A Chilliwack couple that wants to save the 107-year-old home they’re living in from the wrecking ball is asking for the community’s help.
Jamie and Erin O’Neill have been renting the house on Knight Road since July of 2020. When they moved in they were told by the owners that they were planning to tear down the house around the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022 in order to build a new home for their own family.
The O’Neills had asked the owners if they would be OK with letting them move the house when the time came. The owners agreed they could relocate it but on one condition – the O’Neills would have to move it off the property themselves and pay for any cost associated with it.
They agreed and now the O’Neills are looking for a place to relocate it. A friend has started a GoFundMe to help with costs of moving the home that was built in 1914.
“We love this house. We’ve completely nestled in here,” Jamie O’Neill said.
The O’Neills are so passionate about the old home, they’ve already started renovated the interior. They’ve redone the kitchen, removed walls, and installed new doors, flooring, and wood ceiling/wall panelling. Pretty much everything has been renovated with reclaimed wood and recycled items.
“We love old houses. I love anything I can fix,” said Erin, who owns Cheeky Cow Rustics where she makes furniture.
It’s a “work in progress,” Jamie added.
They moved to Chilliwack from Cloverdale and live in the old house with their seven-year-old son, Greyson, and four-year-old daughter Charlotte. Erin’s other two children, Peyton and Marcus, live there part of the time, too. The O’Neill family extends to their pets as well, including a dog, a cat, two pigs (Hot Dog and Baloney) and a gaggle of ducks and chickens.
According to Jamie’s research, over the house’s 100-plus years various families have lived there including a man who brought roses and fruit trees over from the UK, and a widowed nurse and her five children in the ’30s.
For the past month, the O’Neills have been searching for a new location to move the house. They’re hoping someone in Chilliwack has a piece of land for them to lease or rent-to-own that’s at least one acre or bigger.
“We like doing trade services,” Jamie said, adding they’ve traded Erin’s rustic hand-built furniture and wood cutting boards for other goods and services.
They’re also willing to trade labour.
“If somebody has a farm they want worked and if we could move our house there and run the farm for them, I’m all over that,” he said.
The GoFundMe goal is set at $100,000 to cover the cost of not only moving the 2,000 square-foot, 1.5-storey house, but also to pour a new foundation.
They have less than a year to raise the money and are hoping locals will now help them out so that a small piece of Chilliwack history can live on in a new place.
“It’s cool, it’s neat, it’s magical,” Jamie said of the house. “And we love that it’s in Chilliwack, too.”
To help the O’Neills with their house-moving project, go to gofund.me/6db26b4c.
They’ll also be selling farm-fresh eggs to help raise money. In a few weeks, both chicken eggs ($5) and duck eggs ($6) will be available for purchase at 45837 Knight Rd.
For more, contact Jamie O’Neill at 604-500-3413 or email email@example.com.