A House With History

Author Photo
By Mary Conley

It was land that we wanted, not a house. We just needed a place to park our stuff and blow up an air-mattress during our visits. So we thought. Or didn’t think at all. But the house came with the land, and the first thing we noticed as we approached was it would need to be scraped, caulked, and painted. In our spare time, of course, of which we had very little. It was only one story and part brick, unusual for a farm house. We could do it!

Entering the mudroom.

When the realtor opened the door to the mud room, we were hit with a horrible stench. This mudroom with a handy little bathroom was an add-on, and also enclosed the door that used to be the outside entrance to the old basement. Thus the odor. Only the brave should enter, and the wise realtor lady skipped it until last. (I think I’ll tell you about it later, too!)

As we proceeded through the house, this person (me) who lives with white everything in the city, just didn’t seem to notice all the dead flies and mouse turds around the edges. The hallway and bedroom carpets were each a different color with an old fashioned design and were filthy. One of the bedrooms smelled like a baby had vomited and no one cleaned it up. The whole house was dirty. Looking back, I can imagine this is one of the big reasons the place hadn’t sold. I’m sure any man who wanted to buy this wildlife sanctuary didn’t get his wife past the smelly mud room door!

We have only lived in two houses, and we had them built. This house, however, is as old as we are and has a history. The old part was a basic square with the few amenities of the times. There are five add-ons: a covered patio, the mudroom, screened-in porch, bathroom/laundry area, and three nice-sized bedrooms.

An interesting man who was a stonemason added the fireplace and the brick on the outside of the house.

He also built this little area for the wood stove in the dining room. It is cozy and has come in handy.

We often say the house is a bonus that came with the land. We had no idea of its potential when we started cleaning it up. It is amazing how replacing small inexpensive things such as rusted floor registers can brighten up a place, but the biggest change came with new carpet in those bedrooms, and nine windows where the flies crawled in.

Just when does a house become a home?

The house is made well, nestled in the hillside, and surrounded by large shade trees. I want to go on record as saying it cleaned up nicely, and is a real asset. In fact, we both love it. I am so glad I didn’t say to Larry when we first saw the house, “Let’s just get out of here!” Once, after it became our own in our hearts, I stood in the lane looking at our freshly painted house with new downspouts, outdoor lighting, and lattice work around the screened in porch. I thought in wonderment, “I now call two places home.”

Published on Oct 6, 2013