Living history

Sandy Evans and Karen Harris pose together in the backyard of their home in northwest Gainesville Friday, June 28, 2013.

Doug Finger / Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 4:36 p.m.

For many home buyers, catching a glimpse of a promising property is a bit like falling in love. It can lead to heart palpitations, sweat-inducing negotiations, nerve-wracking wait times and eventually, fingers crossed, a sale. This was not the case for physician Karen E. Harris and her husband, Andrew J. “Sandy” Evans, a retired engineer who has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Florida and Santa Fe College.

“It wasn’t really love at first sight,” explains Harris, an OB/GYN and president of North Florida Women’s Physicians. Their four-bedroom, five-bathroom white clapboard farmhouse with black shutters was built in 1940 by Milton Brownlee of Brownlee Feed and Seed. She admits they even toured the home a year before and dismissed it.

“It’s one of those odd things; [the house] sort of grows on you and now, of course, I love it!” Harris adds.

The two-story home was vacant for about 3 1/2 years before the Evans’ bought it in 2003 along with an adjacent parcel of land. According to Harris, they put an offer on the adjacent 4.5 acres with every intention to build a custom home when her brother — famed New York architect Steven Harris — saw the farmhouse for sale next door and suddenly their plans went out the window.

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