A detailed description written by Kerry Elizabeth Blickenderfer-Black in April, 2013
My dream house is filled with light and love, an homage to the beautiful Thomas Kinkade works that I admire. It exudes a quaint, quirky, welcoming grace, and the sound of laughter dances merrily out the door, enticing friendly visitors. Home is a place of safety and comfort, a place where individual idiosyncrasies are not only accepted but embraced and celebrated.
There is no true darkness in my home, with the steady glow of nightlights guiding and protecting footfalls even on the stormiest of evenings. Thus, even the shadows have the friendly aspect of security, secrets faithfully kept by loving hearts. Sleep comes gently and brings dreams unencumbered by doubt, innocent musings intent upon imparting wisdom. On chilly nights, one of the several fireplaces lends a cheery crackle to living room, library, and master bedroom. Candles add the fragrance of strawberry and vanilla to the scents of good cooking emanating from the well-appointed kitchen, greeting all who enter and reside within.
Frequent are the gatherings of family and friends, with a dining table in constant use. There is a bay window within the dining room that looks out upon the side garden, with blooming azalea bushes and blue hydrangeas, roses in many colors, and a changing array of perennials that mark the season with their vibrant displays in well-tended beds. A cushioned bench within this window offers a place to take in the afternoon sunshine which plays off of the golden-painted walls. The crown molding is intricate, painted a cheery white, and sets off the floral tin plating that embellishes the ceiling and the turn of the last century crystal chandelier that dangles over the dark-wood oval dining table.
One such gathering is taking place this afternoon, a ladies’ luncheon. Two friends from college will take Earl Grey tea poured from my grandmother’s china teapot into teacups embellished with patterned red and golden Old Country Roses. The first layer of the three-tiered crystal serving platter holds scones fresh from the oven, chocolate chip and blueberry, with crystal pots of home-made strawberry jam, clotted cream, and whipped butter waiting alongside. Finger sandwiches consisting of cucumber, roast beef, and watercress are artfully cut and displayed on the second layer, and on the last are dainty deserts, bite-sized petit-fours, miniature cheese cakes, and tiny fruit tarts. Matching china plates and gold ware complete the table settings placed upon a crisp, white linen table cloth and whisper-soft pink linen napkins are held in fan displays by crystal holders.
The children have all tidied their individual rooms and made their beds. They are all still youthful enough that each bed displays an assortment of stuffed animals and decorative pillows. The hardwood floors are visible from beneath their soft throw rugs, Alex’s of purple, Destiny’s green, Serena’s in pink and white polka dots, and Malcolm’s colorful Marvel super heroes. The window dressings in each room match the carpets, as does the bed spread and some of the throw pillows. Each girl is able to contain their sizable wardrobe within their walk-in closets and within their chests of drawers. The occupied bedrooms are all located up a sweeping, gracious staircase of dark wood accompanied by an intricately carved handrail. There is a stair-lift discretely lining the ascent, folded neatly.
On the main floor is a cozy guest bed room with crisp white eyelets on the window and upon the bed. It features a charming, corner closet and a bit of stained glass with a floral motif above the dark-wood door with its glass door knob. A hope chest hosts some extra warm throws and keeps safe within its cedar lining several scrapbooks commemorating family vacations or big life happenings, but since I am one who believes that every day of life is to be celebrated, there are many more such treasured remembrances in other closets.
The three marble baths are freshly scrubbed and appointed with fresh, thick towels and wash cloths, two of these rooms upstairs and one downstairs. Serena’s personal powder room is painted pink, her favorite color, and appointed with handicapped-accessibility options such as grab bars and a bathing seat. Mermaid statues and images gaze soulfully or with Disney pluckiness from shelves and corners, and Nemo can be found hiding in the anomies on the shower curtain.
The third floor is a gabled attic which comfortably houses an abundant storage area and a cheery play room with video game space, board and card games beside a sturdy antique table and chairs set, a chest filled with blocks and other building toys, and another chest filled with stuffed animals and dolls. In the private back corner is the room for our eldest son who, although he is off being educated at Wooster, always has a comfortable place in our home.
Dinner, a stuffed turkey with traditional sides, is roasting in the kitchen gleaming of copper in the accent tile of the floor, flaked into the granite of the many countertops, glistening in highly polished cooking pots and pans and oven hood. The cabinets are dark cherry wood, plentiful, holding kitchen implements. The pantry is as big as a room in and of itself, and its many shelves are neatly appointed with good, healthy foods and stocked with treats. Thus, with such an evening meal prepared, I can concentrate on my guests without worrying about the responsibilities of dinner preparation for the family.
I have not seen Colleen or Danielle for a number of years. We made efforts to see each other regularly after we graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, standing for one another in our weddings, attending parties to celebrate various happenings from births to holiday. Time and growing family responsibilities made our get-togethers more sparing. I am anxious in my preparations, hoping that they will find my home as enchanting as do my family and I. Colleen is a partner at a thriving law practice, living in a fashionable downtown abode, and Danielle is a well-respected and frequently published psychologist whose home is a suburban oasis of white picket fencing and red brick. My husband earns a comfortable living as a banker, and we are quite blessed. I stay home as a mom and housewife, an old-fashioned career that suits and fulfills me.
Being a bit of a home body, I love being home, decorating and appointing, improving and repainting. It is a joy to me to welcome my children back from a day of school with a plate of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven and some steamed vanilla milk, hoping that they will share their experiences. I love having a base of operations from which we can launch vacations and expeditions.
I love to putter in my gardens. I have divided the yard into different delights; a fragrance garden, an herb garden in the traditionally low-hedged love knot, a hummingbird and butterfly patch, an embellished pergola, an intricately crafted metal arch, and a gazebo, a fenced vegetable garden near the garage and conveniently off of the back decking that provides a handicapped access to the kitchen, all with perennials and statuary and topiaries, all circling the house like a delightful fairy dance, somehow in concert despite their diverse functions. The paving stones that amble through these fanciful floras and faunas are made of cement with glow stones that become iridescent in the moonlight. Topiaries frame the covered porch with its comfortable swing and white cast iron bistro table.
My husband’s one passion, besides his family, is an undying appreciation of beautiful cars. He has a small fleet housed within the four-car, detached garage crafted of the same grey stone as our spacious Victorian home. There is snowy gingerbread decorating the peaks of the roofs of both the house and the garage, and the double doors that greet visitors into our house and the wide wooden doors of the garage are painted a warm crimson, symbolizing our home-ownership. My husband spends an obscene amount of time washing and polishing the prized vehicles, but he asks for so little that it seems a small indulgence. The walls of the enormous car barn are lined with shelves holding practical cleaning supplies and some impractical indulgences for the cars. Framed photos of the kids posing in front of cherished vehicles hang prominently on the back wall.
There is a tunnel that leads from the garage (or carriage house) into our large, dry, and never-flooded basement. It is partially underground, but to provide a lot of light, there are colored thick-cut glass security block windows high up along the entire expanse. This cellar space is divided into many rooms. There is a root cellar next to a below-ground canning kitchen with deep sinks and a dumb waiter that accesses the upstairs pantry. There is a laundry room with cheerful silvery and black checkered tile work that has laundry chute leading from the second and third floors. The same checkered flooring leads into the hall, to a small rest room with only a sink and a toilet, but then the flooring changes to just the silvery squares in the work out and storage rooms. We have a small sitting room downstairs, as well, where my son used to spend a lot of his time, with a portable electric fireplace, television, and gaming system. He often wished to have autonomy, and he used this partially subterranean room as his haven. Now, my husband uses it as an office.
The brass winding doorbell sounds merrily, and I happily rush to the entry to greet my guests. A fresh bouquet of gathered flowers in varied sizes and colors adds a bright bit of color to the polished, dark wood paneled space. The flooring in our entry is a rosey marble, beautiful in its complex swirls of color, but marble is an easily stained surface, which is why we do not use this impressive entry with the family but instead opt for the handicapped-accessible kitchen entrance (or the tunnel when we are feeling adventurous.)
Both ladies stand on our expansive porch, looking polished and suave in well-tailored, brightly colored spring suits. Smiles and hugs welcome them inside and make them comfortable at the tea table. Tea is poured as we catch up on each other’s busy lives. The gals are accomplished and successful, engaging and friendly. In all, it is a wonderful get together. As I clear away the tea tray and all but the deserts and the latest pot of tea, a cinnamon chocolate dark leaf with a heady fragrance, Danielle mentions that she had something to show us. She takes out a black leather portfolio and puts her hands atop, tapping her beautifully manicured fingers with anticipation-heightening rhythm.
“Do you remember our civics class?” We nod and she continues, saying, “Mrs. Wells taught that we needed to keep positive thoughts, to project what we hoped foremost and work toward realizing our wishes?” Curious, we indulge her with our attention. She opens the fashionable case and pulls from it a manila folder, the tab marked “childhood.” “We had a series of projects to write or draw what we pictured of our lives, projections into the future.” She smiled brightly, looking as she did when we all huddled around the school lunch table, sharing dreams. “Well, guess what? I kept them, Mrs. Wells’ projects. I have all of our pictures! I thought that it would be fun to look at them today.”
We are each delighted as we read the juvenile poetic offerings, giggling like teens. Danielle smiles, saying, “I’ve kept the best for last.” She slides out three folded 11” X 13” papers, pages slightly frayed at the fold marks, names written in girlish script on the lower right corners. She slides the appropriate page to its owner, and we three open the pages, pause, and then gasp.
How in our youth had we known what our future homes would resemble?