Bill and Bunny Hines didn't move just their family to an LSU area subdivision; they moved their house, too.

The couple was ready to build on their University Acres lot when they heard that an old house downtown on North Sixth Street was going to be torn down to make way for a parking garage.

"I got a bee in my bonnet to move the house to our lot," Bunny Hines said. 

Two contractors told the Hineses they were crazy. Homeless people were living in the house, and lots of things were missing, like floors and the stairway banister.

"It was a wreck," she recalled.

"Both contractors told us we needed to build something new," said Bill Hines, a retired pulmonologist. 

Then they heard about master carpenter Tom Darensbourg.

Darensbourg took the house down piece by piece, dividing it into three piles at the back of the couple's new lot. He salvaged all of the doors and original single-pane windows and enough heart of pine for the downstairs floors.

Then he and his crew put the house back together, but with a few changes.

Bill Hines estimates that the home was built around 1890. Workers found a newspaper from 1888 behind one of the mantels.

They've heard that the home may have been built as a wedding gift for a member of the Hooper family, and carvings of bells and ribbons on a fireplace mantel give that rumor some credence. But, over the decades the house had several different uses, including as the Sigma Nu fraternity house when LSU was located at its earlier site near the present State Capitol.

During World War II, the home was a boarding house for women who worked at the telephone company, which was just a short walk away. It's most recent use had been as a law office before it was earmarked for destruction, and the Hines bought and moved it.

On its new site, the home retained its basic floor plan with a large center hall and two rooms on each side. 

What had been a tiny kitchen became a powder room, and a room at the back was extended to create a much larger kitchen and sitting room. Leftover bead board became cabinets and salvaged marble from an old bank the counters.

New wiring and plumbing went in along with new heating and air conditioning.

Bunny and Bill Hines spent almost every free hour in salvage yards looking for items to replace what had been taken from the old house. They even found a 19-foot banister that fit the main stairway perfectly.

"We ended up with new construction in old stuff," Bill Hines said.

On one side of the hall is the dining room, separated from the den by pocket doors. Across the hall is a study as well as the large master bedroom and bath.

Upstairs are four bedrooms and two baths.

The home is filled with antiques and family collections, including a bottle collection Bill Hines started when he was a Boy Scout. Many are displayed on a desk in the dining room.

"Patients would bring in all kinds of bottles," he said. "Most of the ones I have are over 120 years old."

From the time the Hineses and their four children moved to the house in 1987, it has been about family. It continues to this day, when every Sunday night the children and grandchildren come for dinner. The grandchildren play soccer in the center hall and games in the "grandkids area" upstairs.

"We have a music room, which is our bedroom, and a screaming room, which is the guest bathroom," Bunny Hines said. "Fortunately, only one grandchild has ever gone to the screaming room."