After lengthy negotiations, couple transform 1910 rental property in East Lawrence into their permanent home | News, Sports, Jobs


photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

Curtis and Sydney Tebo outside their East Lawrence home at 909 New York St.

Curtis and Sydney Tebo rented their home at 909 New York St. for four years before finally convincing their landlords to sell it to them.

“We had lived in the smallest house for the first couple of years I was in graduate school with our giant dogs, so we saw this house for rent, and when I saw the vaulted ceilings and the open floor plan, I said, ‘Yeah, we’ll take it,’” Sydney says.

The Tebos didn’t want to merely rent. After several years as tenants, they negotiated with their landlords for nine months to buy the house, which they did in July.

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

Curtis and Sydney Tebo love the open floor design at 909 New York St., which includes a living room, dinning room and kitchen all visible from just inside the front door. The wood floor is made from salvaged wood from an original portion of the home’s exterior.

“We had to beg, borrow and steal from basically every family member that we have to put the down payment down and get it,” Sydney says. “We would have been willing to do anything to buy it.”

Originally from Lincoln, Neb., the Tebos came to Lawrence so Sydney could attend the University of Kansas for graduate school, but after finding their house, they decided to make the move permanent. Sydney works as a data manager for Baker University, and Curtis works for Spring Venture Group in the health insurance field.

“We’ve always loved Lawrence,” Sydney says. “We really like bluegrass, and we would come here together when we were in college for shows. We already knew that we liked Lawrence a lot before we moved here.”

The Tebos say that being close to downtown is one of the best things about the house.

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

Sydney’s grandmother created a Gustav Klimt-inspired painting for the couple’s dining room, which also features a secondhand hardwood table and several of Sydney’s house plants.

“We are absolutely in love with the East Lawrence neighborhood,” Curtis says. “(There are) tons of fun, eclectic and talented artists, and being right next to downtown off of Ninth — which in my opinion is the most popular street in downtown Lawrence — is a huge plus for anyone.”

Sydney says the neighborhood is brimming with colorful personalities.

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

A small but efficient and bright kitchen is directly accessible to the living and dining areas of the home at 909 New York St. and features an island with seating.

“Our neighborhood is full of characters; they’re some of the nicest but oddest people I’ve ever met,” Sydney says. “The lady who lives on the corner introduced herself to us as Mrs. Jimi Hendrix, and we were like, ‘Great, that’s all I’m ever going to call you now,’ and that’s amazing. We love that.”

The house features a sizable open floor plan between the kitchen and living room, with high vaulted ceilings.

“My favorite space is the living room,” Sydney says. “It’s where my husband and I spend most of our time together. Out of every room in the house, I feel like the living room is the room that really reflects ‘me,’ my sense of style and the things that I love and collect. Even though the room is a wide-open space, it still manages to feel comfortable and cozy for us.”

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

The Tebos have left evidence of the home’s original brick chimney near the kitchen ay 909 New York St.

Already in love with the house, the Tebos didn’t make many changes when they bought it. They appreciated that the previous owners retained vestiges of the original house, which was built in 1910.

“I would say the thing I love most about our house is just the overall open space and layout, as well as having modern aesthetics but also being able to keep some of the history of the old house exposed,” Curtis says. “For example, parts of the siding outside were repurposed as our wood floors in the living room.” He also is a fan of the exposed brick on the old chimney.

In addition to being close to downtown, the Tebos’ home is right across from New York Elementary School.

photo by: Sydney Tebo

The Tebos have two large dogs whom they describe as “minor celebrities.”

“You’d think living across the street from a school would get hectic, but it’s not really like that,” Curtis says.

“We get to listen to children laugh and giggle all day while I’m working,” Sydney says. “Then we let the dogs run around in the fenced-in area, which they love. Our dogs are minor celebrities (downtown) just because they’re so huge.”

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

The Tebos’ bedroom at 909 New York St. features a high ceiling and a walk-in closet that connects to a bathroom.

Because of the home’s proximity to downtown nightlife, from time to time an interloper will stumble into the Tebos’ yard or even house.

“Occasionally we’ll have a drunk student wander in our yard, and we just direct them away,” laughs Sydney. “One time we were watching a KU basketball game. It was during March Madness, and this couple just walked in; they greeted our dogs, but finally they looked around and looked at us, and realized.”

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

The kitchen features Sydney and Curtis’ “dog shrine” of artwork dedicated to their dogs Potato and Floyd.

The Tebos can’t predict the future, of course, but in the one they imagine, they are living happily in their 1910 house on New York Street.

“I would absolutely be humbled and honored if I could live out my days here,” Curtis says. “You never know what will happen, but I think the arts district and East Lawrence will continue to grow, and I’d love to watch new people and local businesses continue to thrive.”

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

A walk-in closet is located between the Tebos’ bedroom and bathroom on the first floor of their East Lawrence home at 909 New York St.

photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World

Unpainted siding and exposed ceiling beams above an east-facing front porch provide a rustic feel for the East Lawrence home at 909 New York St.





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