Categories: Inspiring People

70 miles and 7,000 screws well worth the journey

After their wedding, Rick and Angie Boswell moved into an 1,100 square foot house on 40 acres in Skiatook, Okla. It was a beautiful property and they soon added cows, pigs and even a couple of chickens to make it a true farm. The home, with two bedrooms and a single bathroom, fit their needs at the time – until Rick and Angie found out they were expecting…triplets.

They needed more space. The two drew up several different plans to add on to the house or to his workshop behind it but, according to Rick, “There were no real warm fuzzies” with any of the approaches.

What Rick and Angie loved – the home they always dreamed of – was an old Victorian. Gorgeous woodwork. Tall ceilings. Bay windows. Huge porch.

That’s what they wanted. Their problem, as it is for most house hunters, was budget. The Victorian homes in the area cost far too much for their young growing family.

Watching the news one evening, Rick and Angie heard about flooding in Independence, Kan. The town was full of old homes that would be torn down soon because of recent storms. Their lives were in Skiatook, but their dream home could be 70 miles away.

They thought, why not at least go check it out?

The couple looked at several possibilities, but the last one was different. It had a beautiful porch and original woodwork. The house had been built in 1880 for a German immigrant who owned the mercantile shop on Main Street in downtown Independence. It had been neglected for years, but Rick and Angie knew it could be something special. They bought the home and began the painstaking work of relocating it to Oklahoma.

“It’s very humbling. We’re just normal people, and to be able to actually own a house like this … it’s satisfying, because we’ve touched every board in this house and put blood, sweat, and tears to get here.”

Rick spent countless nights and weekends driving those 70 miles to remove the roof, interior walls and hand-cut sandstone sidewalk, and bringing it all back to Skiatook. Once the remaining exterior was ready to move, the pair hired a company to cut the structure in two and transport it to their property.

And that’s when the real work began to turn this empty shell of a house into a home.

In order to stay on budget, Rick and Angie had to build the home back themselves – and they needed a partner to get all the materials at an affordable price. Rick went to the Lowe’s of Owasso, Okla. throughout the project’s duration because he developed close relationships with the store’s employees, who would greet him by his first name.

Rick primarily worked with Ginger Scott, a Lowe’s Pro Services specialist. She helped him find what he needed on the shelves, order it if it wasn’t there, or even bring in vendors. For example, Rick wanted to match the rest of the woodwork in the home, which required specific vendors. Ginger made the connections.

With Lowe’s expertise behind them, Rick and Angie added on a kitchen and master suite with great care and detail. Both were made to look like part of the original structure and were married seamlessly into the design of the home.

As they put the roof back together, they realized it would be big enough to create a full third floor. This gave the Boswell family some needed space, as Rick and Angie now had six children.

They also extended the porch to wrap around the entire home. Rick put in over 7,000 screws by himself to make it happen. The kids now roller skate around it, Rick and Angie enjoy watching the sunset from it, and the entire family hosts community fish-fries on it.

It’s taken over six years to get to this point and there is still a lot left to do; however, Rick and Angie wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“It’s very humbling. We’re just normal people, and to be able to actually own a house like this … it’s satisfying, because we’ve touched every board in this house and put blood, sweat, and tears to get here.

“We didn’t want to build a new home,” Rick says. “We wanted the history of an old one.”