By Michael Howell
Stevensville Attorney Kenneth Bransby has taken an old house that sat empty on the town’s Main Street for years and turned it into a first class law office. The house, built in 1900, did not exactly fit the needs of his business but it does now after six months of working on weekends re-doing the place. Bransby, who spent 20 to 25 hours each weekend for six months working on it, calls the massive renovation project “a labor of love.”
Although he had to make some significant changes, like putting in a wall to create a nice entry room separated from a large conference room and tearing out the kitchen to make an office, he was careful to preserve as much of the old house’s historical integrity and charm as he could. Bransby said that he loved the work but, given the fact that he had to keep his law business going at the same time, some of the work had to be farmed out. He hired a carpenter, a floor finisher and a painter to speed things up and the result is impressive.
There are some nice little touches. For instance, the old porch posts that were taken out years ago have returned to serve as coat racks. The old fir floors are shining brightly after a re-finishing job. Bransby is especially proud of the fancy trim and molding that was a bit spendy but adds enormously to the old home’s charm.
Not all the work is done yet. There are plans to create a second conference room upstairs which will allow Bransby to host settlement conferences in addition to his regular practice which he said includes a little bit of everything, but primarily family law.
Bransby also stashed a time capsule in the house. He won’t divulge the hiding place but said the capsule contains a few newspapers and some photographs of the building. He also wrote a letter that was included along with one of his business cards.
Bransby graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 2003 and worked for a while in Cody, Wyoming before moving to the Bitterroot. He has worked in Stevensville for the last four years and is proud of his employees and the job they do. Camile Davenport serves as his receptionist, Lisa Wallace works as his paralegal, Sharon Thompson does the billing and Denise Philly keeps the books. His dog, Tanner, supervises the whole operation. The office is located at 515 Main Street in Stevensville.
“It’s a joy to be in Stevensville,” said Bransby. “It’s a very special little town.”