. … It was sitting in one of those annular tubs. I said, ‘We can action you $300 for it,’ and she said, ‘What about $250?’”

Julie and Vernon took it home and installed the clear chandelier, but it was missing the centermost ball. A acquaintance afterwards gave a new centermost clear to the couple.

“… There are things we aloof affectionate of fell into,” Julie said. “I absolutely accept that back the time is appropriate again you aloof abatement into something.”

The base in genitalia of the abode still is knob-and-tube style, and Julie acclaimed sometimes back charwoman the chandelier, she has gotten a little shock back the ability isn’t all the way off.

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In acclimation the brickwork beneath the porch, the brace apparent a little box. Inside was a adulation letter. The brace afterwards met a about of the Watts family, who asked about that box.

“It was the cutest thing,” Julie said.

The abode was congenital with two cisterns to accumulate baptize — one came into the basement from the advanced of the house, and the added sits in the exoteric basement stairwell. Back the brace absitively to adhesive the basement floor, their son, Chris, absitively he capital to see what was in that cistern.

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“Back in those days, if they capital to ample article in they aloof put clutter … in there,” Julie said. “He pulled out overalls, ladies aerial heels, and jars and stuff.”

In 1978, the brace absitively to clean the kitchen and assassin a contractor. Julie alleged it a adversity that concluded up in cloister because of amateurish and unsatisfactory work.

The morning afterwards the kitchen cabinets had been installed, Julie remembers jumping up from bed and cogent her bedmate she was activity to put abroad the silverware.

“He said, ‘In what, Julie?’ and I said, ‘The drawers,’” she said. “He said, ‘You didn’t adjustment any drawers.’ I said, ‘Yes, I did.’ I ran bench and I was like, ‘Oh … no drawers.’”

Julie said they acclimated appliance to supplement the cabinets until a 2005 acclimate added a peninsula and added cabinetry.

The two admiral bathrooms originally featured old toilets that had been chic from gravity-fed boxes to fit a half-gallon tank. Those toilets acclimated so abundant baptize the Neighbors approved a cardinal of methods to accumulate baptize burning at a minimum back their boys were young, including putting artery in the toilet tank.

After a aperture formed in an admiral bathroom, Vernon set out to fix it but, as with all things in old houses, the aliment didn’t go as planned. A aqueduct access and the brace absitively it was time to renovate.

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“Who knows what we were thinking,” Julie said, abacus their sons and a adopted apprentice lived at home and different ancestors associates had appear to appointment while they had one activity bath in the house. “We anticipation it would booty two weeks. … It was like four months.”

The ample advanced balustrade Vernon had been alive on afresh appearance adorned ironwork and a beadboard ceiling, advised to aggrandize and arrangement but so abundant acrylic had been caked into the joints, it didn’t budge.

About three years ago, Vernon set out to band the acrylic so the balustrade could breathe. He had tented in the balustrade in such a way he trapped himself in with the dust and concluded up ailing for three canicule because of advance poisoning.

Vernon acclaimed copse on the beam charcoal original, except for aloof a brace pieces he had to replace. But addition botheration emerged — the balustrade was affairs abroad from the house. It had to be boring jacked into abode 1/32 of an inch anniversary day.

After the porch, the brace installed a elastic film roof to cut bottomward on maintenance. Julie blames her accept anaplasty and two bogus knees on painting that roof.

For all the admiring restoration, the Neighbors’ abode still has its flaws.

Julie acclaimed the bouncing plasterwork in an admiral bedchamber that stems from a aperture she said they accept been block for added than 40 years. There’s attic to fix in the basement and arising assignment that needs to be addressed about the house.

A abode that lives to be 167 years old will never be flawless.

But for Julie and Vernon, that isn’t the point.

Generations accept lived there afore the Neighbors family, and sometimes Julie wishes those old walls could acquaint the tales of the families that came before.

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Julie and Vernon feel as admitting they are caretakers of this allotment of Lynchburg’s history for a while and in the process, the ancestors has added their own lifetime of memories to the accumulating of belief those old walls could tell.

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The ample advanced balustrade Vernon Acquaintance had been alive on appearance adorned ironwork and a beadboard ceiling.

A attending at the balustrade at the home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

Julie and Vernon Neighbors at their home in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

A detail of the advanced balustrade at the home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

A attending at the chimneys at the home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

A attending at account on the roof at the home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

A detail at the home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

A broiler in the kitchen at the home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

The home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

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The home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

The home of Julie and Vernon Neighbors in Lynchburg on October 10, 2019.

Sidener is the appropriate publications editor for The Account & Advance. Do you apperceive of a abode that deserves to be featured? Reach her at (434) 385-5539.

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