My house is more than seventy years old, but only qualifies for comfortable. Although cleverly set into the side of a hill, providing a walk out basement, it still is the standard four room cottage built in the ‘40’s, before and after the war. I lived next door to one of these old four room cottages when we lived in Mentor. Gus, the old fellow who lived there, kept himself occupied in the winter by taking down an interior wall and relocating it. He’d smile and say “she” wanted the living room bigger. Or the bedroom. Or the kitchen. “She” was a lovely and frail old woman.
One of my pleasures in visiting Ann is the old farm house she lives in; yellow Wisconsin bricks, about 125 years old. She tells me it’s very typical of the time and use. The front of the house is a two story brick column; behind it a one and a half story brick wing housing the kitchen and pantry rooms. Next a wood two story addition with a separate entrance. The brick front housed the farm family, the back was quarters for the farm hands. “My bedroom” at Ann’s is in the brick second story.
Here is a yellow brick farm house I found online. If it had the addition of a mirror image house in wood on the back, it would be Ann’s. “My room” is upstairs, on the right, in the front. The downstairs bathroom, in the wood back of the house, has been in remodel and out of business since last June. I understand it may be completed, together with a second upstairs bathroom and a new guest bedroom when I visit in April.
The barn has sunk to the ground and needs to be carried away. Its silo remains, the lone sentinel. In fact, Ann inquired into its removal, together with the barn remnants, and learned the silo may be on the county historical register, and protected. The first silo in the county?
I am intrigued by the cross worked into the brick in the chimney that goes through “my room”. I asked Ann’s husband, expecting a story about gathering the hired hands for evening prayers, or some such. He told me in fact the previous owners had done much of the interior renovation in place. The wife was also a bricklayer, and replaced the chimneys herself. The cross was her touch. Ann’s husband, an engineer and a perfectionist, also told me she was not the mason she fancied herself. If “my room” lacks character, though, I haven’t noticed. I am very fond of the wide plank flooring in every room, with 125 years of paint. Ann and her husband have a house full of rescued dogs, whose toenails have left their own history in all the floors.