By Sadie Hunter
One of the most unique architectural features of downtown Noblesville has been many things to many people – a home, an apartment, a store, an office or something different.
The huge, green Victorian home that sits at 1095 Conner St. had not served as a single-family home for more than 100 years (109 to be exact) until this year, when Nathan and Sara Althouse moved in in May.
Although they purchased the property Jan. 1, 2015, they let tenant’s leases expire before moving in.
Originally built by Daniel Craycraft in 1889, the Queen Anne-style home was lived in by Craycraft and his family for less than 20 years before his death in 1907. The home was later converted to apartments and was used as multi-family housing or commercial space for the next 100-plus years.
Craycraft is mostly known in Noblesville for his attachment to the home and for his dry-goods store on the downtown square, where Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano now sits.
Previously living just three doors east on Conner Street, the Althouses said they had been familiar with the Craycraft Home, a staple to the city’s downtown.
“Well, we had an old Victorian three doors down, bought it, renovated it, and then it turned out really, really nice,” Nathan said. “Of course, we loved this (the Craycraft) house. It was on the market and didn’t sell, then went for auction, didn’t sell. So, we knew the owner and worked out a deal with him, knowing we’d want to convert it into a single-family house. So, when we moved in in May, that was the first night anyone had spent the night here in decades.
“He passed away in 1907, and then the wife couldn’t take care of the house, so she started renting liens out. So, it became kind of like a boarding house, then turned into apartments, and then it’s been commercial for decades. It was a French restaurant for years, then a tea parlor. Right after the tea parlor, it was a yarn shop. Once their lease was up, they moved out, and we moved in and started renovating.”
Approximately 9,600 square feet, the home is three full stories and has a basement, attic, six bedrooms (with 13 beds) and five staircases. The Althouses said it will have five baths when finished.
“One thing we really like about the house is the front wrap-around porch. We hang out there a lot,” Nathan said. “There’s also a really nice big balcony on the second floor.”
“We like to entertain,” Sara said. “So, it’s just nice to have the space. We both have large families.”
So far, when it comes to renovations, the couple has finished a yoga studio inside the home, where Sara teaches, and has remodeled bathrooms, the laundry room and the mudroom and torn up approximately 9,000 square feet of carpet to refinish the original hardwood floors of the home.
“It’s just been cosmetic, really, until we start on the kitchen,” Sara said. “Well, the bathrooms were a big job.”
The Althouses said they will keep with the original integrity of the home as much as possible, but they have plans to update the kitchen with more modern technologies while still keeping with the antique style of the home.
“We also want to get rid of the parking lot and plant grass, so it will become our side yard,” Nathan said. “So the parking lot, the kitchen and finishing up the bathrooms are the biggest projects right now.
“Our kids are getting older, so we’ve thought about why are we upsizing instead of downsizing, but I think it will be fun when the kids get older and have their own families and then everyone can come back here for Christmas and Thanksgiving.”
MEET THE ALTHOUSES
Originally from Marion, Ind., the couple moved to Noblesville approximately 13 years ago and have been married for 19 years.
Nathan, 42, is the director of land surveying at Miller Surveying in downtown Noblesville. Sara, 41, teaches yoga from inside the Craycraft home.
Together they have four daughters: Riley, 22, Raigan, 18, Lillian, 16, and Mackenzie, 13.