The permit for this elegant home was taken out in 1893. It is also one of the tallest homes in the neighborhood, with an attic turret and a window above the attic level on the façade. The home is now sided in the narrow board wood siding that would have been original. When the current owners bought the house, it was sided with aluminum and many of the architectural details had been covered or eliminated. The restoration work included a lot of detective work, such as recreating the brackets based on the shadows of the original ones and the recollections of neighbors. Similarly, the large porch columns were recreated after studying the shape of the shadow of the original ones left in the old wood of the beams that still remained on the porch. Then the concrete porch was removed and the new wooden porch constructed. The columns are Corinthian and, because of the turret and other details its architectural style, is Queen Anne.
Enter the home through an air lock into a large reception hall. It is made gracious by the lovely bay turret which lets light into the room and by the original staircase which ends with a curved bottom step. The newel post is carved oak and the spindles are turned oak. Tucked under the stairs is a charming powder room. The oak woodwork in the home has been restored or replicated to match the few pieces of original woodwork that remained in various doorways around the house. The focal point of the reception hall is the beautiful stained glass, which includes colored glass, crystals and beveled glass in a radial symmetrical design reminiscent of a sun. Note the high baseboard moldings which also indicated the age of the home - as the new century approached, this particular detail declined in size each decade until it was virtually non existent in the homes of the 1960s.
The front parlor was enlarged sometime in the 1910s. It appears that the flooring in the home was replaced at that time, since the age of the home would indicate top nailed flooring of the type seen in other homes. At one end of the parlor is a stone fireplace probably added in the 1910s too. It has a separate flue from the dining room fireplace and is on an angled wall in the corner. The enlargement of the parlor involved adding a row of windows across the front and side windows to form an extension like a sun porch. The picture molding is a replacement that was indicated by shadows on the original plaster walls.
The parlor/living-room is separated from the dining room by a glass and oak pocket door. The door had been removed and the current owners hunted for two years until they found a replacement. The dining room has a tin ceiling which is new. The glazed ceramic tiles are a combination of the original and some older replacements in a slightly lighter shade. The antique ceiling fixture is a replacement that duplicates what would have been a combination gas and electric fixture common in the 1890-1910 period. When installing light fixtures throughout the house, the owners discovered that the gas feed was still live in each fixture.
From the dining room, you enter the kitchen, passing by what was once a pantry with a small window. The larger room has been put together from the original kitchen and a mud room that had a floor six inches below the kitchen floor. It has been designed to feel like a kitchen of the 1890s with the conveniences of the 1990s. The ceiling is tin and the bead board wainscoting was used as another unifying element. The doorway to the back porch is glass and wood like the pocket door in the living room. It features a small fixed transom above it with a beautiful etched glass design of trumpet vine seed pods. All of the original window sizes have been maintained so that from the outside no changes are visible. This kind of restoration is welcomed and encouraged by preservation enthusiasts.
The staircase to the second floor was tucked against a wall. The current owners have reconstructed the bannister and it adds to the beauty of the room. From the kitchen you can climb the back staircase to the landing, then up to the second floor. This design was used so that household help did not have to interrupt or intrude on the life of the family as they completed their tasks and returned to their own rooms on the third floor.
On the second floor there are three bedrooms. Each of these rooms has the newer flooring and six panel doors with transoms above. In a beautiful attention to detail, the current owners have had an artist create designs for all the transom glass. The design was developed from a pattern found in the windows of Zet Smith’s ante-bellum childhood home in Madison, Florida. The back bedroom has been expanded to include an open sleeping porch, which was enclosed by the previous owners. The floor plan of the second floor has been altered to include a second bathroom which connects off the master bedroom. The third floor rooms were once set up like an apartment, with a sink, a bedroom and a sitting room. The front room is quite cozy with a seating area in the top of the turret. One could imagine that when the first family moved into this home that the young live-in servant was thrilled to sit of an evening and look out towards Lake Michigan with little to obstruct her view.