GOSHEN — An empty house that has been under renovation since January will soon be brimming with warmth, laughter and love.
A family could move into the two-story home on Main Street, affectionately known as The Little House That Ben Built, as soon as September. The home is the creation of Scott and Lori Roth, whose 22-year-old son, Ben, ended his own life four years ago. Ben had been abused as a child and kept it a secret from his family until just before his death.
The house, Scott Roth said, is a tribute to his son’s legacy, and it will soon be home to a local family emerging from an abusive situation.
“When we designed this place, we wanted it to be a place where Mom and the kids could come home, put their things down and just rest,” he explained.
The Little House That Ben Built has come a long way since the beginning of this year. The house had been severely damaged in a fire a few years ago and stayed vacant until the Roths started putting together a plan to reconstruct the home.
“There was nothing to work with,” Scott Roth said, adding that the transformation is now almost complete.
The house features new wood floors, an open living room and a bright, airy kitchen equipped with new appliances. Upstairs are two bedrooms with customized closets for children and a larger bedroom with its own bathroom for a mother. Thank you notes recognizing local businesses, organizations and individuals who have helped with the project are placed all throughout the house.
“We want to thank them for their time, their labor and their love,” Scott Roth said.
Architect and designer Kenton Miller, a member of the Goshen Woodworkers Guild, placed thoughtful details throughout the house. For example, there is a window on the first floor with molding that resembles a ladder and an anchor, representing hope for a family coming out of a difficult situation.
Scott Roth said his son would have appreciated the artistic touches. Ben had volunteered at three of LaCasa Inc.’s Help-a-House events in Goshen and told his father that one day he wanted to build his own house for the organization.
“This may not be exactly what he was thinking, but I feel like we are building this house for Ben,” Scott Roth said.
LaCasa is working with a local women’s shelter to find a family to live in the house. A résumé writer, a local dentist and a doctor have already offered assistance to help the family get back on their feet. Scott Roth said the community’s support has been overwhelming, and he will continue raising money for the home’s maintenance and its new occupants.