Two-Ton Doors, Four Vaults, and One Heck of a View
Dave, Cristina, and Ben Trainor open their two-ton doors to their Downtown home and explain how they ended up living in a former bank.
How did you end up buying this building?
Dave explains, “when my now wife, Cristina and I started dating we always looked at buildings in Baltimore and Philadelphia that were being remodeled and neighborhoods that were getting restored. Ever since then we had this dream of one day getting involved in a historic building.
The office used to be in the Pickled Pickles building next door. So, when we heard that Fulton Bank, which was located in this building, was planning to move up to the pad site outside of town, our ears perked. We had our real estate agent look into the building. Since we had our homework already done when Fulton Bank moved we were able to purchase the building quickly without it ever going on the market.
We bought the building six years ago, in April 2012.”
How did you end up in Oxford?
“When I moved out here from Delaware County I lived behind Avon Grove High School. We did the house with the yard and all the grass to mow. In that house, with that big yard, you wave to your neighbor as you pull into the garage and that was the only interaction. Living in this Downtown building you walk from your car to the house and you see three friends walking by. There is such a sense of community and connection to our neighbors. We like to charcoal grill, and when we do that in our backyard, many friends walk by and ask “what’s for dinner?” It’s fun being able to impromptuly invite them up.
What shape was this building in when you bought it?
“When the Fulton Bank branch was located here they didn’t occupy the upper floors. So, they sat vacant for some time. We ended up gutting the second floor completely. It now has two bedrooms and our kitchen/living area.
The third floor still needs to be gutted and remodeled. We plan to make that floor our primary living space and then turn the second floor into an in-law suite. Cristina was born and raised in Costa Rica and her family is still there. So, when they come to visit it will be nice to have a private space for them to enjoy.
One of our hobbies is boating. When we finished remodeling the second floor Cristina wanted to jump right into the third floor. But instead we bought a boat. We joke that we should have named the boat “The Third Floor.”
Have you found anything interesting while remodeling?
Dave jokes, “we haven’t found any gold bars yet.”
But when we were working on the second floor bathroom our plumber found a concrete floor and he began breaking it up to move some plumbing lines. It ended up being the top of a vault that was over six inches thick.
The building was built in 1925 and there are three vaults and a fourth one with no door. We estimate that the main vault door is two-tons. Now it’s a great place to store our party supplies.
What is it like living above your work?
I thought there would be more of a challenge, keeping work and family life separate. But it actually has been quite the opposite. Before I would jump out of bed with a work idea and have to quickly write it down so I wouldn’t forget before getting to the office. Now when I wake up with an idea I can run downstairs and take care of that quickly and then go back to getting ready for the day.
When it snows, I call Ellen, my office manager, and say, “oh sorry, I can’t make it in today.” And she typically snaps back with, “get down here!”
Our son, Ben is 14 and he loves living in Downtown. If he wants to grab something to eat he can walk down to the SawMill or grab a snack somewhere else. He also thinks it’s just plain cool that we have a vault in our house.
Cristina drives to Delaware and is a Regulatory Manager for Dow Dupont. She loves the sense of community we have living in Downtown.
We live in a great place, an hour away to Philly, Baltimore, Annapolis and DC, an hour to the mountains, an hour to the beach and 25 minutes to the river.
Work hard, work a lot, then play hard.
What would you tell someone who doesn’t know Oxford?
The people here are so awesome. So engaging and welcoming. You can write about it, but until you feel it yourself, you just can’t explain it.
Always look forward and ask, what can we do to improve it.
The Rodriguez – Trainor Family