Archive for Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Area residents find savings in major move

Rather than building on rural tract, family moves house from Olathe

August 11, 2004

Debbie Laundy knew her house would reach the top of her hill.

But she didn't know when.

Finally, four hours after turning off Leavenworth County Road 5, the movers had hoisted her house all the way. It was only a distance of about a city block, but like most driveways, it wasn't made for hauling a house.

During the commotion, Debbie's husband, Bill, and their daughter, Renee, watched from the top.

The Laundys had wanted to build a house on their acreage, but after looking into prices, decided to take another route.

They purchased an existing house in Olathe and hired a mover to bring it home.

The first seven hours went fast. The movers started at 1 a.m., survived rush hour traffic -- even making a cameo appearance on the morning's televised traffic updates -- and arrived at the Laundys' drive at 8 a.m.

Praying together

"After that it was inch by inch," Debbie said, noting the summer's rains had made the journey up the driveway even more treacherous.

The Laundys kept their fingers crossed. And prayed.

"We were sitting at the top of the hill praying together," Laundy said.

The Laundys, and another couple in southern Leavenworth County -- Scott and Diane Theno -- have opted to purchase existing houses to remodel, rather than start from scratch.

It's cheaper, both said.

Diane Theno said she and her husband had planned to build their house from the ground up. But when they learned about a house they could purchase in Bonner Springs for less than $5,000, they decided to buy that instead and move it to their rural site.

Because Scott had prior experience in moving houses, the couple contracted with a house mover in Missouri, but did much of the work themselves. In fact, Scott drove the truck that pulled their new house home.

Like the Laundys' house, the Thenos' house will be placed on a full basement.

Theno said although she and Scott plan to do some remodeling before they move in, their new home arrived in pretty good shape.

"It's livable now," Theno said. "Most of them are pretty livable."

All in all, she said, it looks like a good investment.

"It will probably save us about 50 grand," Theno said. "And it will be a really nice house, hopefully."

Remodeling herself

Debbie Laundy said she and Bill have about $40,000 invested in their new home so far.

It gives them 1,900 square feet of living space to remodel, plus a full basement. And, because Bill has been paralyzed since he was young, the house will be handicapped accessible.

With the help of friends and relatives, Debbie said, she plans to do much of the remodeling herself. In their case, the house is basically a shell, with Sheetrock stripped from the walls before the house was moved.

The couple, who have been married for 21 years, moved from Armourdale to the Linwood area in 1993.

Rural life suited them.

"We had adopted our last two foster kids and wanted to raise them out here in this area," Debbie said. "I felt like the schools were going to be good and it was a safe place to raise them."

For the Laundys, the switch from urban to rural was a good change.

"You wouldn't have enough money to send me back to the city," Debbie said.

And Bill, too, clearly is enjoying country life. While the couple is remodeling their new home, they're living in a house that was already on their property.

"It's going to be a blessing," Bill said, commenting that their country home seems far away from world strife. "Here we are sitting up here with the green, green grass of home. I'm so grateful -- I'm so thankful."

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