How a 'flip house' in Batavia became a family home
How fourth child's arrival changed Batavia couple's plans to flip historic Cigrand house
When Adam and Angela Emmert purchased the Bernard J. Cigrand house at 1184 S. Batavia Ave. in 2016, many in Batavia were happy to see the historic property saved. Cigrand, known as the father of Flag Day, has a special place in Batavia history.
I met with Adam Emmert over a year ago at the site and saw the enormity of the project. At that point, he was busy doing demolition and gutting the interior to begin the restoration.
Having lived through a similar restoration of our home, I knew the difficult road ahead.
The community was so interested in the project that Emmert set up a Facebook page, Restore1184, to keep people informed. The page has close to 700 followers who offer encouragement.
"I had so many people stopping by to see what was going on that I decided, for their safety, that I needed to find a way to communicate with all the people who were interested in the project," said Emmert, a Batavia native.
Originally, Emmert wanted to purchase the house to flip it.
"Then we found out that we were expecting our fourth child," he added. "We really needed a larger home and we started looking for one in Batavia."
After looking at homes that were available but still needed some work, Adam convinced his wife that they should restore the Cigrand House and live there. Their kids could still go to Gustafson School and he told his wife he could have the house ready in a year. That was two years ago.
"It's very stressful going through a project like this, especially on my family," he added. "My wife has given me full autonomy to do this, but I know it hasn't been easy for her, especially trying to raise four kids while I'm here working on the house.
Restoring an old house has a lot of surprises some good, some bad. Emmert posted a video of rain water dripping into a bucket on his Facebook page. He also posted a photo of an original beam with Bernard J Cigrand's signature.
"It's incredible to find those artifacts," he said. "We also found an insurance policy taken out by Cigrand that was hidden in the wall."
The Emmerts are now in the final stages of the five bedroom, three bath house.
"Now that we are getting paint on the walls, the girls are more excited about moving in," he said.
The kitchen is a special place for Adam Emmert, who is the chef in the family. He has incorporated an island that has a natural wood counter made from a cherry tree that had to be removed from the front yard.
"I love when the girls sit on the island and watch me cook," he said.
The Emmerts plan to be in the house for Thanksgiving, and Adam is already looking forward to that day.
"I have so many people who have supported me," he said.