Monday, September 05, 2016

#705 Seth Peterson's Cottage

Our wedding anniversary, a secluded jewel in the Wisconsin woods, and the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright - the trifecta for the Johnstons!

In August 2014 (yes, more than 2 years ago!), we reserved Wright's Seth Peterson Cottage in the southern Wisconsin Dells for Labor Day weekend 2016.

We drive up to the gate with all the anticipation that two years can bring.
Less than a mile down the private road, the cabin waits just for us.
 This guy seems pretty happy to hold the key.
 We see from the guest book that we follow in the footsteps of celebrities.
And then we quickly make ourselves at home in this 880-square-foot cabin in the woods and claim it as our own for three fun days.
 The cabin's deck overlooks Mirror Lake. Dock and canoe are provided.
It may even be more fabulous at dusk.

Yours in sending cheers of love from the jewel in the woods,
Mary

Sunday, August 21, 2016

#704 National Register - On to the Keeper

The state of Missouri recommends listing our house on the National Register of Historic Places!

August 19 is a beautiful day in the City of Jefferson and Kelly is ready to make our case to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He arrives at the Lewis and Clark State Office building, a very green building on the banks of the Missouri River, carrying his notes on months of research.  He is ready.
Most importantly, we stack the audience with friendly faces.
Kelly expertly tells the story of our house.  Following questions, comments and compliments, the Council votes unanimously to forward our National Register nomination to the Keeper at the National Park Service for the ultimate decision.
We are excited to move the nomination forward and thankful to all those who have supported our efforts with good wishes and advice and hospitality and custom, hand-crafted gifts!

We expect to hear the Keeper's decision by the end of October so stay tuned.

In the meantime, let's celebrate!

Yours in celebration,
Mary

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

#703 It Happened in August 1996

It's been 20 years since we first laid eyes on our favorite house in Aurora, MO.

On August 2, 1996, we are living in Kansas City and visiting family in southwest Missouri.  Kathy and Mark are moving to Texas so we're all getting together to celebrate their move - either that or to try to talk them into staying in Missouri!    
During the weekend, the family meets for a meal in Aurora (can't remember if big hats were worn) and accidentally, serendipitously, we drive down College Street and discover the house. 

Our first photos were taken in 1996 when the house was owned by the Duncans and the grounds were so beautiful and well maintained.   


We continue to drive by (or stalk, if you must) the house for the next 13 years whenever we're in the neighborhood until we eventually learn it is for sale - which is yet another story of serendipitous good fortune.

Yours in serendipity,
Mary

Monday, August 08, 2016

#702 Intensity of Caring

"I've always felt that the details, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, are more than just nice things to notice.  They are manifestation and expression, a kind of measure of the intensity of caring." - Fay Jones

A tour guide at the Frank Lloyd Wright house at Crystal Bridges once told me that and I believe it.

We are the proud fifth owners of our 102-year-old house following behind the Colemans (1914-30), Moores (1930-83), Duncans (1983-2004), and Holmes family (2004-09).  All have shown their intensity of caring by their stewardship and looking after the details.

So we are thrilled when previous owners or their descendants come from near and far to attend our house party and share memories and photos of the house through the years.


Yours in house parties and celebrating people who care,
Mary

Thursday, August 04, 2016

#701 House on the Move

Historic photos of our Ozarks Bungalow are hard to find but we just keep looking.  Sometimes the stars align.

Until recently, the earliest photo we had found is this 1937 photo from Lawrence County in Pictures, published 23 years after the house was built in 1914. 

At the most recent meeting of the Aurora Historical Society, Bill told us about his family's early-20th-century house-moving business using horses and a winch.  It worked something like this...

From http://www.searshomes.org/index.php/2013/12/17/moving-houses-in-1916/

Lucky for us, Bill still has a circa 1920 photo of a large white frame house moving west down the center of College Street with OUR HOUSE IN THE BACKGROUND!

With a closer look, we see more detail about the upstairs window (previously hidden by an awning in the 1937 photo); we can see a lighter paint color in use on the top floor; and if we use our imagination, we can almost make out the outline of the outdoor porch lighting. The porch visible to the left of the horses belongs to our neighbors Bill and Denise.  The porch visible to the right of the horses is ours.

Yours in appreciating historical society meetings, family archivists, magnifying glasses, and the spirit of house movers,
Mary

Thursday, July 14, 2016

#700 The Kitchen Sink - Again

If Kelly has replaced one sink, he's replaced a thousand.

Well, maybe not quite a thousand.  But he does know his way around a sink installation.  And this time, I had the nerve to ask him to install the exact same sink and faucet he installed for me in Virginia.  

Probably because of my birthday month, he moved the sink project to the top of the renovation list.  (We aren't even working on the kitchen!)

We currently have a white cast-iron sink with brass faucet and separate handles for hot and cold.  The white sprayer that is nearly impossible to pull out may have been the proverbial straw. 

We replaced it with an appliance-matching black composite sink with a black faucet and a single handle for both hot and cold.  The sprayer pulls out of the faucet as easy as you please and I love it.

Yours in sink heaven,
Mary

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

#699 Sharing the Bachman-Wilson House

The Bachman-Wilson house opened to the public on 11/11/2015 and Kelly has been giving tours ever since.


 As a volunteer house guide, he donates much time and energy to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, about 1.5 hours south of our home.  The benefits are many:
  • EDUCATION.  Kelly has been studying Frank Lloyd Wright and his designs for decades. To learn all about the Wright house that was moved from New Jersey to Bentonville, Kelly was required to pass an intensive 5-month training program, complete with lectures, readings, writing assignments.  He loved it.  
  • INSPIRATION.  We are often inside this Usonian home and enjoy the designs that make it so special.  We especially like built-in light fixtures and built-in furniture, open floor plans, and common motifs that tie rooms together such as consistent lighting or continuous flooring.  We are inspired in the renovation of our own home.
  • SHARING WITH FRIENDS. The biggest benefit of all is that the Bachman-Wilson house is a draw to  friends.  Of the 49,000 people who have visited the house since opening day, .05% are our friends who have come from afar to go on one of Kelly's tours.  And if we are really lucky, they come back home with us for a longer visit. 
We don't have a photo of everyone who made the trip, but the flags on the map below represent the home towns of those who joined us in Bentonville.  (Unfortunately, Brooklyn, NY had to be omitted from the map for purposes of scale.)   


 








Yours in sharing the Bachman-Wilson house with friends,
Mary