Eileen Rakowski was in the hospital in 1985 when she found out that the home she had long had her eye on was for sale.
"We would always drive by and see the house grounds overgrown, and the house in disrepair," she said.
She, husband Daniel and their three sons were living in a three-bedroom single-family home at the time. They decided to buy the six-bedroom fixer-upper and move in right away.
"We were scared to death," Rakowski said. "We couldn't even use the toilets."
The 2,640-square-foot home required massive renovations.
"The first month, we all slept together in the same room," Rakowski said.
They tackled the big projects one at a time over the next 30 years.
They started with the kitchen, moved to wallpaper, and eventually added three new bathrooms. Rakowski said Daniel took a week off from work to paint a side of the house each year before they added siding. What followed were additional mechanical upgrades, including new zoned heating, new sewer lines and a second kitchen remodel.
"It is our true family home," Rakowski said.
Today the kitchen includes granite countertops, a center island, stainless steel appliances and its own wet bar.
Rakowski said her favorite parts of the home are the porches on both sides of the house.
"Especially the back porch," she said. "My grandson and I would sit, and he would say 'listen to the birds.'"
She said the neighborhood was also ideal for raising her family.
"All the people moving in at the same time as us were our age and had children our age," she said. "We are friends still today, and our children are still friends."
Now that the home is listed for sale, Rakowski said a new owner would likely be drawn to the property's size and character.
"It will be a special and unique buyer who can appreciate it while accepting the quirks, number of bedrooms, charm, everything," she said. "It was my dream home."
The home is listed by Sheree McGarry at BHHS Fox & Roach for $559,900.