Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


December 23, 2012

House becomes home

Rymer family ready to celebrate Christmas in Catlettsburg’s historic Elliott House

CATLETTSBURG — The Rymers will be home for Christmas — in their new old home on Panola Street.

Brian and Lorraine Rymer bought the historic Elliott house this summer with only two weeks to get it ready to move in before the lease on their apartment was up. The house had been home to the law offices of Garis Pruitt for 30 years.

“I’m tickled to death he had it,” Mr. Rymer said of Pruitt’s ownership of the house. “That’s why it was in such good condition.”

The house was built by the father of Mary Elliott Flanery, the first woman to serve in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Lovers of old houses, they found original woodwork, hardware and windows and wood shutters in good shape. The original fireplace in the living room was in working order, too.

But because it had been used as an office, there was no full bathroom and all the rooms had drop ceilings. The Rymers had in mind to restore the 1851 house to its original state.

Not only did their love of old structures work in their favor, Mr. Rymer had experience in carpentry and electrical work, having owned his own construction business before joining his wife in her business, Ashland Termite and Pest Co. Working nights and weekends since their purchase, the couple restored walls and ceilings, applied paint and wall paper. He has rewired a good portion of the house and has more to do after the first of the year. He’s also done plumbing with plans to make a master suite next year, too.

They made a laundry room downstairs and plan to redecorate the upstairs and make a master suite for themselves.

Ongoing work hasn’t stopped the Rymers from enjoying the house and entertaining.

The couple had a Halloween party with decorations in the house and on the lawn. Many people driving by pulled over to see if the party was an open house.

“Some of the children refused to come to the house,” Mrs. Rymer said. “They thought it was haunted. I hate to burst any bubbles but it’s not haunted.”

Mrs. Rymer said she has kept her Christmas decorations simple and similar to those that might have been used when the house was built. There is a Christmas tree in the entrance hall and garland crawls along the bannister to the upstairs. A large, tabletop Nativity scene sits cross from the tree.

In the living room beside the fireplace stands a 9-foot real tree and there’s a primitive tree in an upstairs sitting room.

She said it took three or four days to decorate, but she said they worked at a leisurely pace.

On Christmas eve, about 30 family members and friends will gather for a dinner of finger food centered on a ham. They will light the fireplaces, sing Christmas carols and enjoy one another’s company.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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