Sisters and realtor duo Gladys and Carla Spizzirri had been waiting for a long time to have a look inside a particular house. Finally, the time came when the property located on 148 Jane Street was about to be sold. Interested parties finally got the chance to check out the house and see what was hiding inside it all this time. What awaited them was absolutely shocking!
A Regular Home
From the outside, 148 Jane Street looked just like any other home in Toronto, Ontario. There were no notable landmarks and the street was simple and fairly plain. Also, the area had nothing particularly notable. The home was surrounded by regular-looking structures, so you would be led into thinking the interiors would be regular-looking as well.
Looking To Sell
Only a few people have gone inside the house, and the only thing that other people knew about the property was that the same people had lived there for a very long time. Many things about the house remained a mystery. Then, realtors Carla and Gladys received a call about a house which the owner was thinking of putting on the market. Needless to say, the duo had to see the property for themselves first.
Just A Regular Day
At work, the day started out fairly unexciting for the pair of sisters, and everyone at the office was busy with the usual stuff. Sisters Gladys and Carla Spizzirri owned the agency, but they didn’t always work together. Everything changed when they realized how good they were as a team – one would search for listings to sell and the other would speak to potential customers. Their tandem is effective and efficient, and when you have a great thing going for you, it is best to keep at it.
After gaining years of experience, Gladys and Carla know how the business works. They are great at their jobs and like what they do. Having been in real estate for quite some time, they do not usually get that many surprises, but there are still moments when they do. This was one example.
The Phone Rings
It seems that even professional realtors still get shocked! They had no clue at the time, but they were actually onto something big. Initially, they did not get that impression, but no one ever really knows what fate has prepared, right? The phone at the real estate office began to ring, and it was a call which changed their lives forever.
A Call From A Stranger
Since the phone always rings at the Spizzirris’ office, they took the call like they usually did. However, they reconsidered things because of the person on the other end – Joyce, an older woman thinking of selling her home. At the time, she was not sure about it, though.
Joyce seemed hesitant when she was explaining her plans to put her house on the market, and they could tell from the way she talked and her tone that she was not keen on the idea. However, they could see that she was a persistent person and would probably sell her house despite everything. Then, she revealed a secret to the sisters. The duo did not expect it at all and totally changed things for them.
A Different Kind Of Emotion
Many of the people who choose to sell their homes think that it is the right step for them. That is why many of them appear happy when they contact a real estate office. For these people, this is a new beginning. Joyce, however, did not seem happy nor excited at the idea of selling her home.
When talking to clients, realtors commonly have a sixth sense. Both of the sisters had a feeling that the person calling them had a secret. Maybe it was something which would make selling the place difficult. They knew from experience that unpleasant things in the past could negatively affect the process of selling a house.
It was not the typical homeowner problems that Joyce tried to hide. She did not try to lie about things like a malfunctioning water heater or black mold. No, the secret she had was bigger than that. However, Gladys and Carla stuck to their guns. They decided to take on the challenge.
No Way To Prepare
After all, the sisters are pretty confident they could list almost anything. They were great at their jobs and are perpetually in search for new opportunities. In spite of all the experience that they had, they were still not quite prepared for what was to come their way.
After being in the real estate industry for a long time, the sisters thought they had seen everything that there was to see. Some of the things that they had handled would make other people give up, so they thought they were capable of dealing with pretty much anything. Before they got to Joyce’s home, the sisters were already thinking about what they might find there. They came up with some pretty crazy ideas, but the reality was not anything that they had imagined at all.
Since the sisters had already been in real estate for three years, they knew Toronto quite well. They bought and sold properties in the well-known neighborhoods in the city. The duo occasionally lucked out and snagged a property which needed minimal work and basically sold itself without much help from them. They had not found out yet if this was the case with Joyce’s home, but they were not very hopeful.
Joyce did not seem too keen on selling her home, so the sisters had to go and inspect the property to find out why. When the older woman first contacted the real estate agents, Joyce told them something quite surprising. It was certainly going to affect the sale of the property. She hinted that the agents were going to see something surprising as soon as they went through the front door.
A Living Legend
At the time, Joyce was already 96 years old! Though her age surprised them, Joyce was lucid and had good hearing. For Carla Spizzirri, this was impressive seeing as she had to speak louder whenever she talks to her own grandmother. It was definitely amazing that Joyce was in such good shape in spite of her advanced years, but the actual surprise which was waiting for the sisters was much more incredible.
As the real estate duo made their way into the home, they did not know that something unbelievable was waiting for them inside. This is because from the outside, the house did not look different from the other houses on the block. The sisters, however, finally saw what Joyce was talking about once they got through the doors.
A Looming Disaster
Joyce told the duo that she had lived in the home for 70 years. In those seven decades, she had never had anything done to the house except the remodelling of the kitchen to upgrade the room. When they heard this, the sisters began to dread going to the property to inspect it. If it was neglected, chances are it would be in bad shape!
When Gladys and Carla were on their way to the property on 148 Jane Street, they were a bit skeptical about the entire thing. They assumed that Joyce was not able to maintain the house in good condition since she did not get any help. They decided to be ready for the worst possible scenario.
The two real estate agents felt more and more worried as the inspection day got closer. Among other things, the sisters were worried about the time and effort it would take to get the house cleaned if their worst fears got confirmed. Among their worst nightmares was going to a hoarder’s home. Joyce could have filled the house with junk and debris she collected in seven decades.
Not All Bad
On the plus side, they thought they got really lucky with the location of the property. The housing prices in the area had already been climbing for quite some time, so they knew they would be able to set a good price for the house. After the call with Joyce ended, the sisters started to crunch some numbers to get an idea how much the property might be worth. They came up with a figure that was even higher than what they initially thought, which meant profit for the company, and they were pleased.
So Far So Good
Joyce’s house was in the Old Mill area of the city, a location that many Torontonians consider to be ideal. The real estate duo have sold other houses in the neighborhood which fetched them impressive prices. Nevertheless, they did not know at the time how much they could actually get for Joyce’s house. After the sisters did the calculations, they came up with an estimated value of the property – a whopping $968,000.
Still So Hesitant
However, the duo were still not sure of the figure since they have not checked the interiors of the house. They had to consider the cost of fixing it up and bringing it to acceptable standards for living in. There was also one more problem. It seemed Joyce was incredibly hesitant – would they be able to convince her to sell her home?
Making Up Her Mind
When she first got in touch with the sisters, Joyce did not seem sure about putting the house on the market. Understandably, this worried Gladys and Carla. The older woman said that in spite of living there for 72 years, she was really planning to sell it. It must have been difficult to leave a place full of amazing memories and after living in it almost all your life.
The way Joyce talked gave the duo pause. Was the older woman actually upset about leaving her home of 72 years, or was she not telling them something? Needless to say, it is natural to feel bad when you leave a home you are attached to, but if it turned out that Joyce was keeping something from them, the agency would certainly have a full plate…
Before the sisters made a decision, they thought of dropping by 148 Jane Street first to conduct an inspection. The duo knew the house would probably need some repairs before they could start offering it to potential buyers. However, they also knew it depended on the maintenance that had been done on the house all these years.
The real estate duo decided on a time and day to see the house for themselves. This would help them figure out what is needed to fix it up. They had no idea they were about to discover something completely unexpected there. Needless to say, the two were surprised when they saw the thing that Joyce had been hiding.
Before they came over, Carla and Gladys could only base on the home’s address and a photo of its exterior to come up with their estimate. By themselves, these were not reliable, of course. In addition, house looked very similar to the other houses on the street.
A Decision At Last
Joyce finally made a decision. She was selling the home, so the realtors just had to see the property for themselves. At last, the day finally came to conduct their inspection. The two showed up on 148 Jane Street and Joyce went to greet the ladies at the front door. When they finally stepped in and saw what was inside, the sisters were stunned.
The realtors did not know what they were going to see nor were they prepared for it. When they came inside, they just stared in amazement at the home’s interior. It was definitely not mundane and Joyce was obviously no hoarder.
In fact, Joyce was a traditional woman, taking care of her home. The house was absolutely stunning on the inside and they were surprised to see just how much care has gone into the maintenance of the home. It was essentially perfect, from its décor to the furniture to the knickknacks everywhere. The home was sparkling and impeccably clean, but that was not all.
Gladys and Carla were amazed to see the house’s incredible condition. They felt like they had won the lottery! The realtors did not expect this, but they now knew the house could fetch a higher price than what they had initially thought because it was in amazing condition.
The Designer Herself
There was more – the home was basically a large time capsule. Walking through its front door was like going back to the ‘40s. Joyce moved into her home around that time and started to decorate it. She was the one who chose the wallpaper, flooring, curtains, furniture, and more. How cool is that?
As the real estate duo looked around the house, they were excited to see that each and every room was really clean and attractive. It was the cleanest and best-maintained house that the two had ever come across in their career. Joyce put in a lot of effort in taking care of her beautiful home, but they understood why she hesitated. The house was in amazing condition on the inside, but there was something which could possibly break the deal.
The realtors were a bit worried as the home was decorated really femininely wherever you looked! Despite the fact that it was amazing and well kept, it would not appeal to male buyers as the décor would likely be too pink or floral for most men. A lot of money, time and effort would be needed to redecorate an entire house. The pinks, purples, and golds of the rooms would likely not attract most male clients and some women might not be keen on them too.
The basement was the most unique and was somewhat an acquired taste. It came with a wet bar and wood paneling, which made it perfect for a man cave. Clearly, a man spent a lot of time down there and it must have been Joyce’s husband’s private space. This room seems to have been a retreat from the florals and pastels found in the rest of the house.
Apart From That
The home was gorgeous, but the backyard was unfortunately not and clearly saw some neglect. Although the owners installed AstroTurf at some point, it was the only effort in landscaping that could be seen. In spite of the lackluster backyard, Gladys and Carla knew they this place could still fetch a great price. They just had to get some inspectors there to check for any hidden flaws and damages which needed fixing before the house could be sold.
A house may look pretty good but have severe problems that are hidden from our eyes. Maybe there was an issue with the foundation or there was mold in the walls. These kinds of things mean a big price drop, but Gladys and Clara were pretty confident this property was perfectly fine. In spite of how confident they were, something unexpected might still turn up. When inspectors came to do their work, everybody involved in the situation got a big surprise.
Beneath It All
The home inspectors got to work as soon as they arrived at the property. Since they searched and scoured all the nooks and crannies of the house, it took them a while to finish everything. Everyone was shocked to find out that the house was in perfect shape! Together with her husband, Joyce took great care of their home that nothing else had to be done before it could be put on the market. As a matter of fact, Carla and Gladys only needed to get back to their office and everything was good – this was the first time it has ever happened!
It Is On
Once Gladys and Carla were in their office, they put the house on the market for $699k. This was undoubtedly expensive, but something exciting happened. When people saw how beautiful Joyce’s home was, a bidding war erupted. For people looking to purchase a property in that neighborhood, this house was a good choice.
Blast To The Past
The amazing house with stunning interiors soon became viral and even got featured on the news! Needless to say, as the popularity of the house grew, so did the price skyrocket. For those who were following the story, the house must have been more like a museum. Stepping inside the house is like going back to the ‘40s. Joyce chose not to change anything that she could afford to keep intact – which is basically everything!
The place remained mostly the same, but Joyce confessed that one part of her home underwent renovation. In the ‘60s, she had modern conveniences added to her kitchen since she wanted to be able to cook more efficiently. Even though the update happened in the ‘60s, the appliances inside her home were in good working order. This should not come as a surprise considering how much care has gone into her home. It was truly a perfect example of a time capsule home.
Where She Went
Joyce told the Daily Mail that she thought of herself as some kind of an interior designer. However, the time has come for her to say goodbye to the masterpiece she took decades to create. Joyce actually put her house on the market because she wanted to live in a retirement home where she can enjoy her twilight years. In the past, she used to be a seamstress and never had professional training in interior design. Joyce told HGTV, “I’ve always tried to be individual, and follow my own styles.”
A History Lesson
Joyce and her husband moved onto 148 Jane Street back in 1942, when the Second World War was still ongoing. Many people wanted to know if the new owners of the house planned to do a huge makeover or stick to the interior. To this day, we do not know what the new owners did with home but since it is not an actual museum or a heritage site, the buyers can do whatever they want with the place. We just hope that they do what is right.
Not The Furniture
There was actually a catch in buying the property – the furniture was not included in the price! Since the furniture pieces definitely played a big part in the feel and design of the place, we hope whoever bought the house read the fine print in order to avoid disappointment. Actually, Joyce’s daughter got the furniture as part of her inheritance. Even without the furniture, we are pretty sure the house is still worth it.
After Seven Decades
Joyce moved into the house at the age of 24 years and she lived there for over 70 years before she decided to look for something else. She never neglected the house and even if she spent most of her time in the master bedroom in her later years, the room still looks immaculate. It seems as if the chairs have never been sat on and the bed looks totally brand new. It is hard to believe that they came from the ‘40s.
Joyce told the media that her personal style when it comes to design is tone on tone pieces. Matching designs and soft colors are also what she likes. Thanks to her mastery, her home was both inviting and comfortable. She paid great attention to detail, and after seven decades, the home did not look old and was not in need of repair.
The Intricate Details
The three-bedroom house has two bathrooms, wall to wall carpeting, plus wallpapers reminiscent of the post-war era. Some other details are baroque pattern, gold touches, floral sweeps, and metallic wallpaper. The house also comes with fireplaces, essential for battling the Toronto cold. Every single room in the house was carefully planned and decorated with consideration, and the hardware and cupboards were tailor-made and customized. The color choices was masterful as well, and each room had a color scheme which was chosen after much thought.
The Best Part
The home’s main floors are gorgeous, but the basement might just be our favorite. The laundry room has wooden cabinets which look amazing with laundry machines.
Follow In Her Footsteps
Joyce had a blast decorating and taking care of the home, maintaining it to a standard which not many people can achieve. In John Sims’ case, the home he bought in Arizona was not meticulously kept by the previous owners. The home was much stranger and rather spooky…
John bought a new home in Tucson, Arizona. The previous owner was his friend, so John was not at all worried about the house. However, when he got the keys from his friend, he also received an odd message. His friend told John that there was some kind of mystery about the property which no one has been able to figure out. John did not know that getting this bit of information was just the first in an incredible series of events.
So I’ve Heard
John’s friend told him about the mystery that surrounded the backyard. The rumor was that something unknown was buried there. Since John now owns the property, he can do anything he wants with it. While he was bringing in his possessions, his mind was racing. The information made him desperate to know more.
John was understandably very curious about what was possibly buried in his backyard. From the time his friend shared with him the rumor, he got intrigued. John half-jokingly asked his friend to lend him a shovel. The two laughed things off, but John knew he had to gather the appropriate equipment for the job.
A New Project
Determined to uncover the secret that his backyard was hiding, John set things in motion. The new owner of the home wondered what he would find, that is, if he found anything. He knew there were limitless possibilities, but he also knew he would be making a mess of his backyard. For John, this was just a minor setback, and he knew he had to get to the bottom of things since otherwise he would not let the matter go. He started to dig.
John started working on the yard, though it seemed like the elements were going against him. The Arizona heat was naturally in full effect and rose to three digit degrees Fahrenheit. In spite of this, John kept going, in the hope that he would stumble upon something worthwhile. However, he found nothing even with the determined labor. Instead of giving up, John kept going.
John came up empty despite having dug four holes in his backyard. It was possible that even if something was underneath the surface, it had been destroyed or had collapsed. In spite of the disappointment he felt, John knew that he could not give up. He knew that he had to start thinking outside the box to locate whatever was buried in his yard, and he suddenly came up with an idea on how to do it.
John found something which could help in his backyard search immensely – municipal records of the area where he lived. He looked through the documents and finally found what he needed. In addition to a record about the house that was built, there was something else there. He found a document which stated that something was built there by the company Whitaker Pools in 1961. However, one thing did not add up – why was a swimming pool built underground?
Taking It To Another Level
John knew he needed to refocus his search, be more careful in going about it. Before, everything he did was only based on a hunch, but now that he had documentation, he wanted to do things in a smart way. Because of this, he hired consultants who used equipment like metal detectors and they all started to search the backyard together. Things were definitely starting to get serious. At first, they came up with nothing, but the detectors suddenly went off.
X Marks The Spot
John was thrilled when the metal detectors went off not only once but twice. He made sure to mark both spots on the grass with an X. This time, his search would not be blind, and the professionals he hired would help the search become more focused and effective. He quickly started digging up the spots that he marked. Then, his shovel hit something.
John’s shovel hit something that is made of metal, and though he was ecstatic, he paused. He initially thought it could be a septic tank, but he knew even if it was something else, he needed to proceed with caution. He had to work precisely to avoid causing any damage. Soon enough, he found out what the thing he discovered was.
It appeared that John had found some sort of entrance which was like a hatch in his backyard. He cleaned up the area around it and tried to pry the lid open. John made sure that he did not inhale too much because he did not know if there was mold inside or worse, toxic fumes. He peered in carefully and what he saw truly amazed him.
Under the lid that John discovered in his yard, he found a series of blades. However, after a closer look, he realized they were actually a spiral staircase that leads downward. Many people would jump at the chance to explore this kind of discovery, but John hesitated. In spite of his overwhelming excitement, he hesitated for good reason.
John knew that it would be foolish to proceed without serious preparation, even if he did it carefully. This is because he is a fire department captain. He is very much aware of the danger that he could be in if he just climbed down into the space. It is possible that the structure beneath was not stable, so he came up with a plan. The problem was, he could not do it on his own.
Since John was in need of some help with his plan, he called up a few of his friends. It was part of the plan to have backup in case something went wrong. With his experience rescuing people, John knew if the old lid collapsed and fell on him, he would not make it out alive. However, before they could explore what was in the underground space, an important task had to be completed.
The Master Plan
John was really excited to explore what he found in his yard, but he knew that he wanted to do it safely. He had no idea what was waiting in the space below, so he and his friends came up with a plan on how to deal with the whole thing. They made a blueprint and thought of how to proceed.
On their list, the first thing they needed to do was to fix and reinforce the concrete structure that was surrounding the stairs going down. The rust that had accumulated on the stairs made them unsafe. Even though John was getting more and more tempted to just climb in and see what was inside, he knew he needed to be smart about this.
John and his friends worked relentlessly to set down some layers of concrete as well as secure the rebar that was inside the hatch. They had to ensure the structure would not crumble when someone goes down there. They needed to pour several batches of concrete to stabilize everything. While they were doing all this, John wondered what might be waiting inside. However, he did not know that something was actually working against him.
One factor which slowed down the team’s progress was the unavoidable intense Arizona heat. No one knew exactly whether the heat would affect what was inside the mysterious hatch. However, to protect whatever was inside as well as themselves, they set up a tent over the whole project. They also placed a Sonotube cardboard structure around the entrance to prevent any damage to things while they worked. When they finished the cement, it seemed as if they were ready to go down the hatch, but they were still missing something.
To be able to illuminate the inside of the hatch, John and his team set up an electrical line. They also installed a black pipe so that they could funnel in fresh air. Finally, they were almost at their final goal. Over half a century later, the underground cavern’s mystery would be solved.
Ready To Go
Once the team widened the entrance, it looked far better than when they first started. In spite of the Arizona heat, they were finally working on the part that they were most excited about. John finally felt that it was okay to go down to explore his backyard discovery. Everybody had been looking forward to this moment, especially John. At last, they can now go inside.
The outside part of the structure had been reinforced, but the stairs remained unsafe. They accumulated a lot of rust, and even though the structure around them was fine, it was not possible for John to know exactly how much weight the stairs could hold. The entrance could be reinforced from above, but the stairs could not be repaired without going inside. Because of this, John needed to find another way to get inside.
Another Way In
John had to think of how to get inside without using the very rusty stairs. The entrance was too deep or narrow to jump, so John could get hurt because of the rusty stairs. He came up with the idea of inserting a ladder. Filled with uncontainable excitement, John descended the ladder. He had no idea what he would find there and he could not wait to solve the mystery.
John The Explorer
As he made his way down the ladder, John knew that this was the first time in over 50 years that someone went down there. When he went into the shaft, he found an entire complex underground. There was not a lot of dirt, or anything like that, and in fact, it was totally empty. He walked across and went through an arched doorway. There he saw something that left him speechless.
A Bit Of The Past
Inside the chamber, he could see that the ceiling was covered in old fiberglass which was coming apart. The minute he saw it, John knew that the structure was not fully secure and that he and his team had more work to do. However, now that he finally knew what was buried in his yard, giving up was not an option for him anymore. He knew there was a lot to uncover.
The structure underneath John’s backyard seemed like it had not been used by previous inhabitants. With no upkeep over the course of half a century, some wear and tear could be expected, but otherwise, the underground structure was in good condition. There wasn’t anything inside it, but John and his friends realized what it once was. The blueprints state that Whitaker Pools built the structure, but it definitely wasn’t a swimming pool.
A Historical Find
The structure underneath John’s yard is actually a nuclear fallout shelter, built at the peak of the Cold War tensions. At the time, there was mass paranoia, which resulted in bomb shelters being made. Behind the scenes, the services of Whitaker Pools expanded to include building something people desperately wanted during the Cold War era. People wanted bomb shelters in their backyards instead of swimming pools. As John learned more about the structure, it dawned on him that he was not alone.
This kind of bomb shelters filled the Tucson area. At the time these shelters were built, it wasn’t viewed as an overreaction to have one constructed in the back garden. Rather, it was seen as something you would do to look out for your loved ones. At the time, the threat of nuclear war was very real. In addition, Tucson actually had another secret.
Tucson, Arizona was once home to 18 ballistic missiles which were capable of flying across entire continents. Each one was 10 feet wide and 110 feet long. They could destroy an area of up to 900 square miles and were capable of being launched in only 58 seconds. Each missile had a 9-megaton nuclear warhead at its tip. Obviously, the project was kept secret, but the question now is whether some of the missiles were left behind.
Thankfully, when the threat of war had disappeared, they disabled most of the rockets. Almost all of the nuclear shelters in Tucson were sealed or destroyed in the early 1980s, when the US relations with the USSR were calming down. The shelter in John’s backyard was built in 1961, around the time when the Cuban Missile Crisis happened. It is clearly a historical relic, but John had no idea it would become such big news.
John was very proud of his new discovery and was pretty sure there were other people like him, so he posted his findings on Reddit and his story soon went viral. Thanks to the popularity of his post, he was able to connect with others in Tucson who had bomb shelters in their properties, as well. His friends suggested he turn the bomb shelter into a cigar bar or a wine cellar, but John had other ideas. He wanted to collect furniture and Cold War memorabilia to give the relic another life.
John set up a page on GoFundMe to help him bring the shelter back to life. He explained, “Hi, I’m John and I need some help restoring a vintage Fallout Shelter that I have uncovered in my backyard.” The interior was in good shape, so he planned on rebuilding the shelter’s upper entryway with concrete first to secure it and then moved on to fixing the inside. He also wanted to change the staircase.
Civil Defense Museum
After finding out that his amazing discovery was a bomb shelter, John decided to make it into a Civil Defense Museum, HAM shack, and a man cave. He started researching about the Cold War and what made the civilians of Tucson decide to have these shelters built in the first place. John wanted the shelter to become a memorial of the period in history when it was built. This is why he began gathering Cold War memorabilia that he can put on display like Geiger counters, HAM radios, water supply barrels, and sanitation kits.
John’s story became so popular online that it was shared 430 times, and it helped him raise enough money to begin renovating the shelter. He already made $350 out of his $2,000 goal, proving that a lot of people believed in this important project. With the initial funds, John was able to complete the stairs safely, making the climb down easier and less worrisome. He decided to shared the progress with those who donated money to make the whole process more meaningful.
It took some time to rebuild the shelter’s steps because John decided not to cut corners in the process. Aside from making the top step wider by 2.5 times than the other stairs, he also secured it to the concrete wall. When the stairs were rebuilt, the restoration process became more smooth. People were very impressed by the whole process and decided to donate to the cause.