Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

See how an interior designer turned a 124-year-old home she bought on Facebook for $15,000 into a dreamy country getaway

Listen to this article
Claire Zinnecker and the home she bought in 2019 for $15,000.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

  • In 2019, Claire Zinnecker purchased a barren plot of land with no immediate plans for development.
  • Her plans quickly changed after discovering an idyllic 124-year-old home on Facebook Marketplace.
  • See how she and her partner moved the crumbling house and restored its classic charm.

In January 2019, interior designer Claire Zinnecker purchased a 5.3 acre plot of land in Georgetown, Texas, a small town 25 miles from Austin.

Zinnecker, 36, had hoped to eventually build a home on the undeveloped property but said she was intimidated by the scope of the project.

“I was not planning on doing anything with the land for a while because it was completely raw,” she told Insider. “There was no power, water, or septic.” At the time, the costs associated with developing the land felt too large of a financial commitment, she said. 

However, months after the purchase, Zinnecker’s outlook changed. 

In July 2019, her aunt showed her a Facebook Marketplace listing of a 124-year-old, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on East Sixth Street, about a 9 minute drive from the downtown Austin area.

“One look and I was in love.” she said. “My aunt and I have always loved all things old and antique.”

Zinnecker wasted no time by making an appointment to tour the house the very next day. By the end of that day, the home was hers for just $15,000 — but under one rather enormous condition: She had to relocate it to her land.

After a team of 5 to 10 people disassembled and prepared the house for its trip, the pieces were hoisted and trucked the 34 miles to the Georgetown site. The cost: $34,000.

Then the labor of love began. Over the course of the next four years, It took her and her partner, Adam Mink, 34, a real estate agent and self-taught construction worker, another $100,000 to completely renovate the home into a livable state.

The restoration of the historic structure has been featured in Country Living Magazine and on the Magnolia Network television show, “In With the Old.” Zinnecker also documented the process on her website and on Instagram

See how the couple transformed the crumbling home and barren land into a country getaway.

Do you have a similar story you’d like to share with Insider? Get in touch with reporter Alcynna Lloyd at

Claire Zinnecker purchased the home for $15,000 in 2019.Claire Zinneker's 124-year-old home.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

Zinnecker named the home Ida as a homage to its original owners Gus and Ida Anderson, a pair of Swedish immigrants. 

When it came to renovating and designing the home, she made a conscious decision to revive its vintage looks rather than transforming it into a modern abode.

“I just love older homes,” she said. “The hardware in this house, its doors and original trimming, you can’t find that anymore. It was so beautiful that I decided to preserve as much as possible.”

Relocating the home to Georgetown, Texas, cost Zinnecker $34,000.Claire Zinnecker's home on an 18 wheeler.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

Like many areas in Austin, rampant real estate development has transformed East Sixth Street, a previously Black and Latino area. Many of the older homes and businesses that once lined the block have been replaced by restaurants and music venues.

Ida needed to be relocated because it was just one of the few single-family homes that remained on the block, Zinnecker said.

“East Fifth Street in Austin is slowly transitioning,” she said. “Most of the houses have disappeared.”

“The house was sitting next to a brewery and across the street from a bar,” she added. ” I think developers had planned to build a multifamily property and retail shops on the land.”

It took three hours to transport the home 34 miles away to Georgetown.Claire Zinnecker's home on 18 wheeler.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

Once the house was on the property, Zinnecker realized the enormity of the renovation project.Claire Zinnecker and her dogs.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

“When it came to making Ida a livable home, there were so many things I had to learn,” Zinnecker wrote on her blog. “The land Ida sits on was completely undeveloped which meant I had to put in power, a well, internet, a septic system and propane.”

As the home had been vacant for quite some time, its kitchen was a mess.Claire Zinnecker's kitchen.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

The couple changed the kitchen’s layout. They also removed its old cabinets and flooring, and installed new windows.Claire Zinnecker's kitchen.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

The ceiling of the home’s original dining room was falling apart.Claire Zinnecker's dinning room.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

Zinnecker and Mink repaired the dining room’s ceiling and decided to turn the space into her personal office.Claire Zinnecker's office.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

They relocated the dining room to where the home’s original porch was located.Claire Zinnecker's dinning room.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

Before renovations, the walls of the primary bedroom were patched and covered in sheetrock and linoleum. The ceiling was also decaying.Claire Zinnecker primary bedroom before.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

The couple removed old wallpaper from the primary bedroom, repaired the ceiling and relocated several of its windows.Claire Zinnecker primary bedroom.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

The primary bathroom was previously the home’s old porch.Claire Zinnecker's primary bathroom.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

In April 2022, the couple got married on the property.Claire Zinnecker's wedding on her land.

Madeline Harper Photography.

“It was incredible to have so many people that we care about all interacting in a space that we spent years working on,” Zinnecker said. “Having people travel from all over the US and the UK to be there was so special.”

The home received a lot of media attention throughout its renovation.Party at Claire's home.Real estate agent Fredrik Eklund, Zinnecker, and designer Jonathan Adler.

Alex Parker Media

Zinnecker had previously been on a couple of TV shows — including NBC Universal’s “Kids Get Out of My Room” and Magnolia Network’s “In With the Old” — and had an agent. She asked him to find sponsors for the home to help offset some of the renovation costs.

“One of the sponsors for the home was a security company that threw a big event on the property,” she said. Many of the guests that attended the party were influencers and celebrities, including Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” star Fredrik Eklund.

“The house was bare bones and was a chaotic mess, but we still had a massive party,” Zinnecker added. “The house has been popular since the very beginning.”

By May 2022, the couple had finished the majority of the home’s renovations.Claire Zinnecker and her husband.

Courtesy of Claire Zinnecker.

Zinnecker and her partner have spent more than $100,000 renovating the home. While they made a handful of mistakes throughout the process — like hiring the wrong contractors and overpaying for their services — Ida is the home of their dreams. 

They have managed to update the home while keeping its original charming characteristics. It’s a decision they wish more home renovators would consider.

“There’s such a developer-centered mindset right now,” Zinnecker said. “So many people are buying old houses, destroying them and building some new box that’s not going to last very long.”

“I’m hoping there’s an awakening and people realize that it’s not only wasteful, but also just so bad for the environment,” she added. “Hopefully people can learn to make use of an existing structure and turn it into a home for them.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
Spread the news
WP Radio
WP Radio