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St. Johns historic Hicks Mansion has new owners, here's what they've been up to

Hicks Mansion in St. Johns, December 2022
Posted at 9:28 AM, Jan 02, 2023

ST. JOHNS, Mich. — It's a walk down memory lane in more ways than one. Last summer, thehistoric Hicks Mansion in St. Johns was put on the market again after eight years but sold quickly.

When Trevor and Claire Breen from Grand Rapids first toured the home back in July, they said they put in an offer instantly. They moved in Aug. 11 but that almost wasn't the case.

"We actually lost out on the house at first," Claire said. "During that period of time, I literally cried for almost two weeks straight every day."

Now they, along with their six dogs, call the 5,400-square-foot mansion home. But, they might not be alone.

"I work from home and during the day I'll hear furniture moving, or what sounds like someone closing or opening drawers," Claire said. "It's usually between 10 a.m. and noon."

Because the house is almost 150 years old, built in 1873, the Breens have already had their fair share of projects.

"When we first saw the house, there was a tree literally growing into the carriage house," Claire said. "I think we've done more projects on this house in the last four months than we did on our last house in five years."

Restoring an historic home, however, comes with the added responsibility of not eliminating its history or charm in the process.

"It's just so incredibly important, especially in a house like this, that it feels like it belongs to the space—like it doesn't feel out of place, it doesn't feel too modernized," Claire said.

There's been a lot of painting, re-flooring, re-fencing, re-roofing and more, but the Breens said it's all been worth it.

"It's been life-changing," Trevor said. "It's so good."

Their work, however, isn't done.

"I've been putting together a lot of historical resources about the house to submit to the State Historic Preservation Office, working on getting it in the state and national register of historic places," Claire said.

Then come spring, they'll start renovations on the outside of the mansion.

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