Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Sleepy Hollow (My Sacred Life, day 27)

Since I had a request from Jane to see more of the cottage, and since I love showing it and talking about it, here's more. This is a cottage on Lake Michigan, owned by Julia's sister. It has been in their family for over 100 years.

This exterior shot shows that there is a screened in porch which was a design feature of almost all of these cottages. There are about 200 which have been built here since the 1890's, most built between 1900 and 1920. Today, though, most have replaced the screens with glass--or redone the entire porch--to provide better climate control. Sleepy Hollow, in contrast, is still in its original state (apart from upkeep made a necessity by the passing years and bitter winters).

This photo, taken by Julia from her favorite spot on the porch, shows the sofa-sized glider on the other end of the porch.

Once you come in from the porch, you are in the main room of the cottage. This seating area in front of the fireplace is defined by wicker furniture which is probably about the same age as the cottage.

To the left from this photo is a dining area, to the right a very comfy daybed and some wicker rockers, perfect for the days when the porch is just too daunting in the wind or due to the cold.

Through the open doorway is the teeny original dining area of the cottage, which is now used mainly as a breakfast nook, although Ann has been known in days past to paint at that table. Ann is an astonishingly accomplished watercolorist. Yes, those are watercolor paintings on the website linked to her name! She tells me any lingering paint spots on the yellow table are from grandkids now, not her work.

We have used it as our breakfast nook, too. Note that the puppies have their spot, on their blanket right next to the table (lower left). Every place that Julia sits must have a puppy place within reach!

Here is the kitchen, looking back toward the charming little yellow table.

The upstairs area of the cottage is designed to maximize the number of folks who can sleep there--all the rooms are small, and apart from the writing desk I use as my computer desk, there are no places to hang out. I guess all hanging out is to be done in the main room, or out on the beach!

The quirky thing about upstairs is that the front half of the cottage is about 10 inches (or one step) higher than the back half. You can see in this photo, take from the front part of the upstairs hallway, that I am five steps up from the common landing. If you look closely, you will see that the opposite end of the hallway is only four steps up from the landing. That back half of the upstairs area includes a tiny bathroom with a bathtub. No shower setup, just the claw-foot bathtub.

Here is the typical bedroom. There are five of them upstairs.

Not seen in these photos is the main-floor bathroom, which is just commode and sink...and, you go through the bathroom to get to the really tiny bedroom on the first floor which was a later addition to the cottage. Julia's sister has made it a wonderfully cozy spot for one--the single bed takes up almost all the floorspace in the room--and Julia loves it since her knees won't tolerate the ups-and-downs stairs require.

Lastly, this shot of the back porch, again a screened-in one open to the elements, shows the washer/dryer area to the right, and to the left? That, my friends, is a shower room. Yep...the shower, the only one in the house, is effectively outside. This time of the year, you plan your showers based upon the weather forecast!

As we wind down toward our departure, we relish every minute here. It has been a perfectly relaxing time, one where we did just as we pleased, and we were pleased to honor every nap request our bodies made, to eat when we felt like it regardless of the clock, and to enjoy each other's company. No TV, no radio, and only enough music played from Julia's laptop to cover the sounds of people out on the front walk a few times when the dogs were busy barking at every sound. Even the dogs, finally, have adjusted and now allow people to walk up and down the front walk (the sidewalk which parallels the lake front and connects the old hotel building to the rest of the resort) without threatening to eat them.

We'll be a bit sad Saturday morning when it's time to get on the road, but we both can feel that it's time to go home. We know we will be back again and again.


The Dream said...

What a lovely cottage, Rick! What is really awesome is how long it has been in the family. We had a beach house in Connecticut, which had been in our family for 50 years. It was sold a few years ago ... sending shock waves through our family.

Anyway, I am glad you are sharing all about your vacation!

Julie said...

Cold shower room or not, that place looks very inviting. I love the smells of older places too.

Hamguin said...

Yes, Julie--it is a place that oozes lived-in energy. I don't know that there is an "Eau de Sleepy Hollow" in particular--I'd bottle it if I could figure out what it was, exactly--but I agree there is a sense, a familiar smell even when you have never been there before, a certain lived-in feel to places like this. You can't find it in the cookie-cutter 'burbs or the new-fangled resort high-rises.

You can paint a place in a weekend. It takes decades to paint a place with human experience such as I have felt here.

The Dream--it is a sad day when history in the form of places where people have lived for generations changes ownership. I suppose one can view it as a shedding of family skin, allowing the freedom to establish new traditions and locations where they can be celebrated.

Kikipotamus said...

Thank you for sharing the pictures! I LOVE getting to peek inside others' spaces.