Carla and Gladys Spizzirri are not only sisters but also business partners and real estate agents. There was one house that they had their eyes on. They waited patiently before they finally had the chance to see 148 Jane Street. However, let us just say that the house was nothing like they have ever seen before. What they found inside was completely shocking. It is not a reach to call it the surprise of a lifetime!
A Regular Home
If you look at the house on 148 Jane Street from the outside, you will assume that it is not any different from the others in Toronto. It was a simple and plain street that did not boast anything worth noting. The area was not the best either. There were regular structures around the house, so it is not hard to assume that the same could be said for its interiors.
Looking To Sell
The truth is that not a lot of people have visited the house. Some people only knew that the same residents lived there for as long as memory would permit. However, there was more to the house than most people thought. You see, our story starts when the real estate agency got a call from the owner of the house. Before they could put it on the market, Gladys and Carla had to see the place for themselves.
Just A Regular Day
It began as a pretty uneventful day for the pair of sisters. Everyone at the real estate office had been going about as usual, so there was no reason for them to think that it was going to be a big day. The day consisted of answering phone calls, touring houses, and convincing clients to make a commitment. The Spizzirri sisters were the owners of the agency. Even though they did not work together from the very beginning, they decided to team up after realizing that they worked well together. After all, what else are you supposed to do after discovering a good thing? One of the sisters would find listings that they could sell, and the other one would speak to potential clients. They made an effective team together!
They have a lot of experience in this field, so it is safe to say that they were familiar with the way the business worked. The two of them were talented at it and enjoyed the job. The real estate industry does not come with a lot of excitement, but there are times when they are taken by complete surprise!
The Phone Rings
Even professional real estate agents get surprised every now and then. They might not have known it back then, but they would get the shock of a lifetime. This was going to change things for them, but nothing gave it away. To be fair, we never really know what the future has in store for us. Before it happened, it felt like everything came to a halt in the office. And at long last, the phone started to ring.
A Call From A Stranger
At the office of the real estate agency, the phone is always ringing. They picked up the call as they normally did. However, the person on the other end of the line made them reconsider this. It was an older woman called Joyce, and she was thinking of selling her house but remained hesitant to do so.
Joyce sounded like she was hesitant as she talked about her plan to sell the house. The sisters knew that she was not fully happy with the idea of it. However, they could also tell that she was a persistent lady. It meant that she was probably going to sell the house in the end. However, something she told the realtors made them reconsider things. You see, this piece of information changed everything for them!
A Different Kind Of Emotion
Many people who are interested in selling their homes are happy to do so. They believe that it is a step in the right direction, after all. For a lot of folks out there, this would be the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. Joyce, however, did not sound happy or excited at the prospect of losing her house.
Realtors typically develop a sixth sense of sorts when they talk to clients. The two sisters knew that there was something that Joyce was hiding. Maybe it was a thing that would make her house harder to sell. As a matter of fact, this is not all that uncommon in the industry. People tend to hide things about the house that they feel would affect the process of selling it.
The truth was that the secret was not anything like typical homeowner issues. She was not lying about black mold, a broken water heater, or something along those lines. It was even bigger than those! Are you ready to find out what was inside the house? Carla and Gladys decided to find out for themselves.
No Way To Prepare
The sisters had confidence in their skills as real estate agents. They have always done a good job when it comes to this industry. New opportunities are exciting for them. Even though they had a lot of experience to their names, nothing could have prepared them for this!
They spent a long time in the business and assumed that they have already seen whatever there was to see. The sisters already went through certain things that would make a regular person give up. This made them equipped to handle just about anything. Well, this was what they thought before they paid the house a visit. They tried to imagine what they were going to see when they finally visited the house. Even though they came up with crazy ideas, they did not get anywhere near the mark. Before we delve deeper into that, let us talk about what it was like for the sisters when they got to 148 Jane Street.
Gladys and Carla had been working in the industry for the past 3 years already, so they knew Toronto from the inside and out. The sisters made a name for themselves by buying and selling houses in the more popular parts of the city. Not only were they experts, but they also had the background to back this up. Sometimes, they would get lucky and land a property that did not need a lot of work. Those places pretty much sold itself! The sisters knew that it is possible that this was the case, but they did not want to keep their hopes up. While Joyce sounded hesitant to sell her house, the only way for them to figure out why would be to check out the house for themselves.
After Joyce got in touch with them, she gave them a shocking bit of information. Yes, it was something that would have an effect on the sale of the property. What the older woman told the realtors indicated that they were going to be surprised as soon as they went through the front door.
A Living Legend
Joyce was an elderly woman. As a matter of fact, she was already 96 years old when she got in touch with the real estate agents! However, Joyce still sounded lucid and had great hearing when the sisters talked to her. Carla found that impressive because her grandma had poor hearing, which meant that she had to speak loudly. It was incredible for someone her age to be that healthy, but the biggest surprise was still awaiting them. Can you guess what it was?
When Carla and Gladys paid her home a visit, they did not know that the regular-looking house was hiding something like that. After all, it looked just like all the other houses on that block. This was the reason the two sisters were both so shocked when they made the discovery of a lifetime.
A Looming Disaster
Joyce involved the realtors that she had been in that home for seventy years already! Wow. In those seven decades, she did not touch the house except for the kitchen. It underwent an upgrade and a remodeling at one point. After they heard this piece of information, Carla and Gladys dreaded the visit. They felt certain that it was going to be a disaster since it must have meant that it was in terrible shape!
Gladys and Carla finally drove to 148 Jane Street. The two of them were skeptical about what they were going to find. After all, there did not seem to be any way that a person that age would be able to maintain a house properly on her own. They lowered their expectations to avoid getting disappointed.
As the day of the visit approached, the sisters started to get even more concerned. First of all, it might take them a lot of time and effort to fix it up if their suspicions were correct. When you work in the real estate industry, there is nothing worse than working on the home of a hoarder. There was a good chance that the house was full of junk and debris that Joyce collected in the past 70 years or so.
Not All Bad
However, they did have some hope for the house thanks to where it was located. Regardless of what was waiting for them on the inside, this alone makes up for it. That area was seeing increasing housing prices for some time already, so they could probably get a good price for the property. When you are selling real estate, one of the biggest factors would be its location. After they got off the phone with Joyce, they began to do crunch some numbers to estimate how much the property could fetch. They arrived at a figure that was even higher than what they initially had in mind! It was going to be good for their company, of course. Finally, there was nothing for them to do but to inspect the house and check it out. Gladys and Carla wondered what they would need to do in order to put it on the housing market.
So Far So Good
The house is found in a Toronto neighborhood called Old Mill. For many residents of the city, this was a great location. In the past, the real estate agents were able to sell houses there for a lot of money. However, it was not possible for them to figure out how much it was worth without actually seeing the property. At any rate, they arrived at an impressive $968,000 when all was said and done.
Still So Hesitant
Despite this, it was still hard to figure out for sure if this was right since they still had to check out the interiors. It might go down after they consider how much money it would cost to bring it to an acceptable standard of living. Aside from that, they still had to convince Joyce to actually sell it!
Making Up Her Mind
When Joyce first got in touch with them, she sounded uncertain about selling the house. Of course, this was another concern for Gladys and Carla. They were relieved to hear that Joyce was finally at peace with her decision to sell the house after living there for 72 years. We are sure that this was not an easy decision for her to make. After all, she made a lot of incredible memories under that roof.
The real estate agents had some doubts after hearing her talk about the house. Was she genuinely upset that she had to give up her home after such a long time? Maybe she sounded upset because she was hiding something from them. It was only natural for a homeowner to feel sad about leaving their home. However, the realtors are going to have a hard time if it was the other one…
There was nothing for Carla and Gladys to do but to visit 148 Jane Street. They planned to make an inspection of the house. They were aware that it might require certain repairs before they could put it on the market for potential buyers to see. A lot depended on the maintenance of the house in the past.
Carla and Gladys set up an appointment to visit the house and see it for themselves. This way, they would be able to figure out what they needed to fix. They had a lot of theories in mind, but it did not ready them for the truth about the house. After seeing what Joyce was hiding, they were floored!
Before it was time for them to drop by, Carla and Gladys could only come up with an estimate based on the exterior and the address of the house. Those two factors are not reliable on their own. Aside from that, they also considered that it did not look any different from the other properties on the block.
A Decision At Last
At last, Joyce was able to reach a decision. She wanted to sell the house, which meant that the realtors now had to check it out. Finally, it was time for them to conduct the inspection. They reached the address and got greeted by the elderly homeowner at the front door. Things started to get interesting when Gladys and Carla finally came inside. What was waiting for them all this time?
Absolutely nothing on the planet could have prepared the sisters for what they found inside the home. After they went through the door, they immediately halted in their tracks. The real estate agents were totally amazed by the interior of the house! It turned out that Joyce was not a hoarder at all.
The truth is that this elderly woman was a traditional person who looked after her house as best as she could. On the inside, her house was nothing short of stunning. The sisters were shocked to see that the house was in great condition. It was practically perfect from the décor to the furniture. Not only that, but it was also sparkling clean. However, the house still boasted other secrets apart from those things.
Gladys and Carla were both shocked and impressed after seeing the interior of this house. They both felt like they hit the jackpot. This was not what they expected at all, but it was even better than they hoped for. They at least knew that the house could go for a higher price since it was in excellent condition.
The Designer Herself
The story does not end with that. The house was essentially a huge time capsule. After walking through the front door, you will feel like you have been transported back to the ‘40s. After all, it was during that decade that Joyce moved into the house and decorated it. Can you believe that she picked out the curtains, wallpapers, flooring, and furniture on her own?
The ladies started their tour of the home and were delighted to find that each room was cleaner and nicer than the one that came before it. No doubt, this was the cleanest and best-maintained house they have ever seen in their career. This was not a regular house but a homage to the past! It was clear that Joyce put in a lot of effort to look after this gorgeous house. Now they understood why she was so hesitant in the beginning. While the house looked amazing, this did not mean that it was free from problems. There was one thing that they saw that could be a problem when it is time to sell the house.
The sisters felt a little worried because the house was decorated in a very feminine way. It was truly gorgeous and impressive, but it would not have the same appeal to male buyers. After all, how many men do you know that like pink and florals? This color scheme might come up as an issue, especially if the potential buyer is not interested in going through a lot of effort to redo the décor. It will take a lot of effort, money, and time to change the way a house looks. On top of that, this was money that could go to the commission that they could charge instead. The golds, pinks, and purples of the house might be a deal-breaker for their male clientele, might there are probably women who would not appreciate it too.
There was one room that did not look like the rest of the house, however. The basement had a room that boasted a wet bar and wood paneling. This was clearly a man cave! This room already looked gorgeous, so one only needs to tweak it a little to make it perfect. It was clear that this was a room for a man. We bet that this was the private retreat of Joyce’s husband. This must have been the ideal place to get some alone time or hang out with his friends. The house is nice, but it must be nice to get away from all the florals and pastels in the rest of the house.
Apart From That
The house was truly gorgeous, but the backyard did not get the same amount of attention from Joyce. It was clear that this area of the property suffered some neglect. While there was AstroTurf on the floor, that seemed to be the only effort made over there. Even though it was a pretty lackluster backyard, the rest of the home made up for it. Carla and Gladys knew that it would get a good price on the market. The next step would be to invite inspectors over so that they can check if it had any hidden flaws.
It is possible for a house to look that good but still have serious issues that are hidden from the naked eye. Maybe the foundation was all messed up after all those years. It was possible for there to be mold in the walls. These things would lead to a big price drop, but Gladys and Carla felt confident that there was not a lot to worry about. Despite this, there was still a chance that they were wrong about that. After all, it was not rare to find houses with unresolved issues. They did not expect what the inspectors had to say.
Beneath It All
As soon as the home inspectors got to the house, they went to work. They checked every single part of the house for hidden errors. After going through every nook and cranny, they had big news for all the parties involved. It took quite some time before they could finish the inspection because there were lots of places for them to check. What did they have to tell Joyce and the realtors? Apparently, the house was in mint condition! In fact, it might be in even better shape than the day that Joyce bought in during the ‘40s. She and her husband took very good care of this house, which was why they did not have to do anything else before they could put it up for sale. The sisters just had to go back to the office to do so!
It Is On
After Gladys and Carla made their way to the office, they immediately put the 148 Jane Street house on the market. They gave it a price tag of $699k. While this was on the high end of the market, something thrilling took place. A bidding war started after people noticed how gorgeous the place was. Potential buyers were impressed by the interiors and wanted to buy the place. The bidding kept going for a little while. This was a great choice for people already interested in the Old Mill neighborhood. However, even those that were not really thinking of it paid attention to the bidding war. The home was so lovely that it was starting to make people think of purchasing it even though they did not need a house.
Blast To The Past
Honestly, we are not surprised at all to hear that this amazing house went viral on the internet. The house even got a feature on the news. People were fascinated by the story behind it. Many were shocked to hear that a 96-year-old lady could look after such a place without any help. The popularity just made the price go up even more. People who were tuning in to the story must have thought that it was more like a museum than a proper house. The house would not look out of place in the ‘40s at all! This is all thanks to the decision Joyce made not to change anything and keep whatever she could intact.
Even though the place did not change much over the years, Joyce said that one room in the house got renovated in the past. She got it modernized during the ‘60s for the sake of convenience more than anything else. The original design was not all that practical, after all. Joyce made this decision because she wanted to cook in a more efficient manner. Even though the most recent update happened in the ’60s, the appliances were all working and in good condition. After hearing how well she took care of the house, this does not come as a shock. The sisters agreed that it made sense. It was truly a time capsule!
Where She Went
We can see why Joyce considers herself an interior designer after all the effort she put into this lovely home of hers. She said as much when she spoke to the Daily Mail. She was very good at it, but it was time for her to say goodbye to this incredible masterpiece that she created. So, what was next for her? The media found out that she was selling it so that she can get money to pay the fees at a retirement home. She hoped the enjoy this time of her life without looking after the house. She used to work as a seamstress. Joyce told HGTV, “I’ve always tried to be individual, and follow my own styles.”
A History Lesson
In 1942, Joyce bought the house on 148 Jane Street with her husband. Back then, World War Two was still ongoing. People were focused on the destruction that was taking place all over the globe. The couple moved into the two-level brick house and made it their own. Many people were curious if the new owners were planning to keep the interior design or give it a makeover. Honestly, it would be a shame if they decided to get rid of everything after all the time Joyce spent on it. We still do not know what happened to the house. However, we assume that it is no longer on the market because the listing is not there anywhere. The buyer, of course, is free to do whatever they want with it.
Not The Furniture
However, there was one important thing that all potential buyers should have known. The person to win the auction would not get the furniture as well. Clearly, the pieces of furniture had a big role in the feel and design of the house, so we just hope that they read the fine print. Apparently, Joyce’s daughter hoped to keep the furniture as her inheritance. She grew up with them, so we daresay that no one else deserved them more than she did! Despite this catch, the house is still worth buying.
After Seven Decades
At the age of 24, Joyce moved into 148 Jane Street. After more than seven decades of living in the same place, it was time for her to live elsewhere. We are truly impressed that she managed to maintain the house on her own. This brick house might not look all that special from the outside, but she managed to turn it into a great thing with her interior design and decoration skills. While Joyce spent a lot of time in the master bedroom, it still seems immaculate. Somehow, it feels like no one has lived there before!
According to Joyce, her preference when it comes to design would be tone on tone. She is also fond of matching designs and soft colors. It was clear that she was a fan of pastel blue, purple, pink, and aqua. Even though it is hard to use these colors, they suited the house perfectly. Her masterful skills made the place inviting and comfortable too. She placed a lot of attention to the tiniest details from the toilet seat covers to the photo frames. We would not believe that it was an old house if we didn’t know it already!
The Intricate Details
The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms that came with wallpapers and wall to wall carpeting popular during the post-war period. There were also gold touches, metallic wallpaper, floral sweeps, and baroque patterns. It is amazing that she made them work together! There are fireplaces installed to combat the winters in Toronto. The hardware and cupboards were also customized to tie everything together. If you ask us, this was practically a museum already! Joyce placed so much thought into it.
The Best Part
While the main floors in the house are lovely, we are sure that some people would prefer the basement. There is a laundry room over there that has wooden cabinets that go well with the laundry machines. They probably come from a different period, but Joyce was still able to make everything look good.
Follow In Her Footsteps
Not only did Joyce enjoy decorating and looking after the house, but she managed to maintain it to a very high standard. This is not something that most people can achieve. Let us now hear the story of John Sims who bought a new Arizona home. It was not the best kept house, but it also had a secret…
John purchased a new house in Tucson, Arizona. The previous owner of this property was his friend, so he did not feel worried about anything. When his pal gave him the keys to the house, he told John something strange. According to the old owner, there was an unresolved mystery on the property.
So I’ve Heard
According to his friend, it had something to do with the backyard. There seemed to be a rumor that there was something buried down there. Sims was now the owner of the house, so he was free to do whatever he pleased on the property. He moved in but could not stop thinking about the mystery.
We can totally see why he was curious about what was in his backyard. Let us be honest here, who wouldn’t be? As soon as his friend let him on the rumor, John was intrigued. He was only half-joking when he asked his pal for a shovel. While they simply laughed it off, Sims was actually thinking about it.
A New Project
He was determined to find out what was in his backyard. John started to draw up a plan even though he did not know what he will find. Maybe there was nothing there at all! It might mean making a mess of the yard, but he knew that this was going to be a small setback. He planned to get to the bottom of this.
John started to work on his backyard, but things did not smoothly. The Arizona heat had been in full force, and the temperature even went up to three digits! Yikes. This made things challenging, but John just kept going and hoped to find something there. He did not find anything but kept going anyway.
John tried to dig four different holes but came up emptyhanded. There was a chance that whatever was hidden there was already destroyed or had collapsed. At that point, John was disappointed but refused to give up. It was time to use a different tactic. At last, he thought of something that will make it easier.
John was able to find something that would help him with his search. He went through the municipal records of that part of town! At last, he managed to find something that served as a clue. Apart from the record that mentioned the construction of the house, he also saw that Whitaker Pools constructed something there. This happened in 1961. However, no swimming pool would be built below the ground!
Taking It To Another Level
He knew that he had to change his ways. He had been working based on nothing more than a hunch. The documents meant that he could be more methodical about it. This was why he hired consultants with metal detectors! The team got to his property and searched the backyard. At last, one of them found something.
X Marks The Spot
John was thrilled to hear the metal detectors go off twice! He left X spots on those areas. This time, he had a lead. Thanks to the consultants, he could now be more efficient with his search. He soon started to dig up those spots. After a little while, the shovel finally hit something. What was it?
The shovel made contact with a metallic object. John was thrilled but paused. It was possible that it was a septic tank, so he dug around it. He had to work cautiously now that he was able to discover something. After all, he did not want to damage it! Luckily, it was not what he had in mind.
It looked like he stumbled into an entrance of some sort. It looked like a hatch! John cleaned the area and pulled open the lid. He tried to hold his breath as well since there might be mold or even toxic gas fumes down there. He looked inside and felt amazed by the sight that greeted him.
The lid was located around three feet underneath the ground. He saw something that seemed like blades! A closer inspection made him realize that it was a spiral staircase. It would have been easy for him to go down right away, but John managed to hold his excitement in for a good reason.
Despite proceeding carefully, he knew that it would not be a good idea to do so without preparation. You see, John is a fire department captain! He understands the dangers of simply climbing down into an unknown space below the ground. The structure might not even be stable. He needed to plan it out.
John required help if he planned to pull this off. This was the reason he called his friends. It was important to have a backup in case something went wrong. He had experience rescuing others, so he knew that this was a must. After all, it would be tragic if the old lid collapsed on him while he was alone.
The Master Plan
John could not wait to explore this underground area. However, he wanted to do so safely. After all, he did not know what might be hiding down there. He and his friends drew up a plan. They even made a blueprint and a method about how to go about this. What were they about to find down there?
The first thing they had to do was to fix and reinforce the concrete structure that supported the stairs. They seemed rusty, so they were not safe to use. Even though they felt tempted to simply go down and explore, John was aware that this would be a terrible idea.
John and his friends worked hard to put down several concrete layers in order to keep the rebar sturdy. They had to ensure that this would not crumble down when they use the stairs. They stabilized it all with the help of new concrete batches. Even so, things did not really go as planned because of the elements.
The team could not work as quickly as they wanted thanks to the heat of the Arizona sun. Even worse, they worried that the heat might affect something inside the hatch. It was a great idea to set up a tent over the site. They also added a Sonotube cardboard structure around the entrance to avoid damaging anything. When they were done adding the cement, they seemed ready to finally go down.
They needed a source of light when they go down the hatch. This was why John and the team added an electrical line on the site. On top of that, they installed a black pipe for fresh air. They were getting close to the end of the reinforcement. After fifty years, this underground cavern mystery was getting solved!
Ready To Go
After they finished reinforcing the entrance, they could finally go in. At last, they agreed that things were secured enough for them to go down. This was the moment that they have all been waiting for. Of course, no one was more excited than John was!
The structure might have been reinforced, but the stairs were still covered with rust. Sims knew that it might not hold their weight. The team decided to just find a different way to get down there. By that point, absolutely nothing was going to get in their way!
Another Way In
How could John get into the cavern without using the stairs? The entrance seemed too deep and narrow to just jump in. This was why they added a ladder instead. After hearing about the rumor, John was thrilled to solve the mystery. He was excited as he finally descended! What could possibly be in there?
John The Explorer
As John went deeper into the cavern, he knew that no one else had been in there for decades. He saw a complex underground tunnel! It was not filled with dirt either. In fact, it was totally empty. He made his way across and entered an arched doorway. What he saw next rendered him speechless.
A Bit Of The Past
The ceiling of the chamber was covered in fiberglass that was falling apart. He knew that the structure was not yet fully safe. The team had to work on it to make it secure. The fiberglass might hurt their skin and impact their breathing, after all. John was determined to find out more about it.
The structure did not look like it had ever been in use. There was wear and tear, which is not strange for a place that old. Even though it was empty, the team was able to figure out what it was. Even though it was made by Whitaker Pools, it was definitely not a swimming pool!
A Historical Find
It was actually a nuclear fallout shelter built during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Back then, people felt paranoid and had bomb shelters built. Whitaker Pools started to offer such a service in those days. People preferred bomb shelters to swimming pools in those days.
Tucson actually had a lot of bomb shelters like that. At the time, it was not considered an overreaction to have one in your backyard. In fact, you will be applauded for it! Many will think that you are looking out for your loved ones. You must understand that the threat of a nuclear war used to be very real.
Tucson used to be home to 18 ballistic missiles that can cross continents. They were each 10 feet wide and 110 feet long. They can destroy 900 square miles and could be launched in below one minute. The missiles all came with a 9-megaton nuclear warhead. Tucson was full of shelters and weapons.
It is a good thing that we no longer have to worry about this now. The rockets eventually got disabled. The Tucson area nuclear shelters got destroyed or sealed in the ‘80s when tensions died down. This shelter was created in 1961, which means that it was around the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
John shared his discovery with Reddit, and it soon went viral. He felt proud off this discovery and knew that there were people with similar experiences. The post helped him connect with other people in the area with a similar bomb shelter. John’s pals wanted to use the shelter as a cigar bar or wine cellar. However, he had something else in mind for it.
John wanted to turn it into a museum, but he needed help. He made a GoFundMe page and wrote, “Hi, I’m John and I need some help restoring a vintage Fallout Shelter that I have uncovered in my backyard.” Even though it was in good condition, he wanted to rebuild the upper entryway to secure it further. He also planned to replace the stairs.
Civil Defense Museum
He was not simply going to let this discovery and opportunity pass him by. After learning that it was a bomb shelter, he turned it into a man cave, museum, and HAM shack. He researched about the Cold War as well. John believes that he could pay tribute to those days by restoring this shelter. He looked for Cold War memorabilia that he can put on display. He has Geiger counters, water supply barrels, HAM radios, and sanitation kits over there!
The story ended up getting shared by 430 people. John was able to start raising money for the shelter renovation as well. The goal was $2,000. At this point, he already reached $350! Clearly, there are people out there who believe in his project. He has already finished the staircase replacement, so it is now easy to head in and out of the shelter. He also shared the progress with the donors.
It took John some time to rebuild the staircase, but he was determined to make it as sturdy as he could. The top step was 2.5 times wider than the others, and he secured it to the concrete wall. After rebuilding the stairs, the restoration project went smoothly! We are impressed by his dedication!