Winter 2004 Colette Koop & The Old House Cafe 412 S Woodland Boulevard, DeLand
"I feel like I'm home," were the first words spoken by JuanitaKoop when she stepped across the threshold of her "new" ram shackled home at 412 S Woodland Boulevard in DeLand. Her husband, Howard, played a joke on her in 1971, he thought. Juanita had been dreaming about buying a place to restore. She was tired of living in crowded Fort Lauderdale, always complaining, "It's no place to raise children." So one day Howard was driving through DeLand, right down the Boulevard, and stumbled across a derelict two story house. When he got home he told Juanita to pack up the kids, he had something to show her up north. He figured that seeing that building in such decay would surely change her mind. But the joke was on Howard.
Thirty-four years later Juanita and Howard's children are still "at home" but the house has changed substantially from the days when Juanita restored it and Howard built the bubbling fountain still in use and flag stoned a quiet sitting area out back. When Juanita passed away in 1995, the old homestead was given to their four children. Howard lived until 2004 and often visited the place. But it's Juanita's spirit that continues to reside in her dream house. And her beautiful portrait still hangs exactly where it was placed when she moved in so long ago.
Today Juanita's house is one of DeLand's newest restoration achievements and eateries, "The Old House Café." The project of adaptive rehabilitation from home to restaurant was a family affair. Sisters Colette and SandraKoop, KathySwann, brother Roger, Kathy's husband, Gary, and Colette's son, Jay, all joined in to create something special out of their home. Sandy painted the mural on the sun porch. Roger and Jay labored with nails, saws, and paint. Gary did the landscaping. Colette's only job for two years was working on the house. Walls were laid bare and woodwork stripped. Plumbing and rewiring took months. But finally the house was ready.
After two years of hard work and lots of affection, when you walk through the front door you will feel just like Juanita did. The fireplace is nestled in the corner, the hardwood floors shine, and the oversized windows let the sun beam in. The walls and shelves are decorated with kitchen antiques ready for purchase.
But more importantly, when you walk through Juanita's front door your senses will become enflamed with the aroma of sautéed steak and mushrooms or honey glazed ham or grilled marinated chicken with artichoke. Your mouth will water and you'll feel faint, seeking a table to sit and wait, not so patiently, for a delicious mound of crab stuffed Portobello or smoked fish spread; anything to satisfy the agony of hunger.
The project is still a family affair. Colette and Kathy own The Old House Café. All four siblings own the property. Jay runs the kitchen and Colette is hostess, also making the two soup specials of the day. West Volusia Properties appreciates the labor of love that went in to making this restored beauty on the Boulevard shine even brighter. WVP's quarterly "Restoration Award" is well earned by the Koop Family. The award is accompanied by a gift certificate to Feasel's Paint and Glass, a copy of the book Images of America: DeLand, and a framed photograph of the property.
Dining hours are Monday through Friday from 11 - 3 and Thursday and Friday from . And private parties can be accommodated after hours. Just give a call if you want to make reservations:386.734.7592.
Says Colette of her old home turned café, "Mother loved this place. You can feel her when you come in."