Gladys and Carla Spizzirri are sisters, realtors, and business partners. When they got a call about a certain house in the city, they could not help but feel excited. They waited patiently before it was time for them to check out 148 Jane Street. There was no way for them to guess what they were about to see there. At any rate, they could not believe what was actually waiting for them inside the unassuming home.
A Regular Home
If you look at the house from the outside, you would probably think it was just an ordinary house in Toronto. Jane Street was rather plain-looking and did not have any landmarks worth citing. There was nothing particularly notable about the area either. The things surrounding the house were nothing more than regular structures. This is the reason they assumed the interiors would be like this too.
Looking To Sell
Over the years, not many people have entered the house. What the neighbors knew was that its inhabitant has been living there for as long as memory served. However, there was more to it than even they knew. It all began when the Spizzirri sisters got a call about the house. The owner was thinking of putting it up on the market. Before they could do this, Gladys and Carla wanted to see it in person.
Just A Regular Day
There was nothing all that exciting about that workday. Things at the office happened as they usually did. Everyone was busy working, so they had no clue that this was going to be a life-changing day for them. As usual, they showed off houses, tried to seal deals with clients, and answered the phone. The sisters owned the real estate agency in question. Even though they did not work together before this, they decided to become partners after they learned how good they were as a team. Their tandem was effective and efficient!
They raked in a lot of experience in the field for the past few years. The Spizzirri sisters knew how things worked in this industry. They were good at the job and enjoyed it. There were not many exciting surprises in their line of work, but this did not mean that it was boring at all. You’ll see what we mean by that soon enough.
The Phone Rings
These professional realtors also get shocked from time to time. They had no clue yet at the time, that this was what was going to happen. The two of them were onto something huge, but we cannot blame them for not figuring it out right away. There are times when fate will simply blindside us. All of a sudden, silence befell the office. There was a quick pause before the phone started to ring. Who was it?
A Call From A Stranger
There are times when they feel like the phone does not stop ringing at the office. They answered the phone as they normally did. On the other end of the line was an older woman by the name of Joyce. Like most callers, she was also thinking of putting her house up for sale. However, she was not sure if she should.
They could tell that Joyce had hesitations as she talked about her plans to put the house on the market. They knew that she was not a big fan of the idea. However, the sisters could also tell that this was a persistent lady. There was a good chance that she would sell the house in the end. However, the sisters started to worry when she told them one thing about the house. What exactly did she tell them?
A Different Kind Of Emotion
The sisters were used to getting calls from people who were happy to sell their houses. Most of the people who ring them up sounded happy when they talk about their plans. Often, they believe that it will be the start of a new chapter in their lives. However, Joyce did not sound happy or excited at all.
Realtors often develop a sixth sense of sorts when they talk to their clients. The sisters could tell that Joyce was trying to hide something from them. They could not help but worry since such a secret could make it more difficult for them. The realtors knew that some people would hide unpleasant things about the house instead of telling them outright. Was this what was going on here?
However, Joyce did not bother to hide any typical problems they encountered. It was not something along the lines of a broken water heater or black mold. The secret was even bigger than that. Are you ready to find out what she was hiding in her house? Carla and Gladys were going to be in for a surprise.
No Way To Prepare
The two did not shy away from this challenge since they felt that they could sell just about anything. They always did a great job and always looked out for the next opportunity. Even though they had a lot of experience by then, they were completely unprepared for what was coming their way.
They have spent quite some time in the industry, so they assumed that they had already seen all the things they would. However, they could not have been any more wrong. They have dealt with many things that would cause others to give up, so they felt equipped to deal with just about anything. That was what they had in mind before they paid a visit to Joyce’s house. They tried to speculate about what they were going to find there, but none of them would turn out to be correct. Before we talk some more about this, let us see what happened when Carla and Gladys arrived at the property on 148 Jane Street.
At the time, the sisters had 3 years in the world of real estate already. They must be the ones who knew the city best! Carla and Gladys had established themselves in the industry by buying and selling properties all over Toronto. They were more than just experts because they liked to walk the talk. There are times when they lucked out and found a property that only required minimal work. These places essentially sold themselves with minimal help. Was this what was going to happen this time? They were about to find out, although they tried not to keep their hopes up. For some reason, Joyce did not sound happy about selling the property. The only thing to do now was to have a look at it.
When Joyce called the realtor sisters, she gave them an important piece of information that took them by surprise. Without a doubt, it was going to have an effect on the sale of the property. The older woman hinted that they would be shocked as soon as they entered her house. What did she mean?
A Living Legend
Joyce was no longer in the prime of her life. As a matter of fact, she was 96 years old by then! While they were shocked to hear this, they were glad that she was very lucid. Carla thought it was impressive since their own grandmother had poor hearing now. It was great to see that Joyce was in good shape, but this does not compare to the surprise waiting for them inside the house. Let us find out what it was.
When Carla and Gladys got to 148 Jane Street, they were still clueless about what they would find inside the house. They had no idea that something unbelievable was waiting for them there. From the outside, it did not seem any different from the other houses on the street. However, this would turn out to be false.
A Looming Disaster
Joyce told them that she had been residing in the modest house for more than seven decades already. In the past 72 years, she did not ever renovate the house! The only exception to this was the kitchen, which she remodeled and upgraded. After Carla and Gladys heard about this, they began to dread going to the house for an inspection. This is because there was a good chance it was going to be in bad shape.
When the two of them made their way to the house, they could not help but feel rather skeptical about this entire thing. After all, they felt like there was no way an old lady like Joyce could have kept the house in great shape on her own. They knew that it was better if they prepared for the worst.
As the day of the inspection came closer, they started to worry some more. Among others, Carla and Gladys already felt worried that they would need a lot of time and effort to clean the house if what they feared turned out to be true. One of the worst nightmares for realtors is to stumble into the house of a hoarder. It was more than possible that the house was going to be filled with all kinds of junk and debris.
Not All Bad
On the bright side, they were happy that the house was located in such a prime area. This should at least make up for what they were going to find inside the house. The area had seen rising housing prices over the past few years, so they knew that they could put it up for sale at a great price. When it comes to real estate, location is very important. After they talked to Joyce on the phone, they began to calculate how much they could sell it for. They arrived at a figure that was higher than their expectations! However, the only definitive way to find out if this was accurate is to see the house for themselves.
So Far So Good
Jane Street was located in a neighborhood called Old Mill. For the people of Toronto, this zip code is an enviable one. Gladys and Carla worked on other houses in the neighborhood, and they always got a good deal there. After they crunched the numbers, the sisters arrived at the price of $968,000. Whoa!
Still So Hesitant
However, it was hard to say if this was accurate without first seeing the house for themselves. There were plenty of things they had to take into consideration first. If the interiors were lacking, they would have to fix it up to make it suitable for living. Joyce sounded unsure, but could they get her to sell it?
Making Up Her Mind
When she got in touch with them, Joyce sounded rather unsure about putting her home up for sale. As you can imagine, Gladys and Carla had a reason to worry. The old woman told them that she was thinking of selling the house after living in it for 72 years. We are sure that it was not easy to leave a place after living there nearly your entire life. She must have many great memories of the place.
The way Joyce talked on the phone made them pause. They started to feel a little suspicious. Was Joyce actually upset about selling the house she called home for seven decades? Or was she hiding something and felt like the house would not do well on the market? If the second one turned out to be true, Carla and Gladys were going to be in big trouble.
Before they came to a decision, Gladys and Carla agreed to at least look at the house first. They wanted to see 148 Jane Street with their own eyes. In all likelihood, they would have to conduct repairs before they could put it on the market. A lot depended on just how well-maintained the house actually was.
Gladys and Carla picked a time and date to drop by the house to conduct an inspection. This way, they could see what they needed to do before they could sell it. However, they didn’t have a single clue that they were going to get the surprise of a lifetime there! Joyce had a secret, and it blew them away.
Before they dropped by for the inspection, Carla and Gladys could only rely on the address of the house and a photo of the exterior. These things were not enough to get the whole picture, as you can imagine. They also had to consider the fact that it looked just like the other houses on the block from the outside.
A Decision At Last
Joyce had finally arrived at a decision. She planned to sell the house, so it was now the time for Carla and Gladys to see what the place looked like. Finally, it was now the time for them to conduct the inspection. They arrived at the front steps, where the old woman greeted them. She guided the sisters through the front door. What they found inside shocked them.
They did not have any clue that they were going to find something like this. Not once did it come to their minds that this would be waiting for them. After they entered the house, Gladys and Carla only stared in amazement. Joyce was not a hoarder at all.
In fact, this old woman was someone traditional. Among other things, she liked to take good care of her house. They were impressed by how stunning the house turned out to be. Aside from that, they felt surprised to see that it was very well-maintained. The house was perfect since Joyce took care of everything from the décor to the furniture. It was impeccable and even clean. This was not all, however.
They were shocked to find the house in the state it was in. In fact, Carla and Gladys could not help but feel like they won the lottery. They had no idea that this was waiting for them the whole time. On top of that, it meant that their estimated figure was even lower than it should be.
The Designer Herself
That was not all, however. The house was essentially a huge time capsule! As soon as you go through the front door, it would feel like you were transported to the ‘40s. It made a lot of sense as that was the decade she started living here. She was the one to pick out the furniture, curtains, wallpaper, and more!
As they started to tour the house, Gladys and Carla were happy to find that each room was even more gorgeous and cleaner than the one before it. This was, without a doubt, the cleanest house they ever had to inspect in their line of work. This was not only a regular house because it was more like an homage to the past. They could see how hard Joyce worked to keep it in good condition. Now they understood why she hesitated so much. While the house was in great condition, they knew that not everyone was going to like it. Depending on the potential buyer, the interior might make or break a deal.
Gladys and Carla felt rather worried because the home had been decorated in a very feminine manner. While it was amazing and well-maintained, they doubted that it was going to appeal to men since it was far too pink or floral. The color scheme might come up as an issue if the buyer was not willing to put in the effort to redo everything. They knew that it would take money, effort, and time to redo the whole house. The golds, purples, and pinks of the house might be a problem for men and even some women.
There was one room in the house that looked different from the others. In the basement, Gladys and Carla saw a room that had a wet bar and wood paneling. It was the perfect man cave! It looked like this, so one only needs to tweak it to make it perfect. They could tell that a man has spent lots of time here. It was where Joyce’s husband spent his time. It was refreshing to see this after all the florals and pastels.
Apart From That
Even though the house was clearly gorgeous, the backyard was a bit of a disappointment. They clearly saw that this area did not receive the same love and care the rest of the house did. There was AstroTurf on the ground, but this was the only visible effort in that area. However, Carla and Gladys knew that this was not that big of a problem because everything else about the house made up for it. Next, they needed to ask inspectors to check if there were hidden damages in the house.
They knew that it was possible for a house to look like this but come with hidden flaws. There are times when the foundation has structural damages, or perhaps there is mold in the walls. These things will lead to a huge decline in the price, but they felt like they had nothing to worry about. However, it was still possible that their gut was wrong. Maybe there was something that they could not see with their eyes.
Beneath It All
The home inspectors got there and started to work. They scoured the entire house and checked for any damage that might be invisible to the eye. Could there be something wrong inside the bones of the house? In the end, what they found out about the house shocked every single one of them. Who would have thought that the house could possibly be in such perfect condition? As a matter of fact, it might be in even better condition than the day they bought it in the ‘40s. Gladys and Carla did not have to work on the house at all!
It Is On
They just had to return to the office and then put Joyce’s house up for sale. They decided to start at the price of $699,000. This was rather high, but they could not believe what happened next. A bidding war started when potential buyers saw how beautiful the house was! Potential buyers were impressed by the interiors and wanted to buy it for themselves. It went on and on. The house on 148 Jane Street was a good choice not only because of its decoration but also because it was in a great neighborhood.
Blast To The Past
The house soon went viral. In fact, it even got featured on the news. People were fascinated by the house that Joyce took care of all these years. No one could believe that a 96-year-old woman can take care of this by herself. The popularity made the price go up some more. The people who tuned in to the story thought it was more like a museum than a house. After all, Joyce kept everything as they were.
Even though she did not change the place, she decided to give the kitchen an upgrade at some point in the past. In the ‘60s, Joyce decided it was time to get modern kitchen conveniences. After all, it was no longer practical to use stuff from the previous decades for this room. She wanted to cook with more efficiency, so she had new appliances installed. They remain in working condition to this day!
Where She Went
She considered herself to be an interior design hobbyist. Don’t you wish that she did this professionally instead? In the past, Joyce actually worked as a seamstress. Clearly, she was one artistic person! What was she planning to do when she finished selling the house? Apparently, she needed the money because she wanted to stay at a retirement home. She did not like the idea of taking care of the house during her twilight years. When she was interviewed by HGTV, she said, “I’ve always tried to be individual, and follow my own styles.”
A History Lesson
Together with her husband, Joyce moved into 148 Jane Street in 1942. Back then, the Second World War was still ongoing. People were busy with the war effort at the time. The couple decided to move into the two-level brick structure and called it home. Of course, most people who kept up with the story wanted to know if the new owners retained the interior or gave it a makeover. We do not know what they ended up doing, but it would be a huge shame if they decided to ruin the hard work that went into it.
Not The Furniture
It turns out that there was a catch if you bought the property. The person who won the auction would not get the furniture! We just hope that they did not fail to read the fine print before they went ahead with the sale. The pieces of furniture definitely played a big part in the design and feel of the house. Joyce’s daughter got the furniture as her inheritance. Despite this, we are sure the house is still worth buying.
After Seven Decades
When Joyce was 24 years old, she moved into this house. She lived there for 72 years before deciding it was high-time she moved somewhere else. The old woman lived most of her life there, but she never neglected the house. The house is still immaculate! It was a simple brick house that did not look like much from outside, but her skills at interior decoration and design converted it into something special.
She let the press know that she liked tone on tone pieces. She likes matching designs and soft colors, in particular aqua, blue, pink, and purple. They might be hard colors to work with, although it suited the house perfectly. Thanks to her efforts, the house was inviting and comfortable at the same time. She paid great attention to details so that everything looked nice together. She even handpicked the towels, photo frames, and toilet seat covers! It is surely impressive that the house was still in perfect condition.
The Intricate Details
The three-bedroom structure has two bathrooms boasting of wall to wall carpeting and wallpapers from the post-war era. Joyce also used floral sweeps, baroque pattern, metallic wallpaper, and gold touches. She mastered using these lovely touches to create a masterpiece! The house also had fireplaces, which were essential when it comes to battling the cold in Toronto. The rooms all saw a lot of care and consideration! Joyce even had the hardware and cupboards tailor-made and customized.
The Best Part
While the main floors of the house look amazing, the basement is also great. The laundry room had wooden cabinets that fit perfectly with all the laundry machines there. While there is a chance that they don’t come from the same era as the other items in the house, it makes sense to update the appliances.
Follow In Her Footsteps
She did not only have fun decorating and maintaining the house, but she also brought it up to a standard that was difficult for most people to achieve. Let us now take a look at the story of John Sims, who bought a new house in Arizona. Unlike the house Joyce lived in, it wasn’t perfect. However, it also had a secret…
His new house was located in Tucson, Arizona. The previous owner of the property was his friend, so he knew there was nothing to worry about. However, he learned something about it when his friend gave him the keys. According to his pal, there was a mystery on the property that he had been unable to solve.
So I’ve Heard
His pal made sure to let him know about the mystery hiding in the backyard. It turns out that there was a rumor that something had been buried there in the past. John was now the owner of the property, so it was up to him to do something about it. He could not help his desire to solve such a fascinating mystery!
We can definitely understand why he felt so curious when his friend told him this. As soon as his friend let him know about the rumor, John was intrigued. He even asked his pal for a shovel, although he half-meant it as well. The two of them simply laughed it off, but John was determined to uncover the secret.
A New Project
He had newfound determination to find out what was hiding in the backyard. He started to set things in motion from then on. What was he going to find there? Was he even going to see anything on the lot? The possibilities were endless. Even though he was going to have to mess up the yard, it was worth it to solve the mystery. John Sims was not going to let it go until he found the answers to his questions.
He began to work on his yard, but it looked like the elements were not going to make it easy for him. The Arizona heat was no joke since it climbed to three-digit temperatures. Yikes! At any rate, John was eager to see what was hiding on the property. He was hard-working and determined, but he did not turn anything up. Maybe the rumor was only a rumor, after all. However, he refused to give up.
He dug four holes in the backyard, but he did not find anything there. It was possible that whatever had been buried there had already collapsed at some point. By then, his disappointment was starting to set in. However, he knew that it was a bad idea to give up. He started to think outside the box this time.
He then found something that was going to help him with his search. He retrieved municipal records of this Tucson neighborhood! John went through the documents until he saw just what he needed. The record mentioned when the house was built, but there was more. He now had a better idea of what he was looking for. The document said that in 1961, Whitaker Pools was hired to build something there.
Taking It To Another Level
John knew that he needed to refocus the search and handle it more carefully. Before this, he only had his instincts to trust. This time, he had records. He needed to handle this in a smart way. For that very reason, he asked consultants to drop by with their metal detectors. As you can see, things were starting to heat up. They got there with the equipment and searched the yard. Finally, they heard the detectors go off.
X Marks The Spot
John was thrilled to hear this! The metal detectors actually went off twice. He marked the two spots with X’s. He was glad that he would not have to dig blindly anymore. The professionals certainly helped. He started to dig holes in those two spots until the shovel hit something at last. What was it?
The shovel came into contact with something metallic. He was thrilled, but he decided to pause. He wondered if this was a septic tank. If that was the case, it would be a good idea to dig around it. However, this did not turn out to be the case. Let us see what it actually was.
It looked like he uncovered an entrance of some sort in his yard. It looked just like a hatch. He cleared the soil around the object and pulled the lid open. He tried to hold his breath since there might have been toxic gas fumes or mold there. He looked in and could not believe what he saw.
Beneath the lid, he saw what looked like sharp blades! However, a closer look revealed that it was only a spiral staircase that led downwards. John was smart enough to hold his horses even though he was overcome with excitement. It was a good thing that he hesitated before checking what was down there.
Even if he went about it carefully, it was a foolish idea not to prepare first. He is actually a captain at the fire department, so he knew that it is better to get ready for any possible dangers down there. For one thing, the structure might not even be stable. He came up with a plan but could not do this on his own.
He had to ask for help if he wanted to do this. He asked his friends to help him out since he wanted to have a backup should anything go wrong. John was experienced when it comes to rescuing people, but he knew that it might mean the end for him if the old lid collapsed. There was something he had to do first.
The Master Plan
While he felt excited to look around, he knew that it was very important to navigate the underground space safely. He had no idea what might be down there, after all. He and his pals thought long and hard about how to go about this. They made a blueprint and a list of what to do. What could be down there?
The first task on the list was to fix and reinforce the concrete structure around the stairs that lead to the underground area. The stairs did not look safe at all since it was rusted over. Even though they felt tempted to climb down there right away, there was no way they would do such a careless thing.
John and his friends all worked hard to add several layers of concrete. They also secured the rebar in the hatch. They had to make sure that the structure was not going to crumble when they finally went down there. They had to keep adding more batches of concrete to provide the stability it needs.
One thing that made the process even more difficult was the heat! Not only did it slow them down, but they were worried that it was going to damage the hatch as well. They had to protect themselves and the hole, so they installed a tent over the site. Aside from that, they installed a Sonotube cardboard structure too. Everything was going well for them, although they still needed to do one last thing.
They wanted to be able to see down there, so they put up an electrical line. John and the team also installed a black pipe to introduce fresh air to the area. At last, they were finally getting closer to solving the actual mystery. It turns out that this secret had been lying in wait for the past five decades!
Ready To Go
When they were finished widening the entrance, it seemed much sturdier than it did in the beginning. Despite the heat, they kept working until it was time for them to go down at last. John felt secure enough to head down there and explore the underground tunnel. What was he going to find there?
Even though they worked hard to reinforce the structure, it was still a terrible idea to use the rusty stairs. They were rusty, so they felt doubtful that it could bear their weight. While they could reinforce the entrance from above, they could not do the same thing for the stairs. They needed to get down there if they wanted to fix it. In the meantime, they needed to think of another way to get inside.
Another Way In
John needed to find a way to get inside the underground space. The entrance was too deep and narrow, so he knew he would likely get hurt if he used the rusty stairs. He decided to use a ladder instead. John was finally on his way to solve the mystery! He was full of excitement as he descended…
John The Explorer
As he went down the ladder, John could tell that no one else had been there for a long, long time. He continued heading down the shaft until he found an underground complex there! No, it was not filled with dirt. In fact, it was totally empty. John walked across the room and passed an arched doorway.
A Bit Of The Past
Down there, the fiberglass on the ceiling looked like it was about to come apart! He could tell that they had more work to do if they wanted to make it usable. After all, the fiberglass can be harmful if it fell apart. Now that he knew what was under the ground, he was not going to do anything half-heartedly.
Beneath his yard, he found a structure that did not look like it had seen much action. There was normal wear and tear there, but this did not come as a surprise at all. In general, however, the place seemed like it was in great shape. They did not find anything there, so the gang tried to figure out what it was. They knew it was built by Whitaker Pools, but it was clearly not a swimming pool.
A Historical Find
In the end, they figured out that it was actually a nuclear fallout shelter built during the Cold War! Back then, people were suffering from mass paranoia. Whitaker Pools started to offer this service, which became a hit. As John dug digger into the matter, he eventually found out that he was not alone. Can you guess what we mean by that?
Apparently, many houses in Tucson came with these bomb shelters. While you might think it was an overreaction, it definitely was not considered as such in those days. As a matter of fact, many people admired those who paid for it. After all, it clearly meant that the person considered safety to be of utmost importance. Keep in mind that nuclear war seemed like a very real threat in those days.
There was a time when there were 18 ballistic missiles in Tucson, Arizona. These things could travel across entire continents! Measuring 110 feet by 10 feet, the weapons could destroy 900 square miles in one go. They could also be launched in just under one minute. The tip of the missile came with a 9-megaton nuclear warhead as well. As you can see, Tucson was home to both war shelters and weapons.
Don’t worry, the majority of those rockets have been disabled ever since the threat of nuclear war went down. During the ‘80s, most of the nuclear shelters in Tucson had been either sealed or destroyed by the homeowners. It was a good thing that the US and the USSR have improved their relations since then. When this particular unit was built, it was 1961. This would put it at around the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis!
John posted his discovery on Reddit not long after this. To no one’s surprise, the story went viral! He was proud of what he found and knew that there were other people in the same boat. The post became so popular that Tucson locals with bomb shelters of their own contacted him. John’s friends wanted to convert the bomb shelter into a cigar bar and wine cellar, but he had another idea for it. He hoped to start collecting memorabilia and pieces of furniture from the Cold War. Just what did he want to do?
He decided to create an account on GoFundMe to make his dreams a reality. John wrote, “Hi, I’m John and I need some help restoring a vintage Fallout Shelter that I have uncovered in my backyard.” The interior might be in good shape, but he still wanted to rebuild the entryway and secure it with concrete before anything else. On top of that, he wanted to get rid of the rusty staircase.
Civil Defense Museum
He was not going to let this incredible opportunity pass him by without doing a single thing about it. When he learned that it was a nuclear shelter, he knew that he wanted to use it as a HAM shack, a man cave, and a Civil Defense Museum. He started researching the Cold War some more as well. He knew that it would be a good idea to restore the shelter to pay homage to the time period it came from. This is why he started to look for Geiger counters, water supply barrels, sanitation kits, and HAM radios.
His story started to get even more attention. It was even shared 430 times! John started to raise the funds to make his dreams come true. He set a goal of $2,000 and raised $350 already. As you can see, people believed in what he was doing. John soon finished securing the staircase. This meant he can now go up and down without worrying about hurting himself. He also shared the process with his donors.
It took some time to rebuild the staircase since John was not willing to cut corners for such a special project. He made sure to make the top step 2.5 times wider than the others. He also secured the staircase to the concrete wall. After it was built, the restoration process was much easier. A lot of people were impressed by this and started to donate to such a worthy cause.