By Anne Hassler Heidel
McPHERSON—The house at the corner of Chestnut St. and Kansas Ave. across from Memorial Park has undergone a slow transformation under the ownership of David Burt with help from his son, Wesley Burt.
The 1,900-square-foot, two-story craftsman style house has undergone extensive remodeling after David Burt purchased the home for $35,000 in 2018. The Burts came to town so Wesley could attend the McPherson College Auto Restoration program. After completing all of his auto upholstery classes, Wesley found the niche that he loves and will begin working for a restoration company in Wichita soon.
David Burt first saw the house for sale on the Internet from his home in Alabama.
“There were eight very creative photos online,” David Burt recalls while thumbing through the 200-plus photos he shot when he arrived in town to close on the house. The Burts had to spend their first week in town in a hotel while they dealt with all of the water leaks before they could move in.
“It really wasn’t habitable. I walked around the property for three hours wondering what I had gotten myself into. I’d already committed,” David Burt said.
The property has two living units with an apartment upstairs and the main living area on the first floor.
The Burts share a creative flair, with Wesley providing the art that David translates into mosaics or stained glass pieces found throughout the house.
David Burt said his favorite part of the restoration has been all of the tile work on the house. His handiwork can be seen on the front porch and steps in colorful Mexican tile, in two mosaics attached to the exterior of the home and in the kitchen and entryway. Both of the mosaics have a sunflower theme, a nod to the home’s moniker of The Sunflower on Chestnut Street, according to David Burt.
The exterior of the house is filled with artistic touches, including dozens of stained glass pieces, metal cacti and wind catchers. The metal cutwork balusters on the porch were found in Salina, Kan., and a wood railing added. Some of the art pieces were inspired by the Burts’ vacations, like the cacti that they saw in a shop in Colorado Springs.
Another challenging yet satisfying project was the addition of stamped tin tiles to the ceilings.
“I wasn’t sure what to do with the ceilings. I got a lot of different advice. I finally decided to bite the bullet and go with these tiles. It was more expensive, but it really lends itself to the era of the home,” David Burt said.
The next project David Burt plans to tackle is converting an inoperable wood stove by adding stained glass to the stove door and a light source inside the stove.
While David Burt was worried he’d purchased a money pit at first, he now feels like the home has been a good investment and his hard work will pay off when he sells it.
David Burt has enjoyed how the house has kept him busy for the last three years, but now that Wesley has taken a job in Wichita, he will sell the home and move with him. He plans to have an open house in early October and list the home on Zillow.