The Home of my 2006 Dreams
The magical home that drew me to SE Kansas
After talking with the realtor early in the morning, Al and I prepared for our introduction to the beautiful E. Main Street house. We had our usual; strong coffee and, for Al, several doughnuts. He’s a doughnut ...nut!! I always just have coffee to start my day; strong, hot java! Love it.
We quickly finished our morning fare, dressed and headed out to meet the representative. I was so excited, my heart was thumping in my chest.
As we neared the home now, for the first time visible in the early sunlight, I was even more taken with the beauty and detail. I was frozen in my seat as I gazed in wonder. I noticed that the realtor’s car was not yet there. “So much the better,” I said to Al; “ we can snoop around before she arrives. "
We jumped from our rental car and began to walk around the big yard which was surrounded by a wrought iron fence, painted white and detailed with floral design. So lovely. I quickly peeked around the back and saw that the big garage was more than adequate; large enough for 4 cars! Up close and in daylight, I could see that there were minor cosmetic flaws in need of attention but nothing overly concerning. As we continued our circuit, looking up in awe, I was so taken with the mere size of the building, all the fine woodworking - gingerbread - and old, leaded glass windows.
Just as we were completing our initial circle around the home, the realtor drove up. Big smile and warm greetings, she explained that we’d have to enter through the side door. The porch here was equally as darling as the front entryway, having a sweet wooden swing to the side leading to a huge door made of solid wood surrounding beveled glass. Oh, the pride and perfection of craftsmanship back then!
She unlocked the door and stood aside for us to enter. What a pro! She knew just how to introduce me to the place, aware of how enamored I had become with this home. As I stepped through the door, I was overtaken with a feeling of being transported back in time. The ceilings were high; 13 feet! The woodwork was natural and well maintained with floral carving. This floor, the 1st, contained the entryway with grand staircase, library with full mantle surrounding a huge fireplace, the living room which also had a beautiful natural wood mantle with beveled mirror and marbled tile, the dining room which was very long with windows lining the entire N. wall, the kitchen, pantry and guest bath. Covering the entire floor area was beautifully aged hardwood in 4 inch widths, running the length of each room with no breaks, no abutments. Polished and shining, the flooring had withstood a hundred years of use. I visualized little children skipping on the surface, grandmother and grandfather lightly and carefully stepping from room to room in search of the warming heat from the fires which burned in either fireplace. Mother going about her daily routine, oblivious to how, many years later, a 21st. century woman would be standing in the same room, experiencing the very surroundings; the breathtaking beauty of her home.
The grand stairway was finely carved with no shortcuts taken. Each step held three hand turned balusters holding the curved handrail. I felt as if I were royalty in such intricate surroundings. Years, a century, of use had not scarred the hardwood steps or damaged the railing. It was evident that residents, throughout the years, had been gentle and kind to this passageway from lower to upper floors. The kitchen was very large with checkerboard tiling, original - and well maintained - cabinetry and a big pantry. Paned doors graced deep cabinets as sturdy as the day they were built. Leaded glass windows were on 3 of the 4 walls. Light fixtures from the very era of construction adorned each room; giving the home a fantastic feel of timelessness and an obvious attention to the period and style of the year it was built.
The house also held the convenience of a back stairway; an added touch given homes of the past. Leading from kitchen to upper hallway, safety as well as ease of movement allowed the flow of foot traffic in front and back of this large home. I love this added attraction; another 'extra' from the excellent builders of yore.
I walked from room to room with my jaw dropping to my chest. I must have looked foolish or, at least, as if I were about to catch a fly! The home was everything the virtual tour reflected; there were no ‘hidden’ defects or obvious flaws.
The spacious Library and dining room as well as the Living room all had large, 12 foot high, heavy and decorative pocket doors leading in. From the main entry and from room to room, double pocket doors slid apart, allowing one to move from area to area; opening up the entire first floor. This, I can only imagine, was perfect for entertaining so long ago and would serve beautifully today, too.
UP THE GRAND STAIRWAY TO THE SECOND FLOOR
We climbed the stairway to the second floor where 4 bedrooms awaited as well as a ‘dressing closet,’ which is the size of a typical infant’s room of today. Room enough to sew, try on clothing with the added touch of a built in pew like seat which would easily accomodate 3 adults to sit comfortably. A stained glass window threw colorful light in every direction. The fun thing about this room was that we had to climb 3 stairs to enter through a cute little door, as the cubby hole room was set above the hallway which ran the length of the second floor with bedrooms to either side along with the master bath. The smaller than average door boasted paneling and crystal knobs embellished with finely etched copper plates No attention to detail was ignored in design and construction.
Each room was appointed beautifully! The owners certainly knew how to decorate in style and appropriately! Large, natural wood beds or delicate iron beds which had been painted white, stood in the rooms. Floral wallpaper - very tastefully chosen and hung - complimented a corner room which had one of the iron beds. Beautiful comforters dressed the bed while, on a corner angle, another large fireplace mantle added to the ambience and flavor of the era in which this home had been built. This one was painted white, to match the theme of the feminine room, but this was not a detraction. Not at all. It was perfect for the room.
The long hallway seemed to go on forever. Remembering that this home consisted of almost 4,000 square feet, it was no wonder that every room; every area, seemed extra large and forever. I have always loved this style of home and all the historical items one finds in such places.
There were two baths upstairs, one the master bath and the other for use by those living in the adjacent bedrooms. Tiled with 1 inch white and black squares in delicate patterns, boasting huge “clawfoot” tubs with ornate feet of gold, pedestal sinks and beveled mirrors over the sinks, these were as beautiful as any I’d seen in Architectural Digest. Oval windows with minute details of stained design, pull chain toilets which actually worked! The home is a masterpiece of loveliness and care. I saw myself lazing in the enormous tub, hot water up to my chin and a glass of wine in my hand, sensual jazz playing in the background and faded light shining through filtered steam rising from the tub!
I think I was born in the wrong century ! Homes such as this resonate with my very being and I feel as if I belong within the beautiful walls.
THE PIECE de RESISTANCE!!!
We weren’t done, yet!
I had NEVER heard of ‘attic’ fans or ‘whole house’ fans…what the heck is THIS? I pointed to a doorway leading to what looked like a stairway to nowhere. When we opened the door, several steps up was the biggest, most massive fan I’d ever seen! What is this? I asked.
The realtor could barely keep from laughing. Even my friend Al knew what it was. And so, the two of them had a great time explaining the need for and use of such an apparatus. It seems, back in the day when there was no AC, these fans were common place. Designed to deal with the hot evenings in SE Kansas and similar environments, these fans draw the morning or late evening air from outside or basement up through the entire home, causing a rush of cool air throughout the house. Amazing! I flipped the switch and a loud whoosh of cold air rushed by. I could imagine how refreshing this must have been back then. And, what an effective, useful device. I immediately fell in love with the idea and implementation of this intelligent tool!
We exited the whole house fan compartment and continued up to the 3rd story. Here, an astonishing finished attic awaited. Wide, 12 inch x 1 inch plank flooring covered the entire surface. Visible large and strong beams supported the roof which was at least another 10 feet high on average with higher peaks. The walls had been finished with sheetrock or centuries old 4” bead boards . It was wonderful! The original "home for sale" ad had mentioned that the founding family used to host ballroom dances in the attic..when I read that, I could not imagine it but, standing in that attic, it was obviously quite possible.
Well, I was more entranced with the home than ever! Oh, how I could see myself owning such a place! A fantasy come true!
What happened next? More to come. in time.
Pictures and photos to follow...when I can find them!
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