Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Memories Override the Barbed Wire.

 1908 add for a American Foursquare kit home sold from a Sears catalog.

It was a great minimalist style home.  Also called the Prairie Box, it was a post Victorian style that shared many features with the prarie architecture pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It was a house made more practical for mail order house kits from Sears.
These houses were built from 1895-1930 and some of their features included:
          -simple box shape
          -2 1/2 stories
          -4 room floor plan
          -low hipped roof with deep overhang
          -large central dormer
          -full width porch or "piazza"
          -brick, stone, stucco, concrete block, or wood siding
          -larger windows to allow more light to enter the home
My three brothers, sister and I lived with our parents in a home such as this at one time.

This is the home today. 
Smack dab in the center of Dayton, it currently houses an impound lot.  Nothing ever stays the same.  Structurally speaking, the house really looks in great shape.  It has some additions that weren't there before but the bones are still looking good and mark our family imprint.
My sister, Jean,  and I traveled to revisit old homesites yesterday.  It was so interesting to hear her recollection of  what it was like to live in this home.  She has some fond memories of her childhood growing up for a time in this old house.   "Those two windows were my room", she said, "and those two were Dad and Mom's room".  She pointed to the windows that were her's
  and she recalled  how the other rooms were laid out.  I loved hearing her recollections.
In the distance was a barn with pasture field.   It was neat to hear that our oldest brother, Larry, had a horse.  He would have been 15.  I was just born when they brought me to this house. 
I love history, architecture, design and furnishings.  For  fun, browse with me the way this home could have been.
The time is after 1908 in Dayton.  The area is spacious with green spaces.  This was the Dayton Library.

Steel High School - Dayton

A typical  four square of the time.  Notice the bay window in back.

Adds in the Sears catalog for this home.

A beautiful southwest take on this home.  Stucco finish.

I love the Craftsman style in built in's and home furishings of the time.  If the pottery in this photo is Roseville, it's worth a mint at flea markets, auctions and tag sales today.

Love this.  We even had a phone like this.  I still remember our old phone number.

Woodwork so beautiful.  It just doesn't come like this any more.  Notice another Roseville pottery vase.

A typical kitchen of the time.
Sort of reminds me of the movie, " A Christmas Story", that I love to watch every year.

Even then there could have been an easy chair.

I can just imagine the possibilities of such a home could have been endless.  I love the idea of playing around with it in style and furnishings of the time and I so agree with my sister, "I wouldn't want to see the inside of it today because that might interfere with my memories as it was". 
In my words, "Great memories will always override barbed wire". 
How do you recall homes of your childhood?   Keep the fond memories alive for generations to come.  They'll never really know it that way if you don't pass it on.  Some memories of home are filled with pure love and that love comes from God. 

Enjoy your life, research your past, pass it on and stay safe.

I'll hold this day close in my heart and remember the thoughts and recollections of my sister with love.

Research information:
Pennsylvania German Four Square
18th and 19th century
Antique Home Style
1908 Wilson & Girod
Catalog by William A. Radford Co.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spring Folly

Folly is the direct pursuit of happiness and beauty. - George Bernard Shaw

After returning home from our road trip south my sister-in-laws, Lenora and Janice, and I decided we would take in the Dayton Philharmonic Designer Show House and Garden after seeing it advertised many times on t.v.
Located in beautiful Oakwood, this French Eclectic home with Colonial Revival nuance was built in 1920 and was spaciously beautiful.
We went when the tour began to beat any hot humid heat that may occur as well as a crowd that might form at such events as this.

It actually turned out to be a fairly cool day with intermittent light sprinkles of spring rain.  Everything was lush, green and well manicured.  Today was the final day of the tour and I think the crowd has already seen it.  Looking across the way a Spanish style home can be seen.
We enjoyed browsing the home with it's many light and airy rooms decorated by some of our very own home town designers such as, Sharon Bledsoe Designs, David Fair Interiors, J. Stuart Parker Interiors and Luken Interiors.   One of my favorite spaces was this great screened in patio just off the breakfast  room.  What a great place to come to.  I could imagine having my morning coffee from a place such as this and relax while watching the birds, butterflies, squirrels and garden.  Just beyond the screen was a water feature with a bubbling fountain coming out of an old brass horn and koi fish swimming about.

There were two sky lights in this space.  The lighting was subdued and calm.  A beige curtain was shirred on tension rods to cover the skylights which rendered an etherial feel to the space.

A wooden deck beyond the screened porch with an inset long narrow water feature.

The neighborhood is beautiful with a mixture of styles to add uniqueness to the area.  This home is an English Tudor style.  Today you travel through a neighborhood of homes you may see a few styles with a variation, but basically looking very cookie cutter similar.

Deeds Carillon Park

After taking in the home we were close by the Deeds Carillon Park and were curious to take a drive to it to see how it had changed over time.  We found a little cafe on the premises to have lunch.  Deeds Carillon Park is a great place to come for some of Dayton's history.  It's a museum with buildings housing things like,  the Wright Brother's plane, a grist mill, early transportation such as a Ford Model T, trolley car, a locomotive, a coach car, caboose, printer's press, cabin, tavern and much more.
It happened to strike on the hour when we arrived and the bells were playing John Phillip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever or maybe it was George M. Cohan's, Your A Grand Old Flag regardless, we were enjoying it's chime and tune.

We completed our day with a stop at Wegerzen Gardens on the north side of Dayton.  A few more sprinkles, but nothing to ruin our time together.  It felt as though we had just extended our recent vacation.  We enjoyed the flowers in bloom at the time.

A fun wooden structure reminiscent of a wigwam.

This is a great fun maze made for children to enjoy playing in and through.  It was built by Patrick Dougherty of native laurel and willow twigs.  Pretty amazing feature.  Quite sculptural.  In fact, here are some of his other creations elsewhere in other parks in the U.S., out west in particular.

Here we are walking inside and you can tell kids would love playing in this gnarly mess of organized twigs.  It's roomy and spacious and there are many ways to see your way around and get out.

I love this child size table and chairs.

Can this be considered a Folly?  A place that has no special purpose other than the fact that it can be built and it can be placed as an element of interest in the garden.  I found a few other Follies that can be enjoyed and have been enjoyed by their original creators to enhance their gardens from the past.
Amazing craftsmanship.

A romantic Cinderella type structure with leaded glass windows.

A poolside pergola.
Designed by P Allen Smith

Another view of P Allen Smith's poolside structure.


A wonderful place to over winter plants or start some seeds for spring planting.

However you look at a Folly, I bet you'll agree it's a great place to:

read a favorite book,

to plan a meal,

to inspire,

to have chamomile or mint tea,

as a beautiful place in which to create,

or to enjoy reading, doing craft projects, games and dress up with the grandies.

A Folly can be a neat addition to the garden space.

It's a great place to imagine your next project.

Gardens are beautiful.



Calming and restful.

Think of the gardens around your street, town and neighboring communities and take them in, for the enjoyment and inspiration they lend is limitless.
As you go about your spring home spruce up and gardening routine remember to prioritize with safety first.
Happy Gardening through 2011 because after all, gardening is never completely finished.

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