John Hans bought his dream house in 1996. The mortgage was higher than he ever dreamed he'd pay, but his sister Pokey Hans reminded him, "When else in your life will you be able to buy your dream home?"|
Hans drove by 1520 Hewes Ave. in Gulfport for 16 years before it was his. One day he noticed a man standing in the garage and boldly pulled in and asked if the man would show him the house because he was fascinated by the Frank Lloyd Wright-style structure.
The owner, attorney Tommy Thompson, obliged and Hans fell in love with the 1964 house. Several years later Thompson died and Hans inquired about the price. Way too high.
His sister called later to say she saw a "reduced" on the For Sale sign. It was still high, but Hans, who likes to restore vintage cars and has several rental properties, bit the bullet. No regrets have surfaced.
"I could lay in my bed in the morning and look out and see Cat Island and the Gulfport Ship Channel and know what kind of day it would be," said Hans. "There is no one on the Coast who loved their house more than I did."
His girlfriend Tammy Walker helped with the landscaping, including unusual tropical plants, and his grandchildren stayed in the pool "until they turned into raisins."
Katrina claimed the 1,800-square-foot house on Hewes, the first on the east side from the beach road. But Katrina did leave the slab - including the entryway tile - to rebuild on. Hans plans to do just that. When he began working with the original architectural firm of Philip Shaw, they asked what he'd like to change.
"I told them nothing. Absolutely nothing."
- KAT BERGERON