To say this home in Louisiana is safe is an understatement.
“The walls are 18 to 24 inches of brick built in the 1920s. It’s just as solid as an absolute rock, so nothing’s going to happen to the building. It’s just not possible. It’s all metal and cement. Just solid,” says Charles Reed, a family doctor and owner of the home.
Reed bought the former Winnsboro State Bank branch in 2012, and turned it into a five-bedroom home with 7,500 square feet of living space.
“I just thought it was an awesome place,” Reed says, adding that he wanted a place that was safe from storms and other perils, either natural or manmade.
The first phase of renovations included new wiring, refinishing the walls, overhauling the plumbing, and laying out a floor plan for one-third of the interior space.
The second phase involved transforming the enormous bank vaults into livable space.
“We added a few bedrooms and two baths that didn’t exist,” Reed explains.
The two vault doors are true highlights of the house. One is in the master bedroom and leads to a closet.
“The oldest vault door is very shiny, and it’s very ornate,” Reed explains. “It’s the old style, with steel crisscrossing it. It’s multilayers of steel and rebar, and the walls are 2 feet thick.”
It was built in the 1920s and is still operational—yet extremely heavy.
“Anyone can push it, you just can’t push it fast,” he says.
The other vault door protects a computer room and was built in the 1960s.
“It’s one of those vaults where it seals to the point where water will not leak out of it. It’s the absolute perfect fit. They don’t make vault doors like that nowadays,” Reed says. “Nowadays, there’s always some slack in them. They don’t machine it to perfection anymore.”
The bank’s former drive-through window is still operational, but now sits behind cabinetry.
The former bank has been divided two complete units, each with a kitchen and a separate entrance. One is fully handicapped-accessible with a larger bathroom and other accommodations.
But there’s still conversion work left to be done. The building’s second floor remains a blank slate.
“There’s a whole other section upstairs that is completely unfinished. It has its own access to the outside and could be converted into separate apartments for some residual income,” suggests the listing agent, Jay Shepherd.
The home is on the town’s main street with a post office next door. Several homes are nearby. Reed says Winnsboro is a great spot in northeast Louisiana, with a good mix of retirees and young professionals.
Reed’s children have lived in the finished product off and on, but he himself has never lived in the home he created.
“I would move into it tomorrow if my wife would agree, but it’s not going to happen,” he says. “I have spent one night in it just to say I did it.”
Reed says the former bank is perfect for a buyer who may be away for a while and wants to know their property is safe.
“I think the lock-and-leave type person,” he says. “If you’re the type of person who is going to be home for a month and then travel for a month, it’s so secure, no one can break in.”
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