We've all seen the headlines about the subprime mortgage scandal, where owners used their homes as collateral for loans, like big piggybanks. Rarer is a story like Nate Robinson's where an owner put value back into his Rock Hill home in the form of sweat equity.
Robinson has been at work renovating the 1903 Victorian home on East White Street, next to Greene Funeral Home. While, as he will attest, those projects are never quite finished, the stunning home no longer bears much resemblance to the building that had been chopped into rental units and gutted by fire in 1997.
After the fire, Historic Rock Hill decided the home should be preserved, and bought it. The group then sold it to a couple hoping to renovate it, but the job was too big for them, so they sold it back to Historic Rock Hill.
Robinson started out renting the home, but decided to buy it and fix it up himself. At the time, he had little knowledge of historic renovation or carpentry. And that may have been fortunate, because if he had known what he was getting into, he might have turned around and run away without looking back.
The interior had been stripped down to the studs, so, bit by bit, Robinson, with the help of a contractor friend, learned about laying floors, installing insulation and drywall, laying tile, replacing windows and all the other hundreds of tasks involved in reviving a nearly expired old home. And he didn't give up.
The house now is a showpiece, a century-old, 3,500-square-foot beauty with many a modern touch, including a completely remodeled kitchen and new wooden floors. It's a wonderful place to live now and a good investment for the future.
We can be thankful that this also is an investment in the future of the neighborhood and the community as a whole. Robinson has saved one more historic home from demolition. His project also is an impetus to restore other homes in the area that have been turned into makeshift apartments.
Congratulations and thanks to Robinson and Historic Rock Hill from a grateful community. We hope they inspire others to bring older homes like this one back to life.
Nate Robinson did the neighborhood a favor by taking on the gargantuan task of fixing up home.