Stepping inside the home of A.J. Evans, great grandfather of Brenda Grant, is like stepping back one hundred years. The century old home has been meticulously restored to its original historic charm and grace. The leaded glass windows, shiny gumwood floors, and crystal chandeliers create a magical scene especially during the holidays. A tall ornate Christmas tree adorns the sitting room and the multi-colored lights shine like a prism through the picture window.
Grant began the process of restoring the home several years ago, she laughed, “I was a full-time stripper for two years!” The walls were covered with seven layers of wallpaper and I don’t know how many different colors of paint.” The ceilings had all been lowered and original windows boarded up. The wood floors had been covered with carpets and “updating” the home over many decades had concealed the original beauty of the home.
A.J. Evans was the 13th mayor of Lehi and eventually went on to be elected to the Utah senate where he was elected president. An attorney by profession, he and his wife, Louisa Emmaline Zimmerman, had been childhood playmates. They eventually married and raised eleven children in this beautiful home designed and constructed for the Evans family. Grant has the original architectural drawings and specifications. “They are a special treasure.” she commented. Six generations of the Evans family have lived in the home.
Taking on the restoration project for Grant was a labor of love. She had grown up next to the Evans home. Her mother and father, Myrten
and Vervene Grant lovingly cared for Grant’s grandmother, Winifred Sorenson. Upon the death of her grandmother, Grant moved into the home and yearned for the time when she could carefully restore the home. Grant was a beloved teacher at Lehi Elementary School for 30 years.
Drawn to Victorian architecture and interiors, Grant enrolled in classes at Cambridge to learn more of that period’s culture and art. She came home from England armed with expertise and enthusiasm for the hard work of the restoration. The original wallpaper was uncovered and similar paper was imported from England. The lavish border in the living and dining room is all hand-painted in the United States. Much of the original wood has been refinished and glows with a rich patina. The crystal chandeliers were found and hung with pendants recreated by Tyler Yates, a friend and artist. Grant gives much of the credit for the artistic reproduction pieces to Yates. The fireplace tiles and mantle are all original and have been refinished and shined.
Grant recounts a story told by her grandmother. When the Evans children gathered at the top of the staircase on Christmas morning, the lighted tree surrounded by gifts from Santa could be seen below. It was a remarkable sight! It was pure magic!
Grant says there is still much to be done in the rest of the house. Still, the house, today, is treasure and an example of what can be done with love, hard work, and determination.