Google+ House Revivals: An Arts and Crafts Limestone

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An Arts and Crafts Limestone

At this time, last year, we were in the process of making some big life decisions. Do we stay in the Pacific Northwest? Go back to Colorado? Stay in the same job? Take a job in Colorado? Take a new job in the Pacific Northwest?  We traveled back to Colorado, where I met with my old boss from the design firm where I'd worked, and where we touched base with many dear friends. We visited our oldest son, who had just opened a new business, and spent a little time hanging out with two of my husband's sisters, who also lived in Colorado. We knew our daughter's husband was soon to be transferred to Colorado, as well. While we were in our old hometown, we discovered "The Lion House" was for sale.

A five thousand square foot limestone, the hundred plus year old Lion House is a local landmark. We made a quick call to our real estate agent, and toured the property.

Our family started calling the house "The Lion House," because the front entry was flanked by two stone lions. Sadly, one lion succumbed to vandalism, and a new pair was brought in, but one of the original lions still remains, next to the driveway. Our old Australian shepherd never liked the lions -- when we took him for walks along that street, his hackles would rise, and he would start growling at the stone felines. He never trusted them. Ironically, our Aussie was named for Aslan, the lion!

 Next to the porch, was a porte-cochere, with ivy growing up the supporting columns.

The original porch appears to have been connected to a separate screened in porch at some later date.

The screened in porch was quite large, and would be wonderful for summer gatherings.

I was recently looking through the new Ballard Designs catalog, and was reminded of the Lion House's porch when I saw this photo. That space has tons of potential, with the limestone wall and screens on three sides.

On entering the home, the first room on the right is this den. The owners, through the years, have done a great job of preserving the original arts and crafts style wall murals.

The murals and the oak paneling extend around the entire room. Notice the old radiant heater -- there is no better way to heat a home than with radiant heat.While forced air heaters give instant gratification, they heat only the air. Radiant heat will warm every surface.

To the left of the entrance, was the living room, with brick fireplace surround, and built in oak bookcases -- and check out those ceiling beams!

The hall from the living room leads back to what appears to be a newer family room addition.

Walking through the living room, you reach the dining room.

The original woodwork is in near perfect condition, and the ceiling detail is really unique.

This would not be an arts and crafts style home, without a built in china cabinet! I certainly miss the one in our old Queen Anne bungalow a couple of blocks away from the Lion House.

Heading into the kitchen, from the dining room, you pass through the butler's pantry, with another beautiful built in cabinet, this one, with leaded glass panes.

The kitchen has been updated in recent years, and features a vintage range, with it's own arched alcove, as well as a new range, built into a large center island, with a copper hood.

Once again, a recent picture from the Ballard designs catalog reminded me of this home.

The ell-shaped banquet has lots of potential! Imagine curling up in a cozy breakfast area, with your coffee every morning!

The kitchen design takes advantage of every available space -- even capturing a small section of unused wall for a built in desk.

The newer addition does not have the same charm that the original part of the house has -- the trim is under-scaled, and there just isn't a lot of "heart" in it, but the right owner can change that.

Moving down the hall toward the front of the house and the living room, is a main floor master suite. Since about a third of persons in the U.S. will be at least temporarily disabled during their lifetime, a main floor master suite is a wonderful thing.

 I love that the owners left all that gorgeous pink and black tile in the bathroom!

 Heading back into the hallway, if you look up you will see a skylight. Now, there is actually a second floor on this home, so this skylight does not open up to the roof.

Instead, it is part of the laundry room floor!  I used to know a former owner of the house, and she had to be careful not to dump dirty laundry on the floor and forget about it, as it could be seen from underneath. The struggle is real, even if you live in the Lion House.

Looking up, from the laundry room, you see the exterior skylight. Clearly, the skylights were a much later addition, but they do a great job of bringing light to what can be a dark interior.

Also on the second floor, there is another built in cabinet -- this one for linens.

Everywhere we looked in this house, there were surprises. For instance, around the corner from the linen cabinet, was this built in ironing station.

There was a second master suite on the second level. The windows were all comparatively new, and very energy efficient, which is wonderful in Colorado's cold winter months.

There was a definite disconnect between the master bath and the rest of the house.

While they left some original fixtures, the designer did not use them as a design inspiration for materials and style choices, which I found odd. In spite of the disconnect, I love the shower!

Somewhere along the line, an owner grabbed some attic space for a master closet.

Most closets from this era are lined with hooks, and don't have rods, unless they were added later, like this closet from another bedroom.

The remaining bedrooms were somewhat uninspiring, but have lots of potential.

A bathroom features a vintage pedestal sink.....

 ....and a gorgeous cast iron pedestal tub. The floor tile appears to be original, but I'm unsure of the other tiles.

Yet another bathroom has mint green and black tile.

Going back outside, there is a summer house, and lots of parking. There is also a 1300 square foot garage, which I did not get a chance to photograph.

There is a little play yard off the kitchen. As we stood in the little kitchen yard, we could hear the traffic from Third Avenue. Lots of people like to use the street to cut across town, because they enjoy looking at the stately old homes. Unfortunately, this makes the street busier than it should be. One of the things we like least about the city where we live is the never ending sound of traffic.

As we were touring the house, I remembered asking a former owner how long it took her to sweep her floors. She told me kept a sweeping schedule, working her way through the house during the week (Colorado is dry and dusty, so not sweeping is not an option).

The lawns were huge. As empty nesters, we get to do our own lawn mowing these days, so a huge lawn is not a plus.

As we left the property, we looked back at the house with a sigh. It was wonderful, but it wasn't right for us. We want something smaller, with less to maintain. If we bought this house, we wouldn't own it -- it would own us. Those floors need sweeping, and that woodwork needs dusting, and fixtures need polishing, and all those toilets need swishing.

Ultimately, we decided not to move back to Colorado -- at least for now. My husband made a job change, but the new job is in the same city, just a few blocks from the old one, so there was no need to relocate. We'll re-evaluate in a few years, but for now, we're Pacific Northwesterners.


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