Thursday, May 2, 2013

Decatur County Preservation: Warren Home

The Queen Anne home at 804 East Washington St. in Greensburg, owned by Peter and Carla Warren, received the "Notable" rating by Indiana Landmarks, meaning it is above average in its importance and could possibly be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

By Carla Warren
When my husband was hired to teach at South Decatur, we knew we would be moving to the area from Ohio, but weren't quite sure which community we would choose.  In the end, we were drawn to Greensburg because of the lovely, historic homes and downtown area.  We could see that there was great pride and promise here for the future.  So, we contacted a Realtor and set out to see what was available.

We’ve always loved a challenge, and between the two of us we’d been involved in more than a dozen home renovations or constructions.  So, when we saw this property at 804 East Washington, we saw great potential, charm, beauty, and a great deal of work in our future.  On our first visit, we fell in love with the property itself—situated nicely on a corner lot with lovely, mature trees and room for our dogs to run.  Inside, we were drawn in by the 12 foot ceilings, 2 sets of pocket doors, 4 very unique fireplaces, and several stained glass windows. 

After living here for awhile after our July, 2011 move, we fell in love with the window seat in the dining room, the huge soaker tub, and the transoms over all the upstairs doors.

It wasn't all good, however.  At the time of our move, the trees and shrubs had become so overgrown that it made mail delivery almost impossible.  Some of the trees were dead and we were grateful they hadn't fallen on the house at the time of the tornado.  The exterior had not been painted in 15 years, leaving the wood siding exposed to the elements.  So, our first tasks were to deal with those two issues.  Soon after, we put down all new floor coverings, removed lots of outdated wallpaper and painted or re-papered each room, and did some plumbing updates. We opened up a small back porch which has become a quaint seating and dining area attached to the deck we constructed.

A new metal roof was installed on our carriage house and we added a barn quilt hanging as a focal point.  We designed and painted it ourselves to coordinate with the colors on the house. 

Through the rest of our nearly 2 years here, we have totally renovated the kitchen, replacing small, white do-it-yourself cabinets with hickory bead board, 42” tall cabinets with glass knobs, and pewter bin pulls.  The old Formica was removed and replaced with butcher block counters, and laminate floors were installed.  One of our favorite features of the kitchen is the pendant light with Edison bulbs.

This year we are expanding our gardens and continuing to landscape with perennials and fruit trees.  We have also enclosed a small side porch which will now be our laundry area.  The current laundry area on the first floor will be framed in to become our second full bath. 

We've heard several stories about the history of this home, but we’re not sure if it’s truth or folklore.  We were told that the original owner was a good friend of Henry Ford’s and that the first Model-T in Greensburg was built in our carriage house.  We would love to know it that is true!  We also can tell that there used to be a wrap-around front porch, judging from the stone foundation pieces we've found.  One day we hope to see pictures of the original house and restore the porch to its former glory.

This photo shows the condition of the home when the Warrens moved in. The paint was peeling and the yard was extremely overgrown!

The front of the house as it appears today, with stone steps and updated paint and landscaping.

The updated carriage house

A panorama of the dining room with window seat, living room, and entry foyer.

The updated kitchen

If you know more about the history of this home, please leave a comment or contact Lori Osting at

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