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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winter Walk

One of the best things about winter in Sandusky, Ohio, is that you can really see the architectural detail on the houses due to the leafless trees. Last weekend, I took a short walk down our street and snapped some photos of my favorite houses. Most would sell for about $200,000, in case you were wondering about the housing market in northern Ohio these days.  The houses  were built between 1900 to 1915. In the early years, a  trolley ran down the middle of the street and linked travel to Cleveland, 60 miles to the east. We are about 1/2 mile south from the center of town, downtown being on Lake Erie, or, rather on the bay. Cedar Point Amusement Park is visible from downtown only, but, when the wind is coming from the north, we can hear the train whistle in the Park from our house.

This is the only house in the 3 block area that has been for sale in years. It sold quickly. We all tend to stay for at least 20 or more years in the same house-almost a lifetime commitment. In spite of that, we never get together and I've only been inside of 3 of the homes, and that was only because of the Old House Guild Tour of Homes.


 Painting is expensive, but, it does allow the architecture to be featured and even when the same colors are used, it looks so different on each house. Blues, greys, whites and creams are the popular choices.
This house had been converted into a two family home, but, has been reconverted to the original one family home. All of the houses are one family and most have unattached garages/barns behind the house. 

Ron and I  watch HGTV's House Hunters, Love it or List It, and Property Brothers most evenings, and I can tell you that the houses in our neighborhood  do not generally have the open concept floor plans that the buyers are looking for in Canada, where the shows are based.In fact, Ron and I mused that if we were to list our house for sale, we would have to say, "if you are looking for a family room open concept with a kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, en suite master bedroom and no proximity to your neighbors, please do not look at our house."
 Wide sidewalks provides plenty of foot traffic by joggers, dog walkers, and bicyclists, giving our three dogs plenty to bark about. In fact, it is amazing how far they can see, smell and hear from inside the house that requires their incessant barking.
Our house has a great front porch, shown in the photo above,  and catches the afternoon sun.We have a porch swing and often have glass of wine after work there in the summer. However,we spend most of the time on the back porch because the yard is fenced and we can hang with the pups. At this time of year, we tend to hibernate inside and enjoy the solitude.
 I love reading about houses and my favorite titles are House, by Tracy Kidder; The Walls Around Us: the thinking person's guide to how a house works, by David Owen; Michael Pollan's A Place of My Own; and An Affair with a House by Bunny Williams. Other favorites are House, A memoir by Michael Ruhlman, House Dreams by Hugh Howard, and Thoughts of Home, Reflections on Families, Houses, and Homelands from the Pages of House Beautiful.
 Two books on my shelf that I haven't read yet are, The Personality of a House, by Emily Post (1930) and The Decoration of Houses, by Edith Wharton (1902) both classics. I read Waldon Pond, or Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau, and love  memoirs about living on farms, such as Sue Hubbell's A country Year; Page Dickey's Duck Hill Journal, Cross Creek by Marjorie Rawlings and May Sarton's Journal of Solitude. Fifty Acres and a Poodle. I'm not sure why a city dweller such as I reads so much about house construction and farm life! If you have an recommendations for titles I have missed, please let me know! The winter walk is over and I'm ready to settle in with a good book with three dogs at my feet.