It's time to bring you up to date on
the Shady Dell's extreme makeover.
In the past year the 87 year old Dell house has undergone extensive renovation inside and out, including a new heating and air conditioning system, electrical upgrade, a new roof, new decking and restored porches, grading, landscaping,
tree and vine removal and new shrubs. Original Dell rats who marveled at the changes made on the outside are in for the shock of their lives when they see what's going on inside!
* Dell Owner
* Violet Hill
The last time we heard from Dell owner Toni Deroche was last fall when the exterior of the house was being painted and winterized. Work is now underway inside the house and Toni is back to bring us the latest photos.
be my guest!
Shady, before we go inside.....
I would like to point out that nearly all of the Dell's windows
are being replaced, more than 30 in all.
However, the original
stained glass windows
on the front of the
will remain intact
because they add
so much character.
As we step inside
the front door, the
first thing you will
notice is that the
hallway is gone.
The wall on the
left side was
When we move forward a few paces, do an about-face
and look back at the front door...
you can see how the removal of the hallway wall allows
easy access to the front room. You can also see another
stained glass pane above the door. This must have been
one classy house back in the day!
Let's go through the door on the left in the above photo
so that we can view one of the areas that was off-limits
to Dell rats.
This was once the Ettlines' living room. The bay window is
one of the many amenities to be found throughout the Dell
house. Plans call for this space to be divided by a wall and
become a dining room and office.
If we go back out to the entrance where we started we
can view in the above picture a portion of the front room
that can be used for casual dining such as a breakfast nook
in conjunction with a proposed eat-in kitchen.
In the image below we have moved a few more paces back,
allowing us to see the close proximity of the eating area to
the middle section of the room where the modern, walk-thru
kitchen will be located. The kitchen will have an island and
all new appliances.
On the left side of this picture you'll notice 2X4s running
along the interior wall. That's where the kitchen cabinets
and appliances will be installed. On the right you can see
one of the original restroom doors that now leads, not to
blessed bladder bliss, but directly out to the Dell's
Toni, if I may interrupt you
at this point, I would like to remind readers that it was
here in this room (above)
that generations of Dell rats occupied rows of restaurant booths, munched on goodies prepared by Helen Ettline, listened to the jukebox, and took care of teenage business. In the late 60s the booths were removed and a fooseball table was installed, followed in later years by a pool table. All of it is gone now.
Toni, back to you.
Shady, the photo below, taken from the front door,
shows the same kitchen area from a different angle.
Notice those 2X4s lining the interior wall which is now on
the right side of the frame. In case you're wondering, that
large stainless steel object on the far left is the original
Shady Dell soda fountain. It was moved out of the way
while work was ongoing. Beyond it and just to the right
you can see that the other restroom door, the one that
once led to the ladies' room, has been converted into a
Now let's proceed to the rear of the house and examine
the picture below. The room that for decades contained
the Dell's snack bar, stools, grill and soda fountain is
hardly recognizable now that those familiar trappings
have been removed.
The area where the old snack bar was located is destined
to become the great room with sofa, chairs, TV, etc.
When we walk through the door in the background we
enter a narrow room where a completely new 1/2 bath
and laundry will be installed.
For many years the room was used for storage but there
is evidence that it started out as a porch that was later
The picture below, taken from the laundry at the far rear
of the first floor, gives us a full length view of this side of
the house. The great room which was once the snack bar
is in the foreground. The center of the picture is where the
new kitchen will be located. In the far background you can
see the space set aside for a table and chairs that will be
incorporated with the kitchen and used for casual everyday
dining. At this point I would like to mention that new
hardwood flooring will be installed on this main floor and
that plumbing has been upgraded throughout the house.
The blue and white door on the left in the above photo
leads us downstairs to the basement, another area that
was out of bounds to Dell patrons.
The basement, which consists of the rectangular room
above and an L-shaped chamber behind it, has been
cleared of trash and debris, cleaned, brightened with
white paint, and a new door installed. The basement
will be heated and air conditioned. It doesn't take
much to imagine this space as a man cave or rec room
with ping-pong, pool tables and what have you.
Now that we've seen the basement and the first floor
let's proceed up to the second and third floors which
were also off-limits to Dell customers.
The four bedroom second floor is being converted into three
bedrooms with two full baths.
The main attraction will be a spacious new master bedroom
that is being created by removing a wall between an existing
bedroom and the Ettlines' old dining room.
The Ettlines' dining room, shown above, will be converted
into a sitting room adjoining the master bedroom.
Panning to the right gives us a better look at the Dell's
second bay window which will be an attractive feature
What used to be the Ettlines' upstairs kitchen (above) will
now become the master bath and a closet. A deck on the
outside of the house can be accessed from this room.
Layers of old wallpaper throughout the house are being
stripped away. Walls and ceilings will be getting new 1/4"
sheet rock drywall and insulation will be blown into the walls.
The entire second floor will get new carpeting. Bathrooms
will have tile floors. When we climb the stairway on the left
in the picture above we will arrive on the third floor.
The appearance of the three room attic is changing rapidly.
The picture above was taken around mid March. The next
three pictures below were taken only one week later.
The walls and ceiling have been stripped. Soon heating and
air conditioning ducts will be installed. Incidentally, the odd
shaped custom fitted window visible in the center of the
main wall is one of the few Dell windows that will not be
Drywall will be applied throughout the attic. The walls and
ceiling will be repainted and new carpeting will be installed.
Heating, air conditioning, new walls and ceiling, fresh paint
and carpeting...with all of those improvements the attic
could easily serve as a 4th bedroom!
Shady... that completes
our tour of the Dell house
which at the moment is
an empty nest, but not
for long. Our goal is to
transform the three story
brick structure from an
aging fixer-upper into a
modern home that will
retain a great deal of
its original idyllic charm.
Once the interior work
has been completed we
will be staging the home with furnishings, decora-
tions and accessories including vintage 1930s art deco
ceiling light fixtures and chandeliers, colorful towels,
pictures, hanging baskets of flowers on the porches and
other personal touches that will make the home as warm
and inviting as possible.
Toni, that's music to my ears. The next chapter of Pimp My Dell promises to be the most exciting ever. We'll get to see the finished product and I know it'll blow our minds. The attic already looks like Hef's private suite at the Playboy mansion!
Thank you very much Toni Deroche for
your entertaining and informative report
and for bringing us another series of
fascinating and historically significant
I would like to conclude this Dell update with one last image captured by Toni from that second floor deck outside the old kitchen. It shows us what the barn/dance hall complex looks like today.
Winters have not been kind. The barn is in obvious disrepair. For those of us who made it our home away from home all those years ago it's nearly impossible to believe that this shabby shack is the same spot where all of that magic happened, the legendary hangout that once rocked and rolled with hundreds of teenagers a night, a place where
the psychodramas and the traumas of countless youth played out, a sanctuary wherein is recorded our own
version of American Graffiti and dwell our fondest memories. The long-term fate of the barn remains uncertain. Dell rats can only hope that it will not be reduced to rubble but will instead be preserved forever.
Have a Shady day!