High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pimp My Dell! - Part 3: A Little More Upstairs....a Little Less Downstairs.... a Chemical Peel and Some Color...... Extreme Makeover Transforms Our Shady Lady from Dumpy Dame to the Rat's Pajamas!


Shady Dell...
you look marvelous!

It's been five months since our last progress report on the Shady Dell's history making facelift. Toni Deroche, SDMM's senior New Dellie correspondent and Violet Hill Bureau Chief has just returned from the front lines to bring us the latest on the Dell renovation and a brand new batch of pictures!

During the spring and summer the Dell house got a new roof and all of the old heating pipes were removed. Trees were cleared to open up the landscape and the property was graded.

As work continues into November all parties involved in the Dell makeover are keeping an eye on the calendar.

"We are mainly concerned with the outside of the house for now," Toni explained, "getting it ready for old man winter and doing what we can while the weather cooperates. The house has been power washed and it looks great!"

"The power washing included two copper roofs," wrote Toni, "one on top of the cement porch nearest to Starcross Road and another on top of the old dining room upstairs where the house juts out in a semicircle. Those copper roofs look beautiful and 'blue' again!"

A tighter shot of the cement porch shows that the recent cleaning has it looking brand spanking new. Hard to believe we're looking at an 86 year old Shady lady!

"The bricks were also power washed and now have a brighter, cleaner appearance," Toni added. "The ivy that was growing up the walls has been stripped away. The house is also getting new gutters."

"All of the white siding
is being painted," Toni continued...

"as are the columns and all outside woodwork."

"Workers are even cleaning and painting the spring house, the small outbuilding along the sidewalk that runs between the house and the barn."

"After the outside of the house is preserved for the winter months, work will shift to the inside where a new heating system and air conditioning units will be installed followed
by all new electrical wiring," Toni added.

Some interior work is already underway as evidenced by eerie images captured by Toni days ago in the basement of the house. The subterranean cavern has been opened up and thoroughly cleaned out. "John Ettline's old workbench, a large oil tank and tons of accumulated junk have all been removed from down there," Toni reports.

The surreal photo above was taken in the main part of the basement where the Dell's bakery was located 60 plus years ago. If you climbed the stairway on the right behind the worker you would end up in the snack bar next to the pinball machine. "Two interior walls were taken out," observed Toni, "and the remaining stone walls were coated in cement. The walls are now being painted along with the concrete floors." In the far background is an area that once contained the laundry room. The laundry is being relocated and to find out where it's going we must cross the basement and go through the doorway at the other end.

In the above pic we are back outside at the rear of the house looking in at the part of the basement that served as the laundry room.

The next shot was taken several paces back from that same doorway. From this vantage point we can see that the entire rear side of the house was recently spray painted, windows and all. Workers determined that it's easier to scrape the paint off the windows afterward than it is to cover them prior to spraying. Visible on the left side of the frame are the first and second floor porches that were recently refurbished.

A picture taken from a different angle after the windows were scraped shows us where the new laundry facility will
be located. "There's a long narrow room up there behind the snack bar on the first floor," said Toni. "As you can see it's completely enclosed by the white siding. That space will become the laundry room."

Another set of photographs transports us inside the house and through the door behind the snack bar. The door leads

into a "hidden" room that few Dell rats knew about and even fewer ever saw.

"This will become the laundry room," wrote Toni. "In addition to the washer and dryer it will also have a shower, sink and toilet."

The soon-to-be laundry room, which has been used for storage in recent years, was perhaps at one time a stock room where the Ettlines kept food and beverage commodities for the restaurant. In days of old this room was out of bounds and off limits for Dell rats, as was the basement
and the rooms on the second and third floors of the house.

Hidden rooms...secret's great fun poking around parts of the Dell we never saw before; but the best is yet to come.

The most significant facelift operation of
the year has just been completed and it has our Shady lady grinning from ear to ear. Don't miss Pimp My Dell, Part 4 coming up next!

Have a Shady day!


  1. What a beautiful house, I love the brick and the columns. I'm glad I got to see the snack bar area. The clean-up is sure going well.

  2. I agreee. The ambitious cleaning and restoration campaign has the Dell looking better now than it did in the 60's. You would have made a great Dellette, Belle. Thank you for your comment!

  3. I would have had to sneak out of the house to go there, but yes, I would have had a lot of fun. (my parents were very strict)

  4. Strict parents were actually a requirement if you wanted to join the rat pack, Belle! Dell rats elevated sneaking out to an art form!

  5. Seems like you are the handy type. I really like the scenic view of the house.

  6. Wish I could take credit for the work, Israel, but I didn't have anything to do with it. All of the work is being done by crews hired by the current owners, the Deroches, and by the Deroches themselves. Until recently the house was enshrouded in trees, shrubs and vines. Now that much of it has been cleared the Shady Dell is a lot less shady but a lot more picturesque. Thank you very much for your comment, Israel, and for joining the rat pack club. I hope you find a lot to like!


You talkin' to me?