The american dream began multiple times at this grand rapids house mlive.com west la college tuition

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — if walls could talk, this classic ranch-style house at 1111 worcester drive NE would tell how a procession of first-time home buyers began their dream of a first-time home here.

Built in 1965, the exterior of the brick-faced ranch with a hip roof has remained largely unchanged despite a series of first-time home buyers who have moved its walls, applied fresh coats of paint and added their personal touches.

Located on a tree-lined street halfway between downtown grand rapids and the knapp corners shopping center, it’s now home to justin riggs, a personal trainer, and ashley st. Louis, a school teacher and sports journalist, who bought the house last year.

The couple enjoys entertaining friends in the cozy kitchen with a fireplace and on the deck overlooking the back yard.First-time home

A wedding date is set for this summer.

Riggs and st. Louis purchased the home for $170,500, paying more than the asking price and making an offer immediately after their initial walk-through.

They are part of the reason trulia.Com, a real estate research group, concluded west michigan will continue to be the hottest real estate market in the country this year.

Grand rapids is ranked 17th in its share of households under age 35 – the benchmark for millennials, according to trulia. Coupled with a fast growing job market, west michigan has become a mecca for young families wanting to buy a house.

Located in a desirable neighborhood without being too expensive, the house on worcester drive NE fits into the market as an ideal starter home.

Fifty-two years ago, the house fulfilled the dreams of john and elizabeth butkiewicz, a couple whose blue collar earnings gave them the wherewithal to buy a newly constructed house in a new subdivision.Cassandra haller

Having worked in the coal mines of pennsylvania as a teenager, john butkiewicz arrived in grand rapids with his parents and seven siblings in the late 1920s, according to his nephew, pete butkiewicz, who recalls attending family holiday celebrations at his uncle’s house.

John butkiewicz attended davis technical high school and learned to become a tool and die maker. At wolverine brass, he was one of the company’s top toolmakers, skills that earned him an exemption from military service during world war II.

Wolverine brass made plumbing fixtures from a giant factory at 620 monroe avenue NW. During world war II, it made parts for airplanes and tanks. It closed in 1986 and is now used as an office building.

"With all his work, he was very methodical with anything he was doing," said phil butkiewicz. "He was very clever." elizabeth, who worked in the offices at wolverine brass, became his second wife.Wolverine brass

Their new house was one of three in a row built that year in a new subdivision located on the city’s expanding northeast side, according to city records.

With a cozy brick fireplace in the big kitchen and hardwood floors, the white brick house with black shutters included a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and a two-stall garage.

When john butkieiwicz retired from wolverine brass in 1972, he built an elaborate woodworking shop in the basement of their home, pete butkiewicz said.

In 1996, after 30 years, the house was sold. Elizabeth had died three years earlier at age 82. John was 86 at the time and was living in a nursing home, where he died 10 months later.

"It was a cute house when we got it. It was well styled for the time," said cassandra haller.Cassandra haller she and husband, dr. David haller, became the fourth owners of the house in 2012.

"We saw it as an investment opportunity," cassandra haller said. "We were tired of paying rent and putting money into something we would never see back."

Cassandra haller, who works for a company that stages homes for sale, said she was able to develop her passion for interior design as they redecorated the house room by room.

They repainted and remodeled the kitchen, adding a new backsplash and hardware to the cabinets. They updated the hardware on the doors, replaced the garage doors and re-landscaped the yard.