How we found THE Tiger House

I grew up in my dad’s fixer uppers. Dilapidated houses give me a hero complex – “let me save you.” Unfortunately, my actual ability to fix said houses is nonexistent – so we’ve stayed safe in recently build condos and well maintained apartments. Still, Zillow is one of my favorite sites – I can look at the glamorous “forever” homes, the family homes stuck in earlier decades, and homes that need some serious TLC. In March, my “flavor of the month” was waterfront properties 2 hours outside of Philadelphia. Afterall, COVID was making our 1 bedroom extra cozy and Levi and I are committed to stay in Philly for a little while (you can guess who is driving that decision….)

When I shared my latest research with Levi, surprisingly, he was on board. To be fair, my some of “dream house” purchasing goals included this gorgeous character house we saw on our drive home from NYE in Louisville, Kentucky (my family can attest I talked about this house for WEEKS). Levi crunched the numbers and we discussed our “must haves” and we were off looking! I found this one house with one picture on Zillow with the buyer-beloved description of “**MOTIVATED SELLER**” We decided to take the plunge and add it to our list of houses to see when we were in the area.

The only picture of what would later be called Tiger House (2019)

When we got to the house, we were overwhelmed… and not in a good way. The decor was confusing with “decorative” ceramic tiles over every inch of every wall, beaded entryways, and a kitchen from a decade that neither of us were alive for. We left with a mutual disinterest in the house.

But then I slept on it. And I started to see how we could make the kitchen and rec room functional for July 4th blowouts, family Christmases, and NYE celebrations. I mapped out my ideas and recognized that most were minor cosmetic updates and realized that this could be our house. When I showed Levi, I could see his hesitant exciting growing. We started to seriously considered the house (despite these list photos we found on

Fast forward and we closed on July 21st.


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