Boy, what twists and turns. I started out adamant about getting an all-white (or potentially all white) interior in our next house…so I could live out my Gustavian decorating fantasy. But we also wanted a larger lot and a semi-rural setting that wasn’t 20 miles from anything. We’ve lived in a beautiful 1902 house for 12 years within walking distance of the best organic food stores, restaurants, bakeries, wine shops, arthouse theaters, etc. But the busyness and noisiness of city life–even in this neighborhood–has left us wanting more peace, quiet, and nature. I’m ready for more than a nice garden.
So, off we go with high hopes. After looking for two months and finding great houses with not-so-great lots, and great lots with not-so-great houses, we stumbled into something very far from what we thought we wanted. But when we walked in the house, we both had the identical feeling–we never want to leave! We were shocked because it’s in an older suburb and we have both been so anti-suburb for so long, it seemed impossible that we should like a house there this much. Did I mention it’s on a lake? It’s as close to North Shore living as you can get within 16 minutes of downtown Minnepolis. (North Shore refers to life on Lake Superior in Minnesota, wonderful shoreline, wonderful giant lake, wonderful forests, very laid back feel.) The neighborhood is extremely quiet and well tended. This house belonged to a nature photographer so my better half is very excited to continue that tradition.
There isn’t a drywall in the whole place, it’s entirely wood inside like On Golden Pond with beamed ceilings. This is one end of the living room. What you don’t see is the window that nearly fills up the whole left wall of the living room, looking out on the lake.
Right below this room, there’s another just like it with another stone fireplace, slightly different stones. This little three-season solarium–complete with Franklin stove–sits off the back of the house.
There are three stone terraces and a deck–all overlooking the lake. Mature trees and lawn down to the shoreline with a little dock. There are even swans on the lake! I can’t wait to put in a wildflower garden.
So, out the window go my dreams of a Swedish cottage. I’ll paint the master bedroom white and probably the large laundry area and another area I’m going to make into a big craft room downstairs. But the rest stays as it is. There is something so comforting about wood interiors! We shouldn’t have been surprised that this house had such appeal because the same thing happened when we walked into this house and saw all the fantastic original woodwork and Victorian fireplaces on the first floor–we were in love.
We still have a long way to go. We move into an interim apartment next week and will probably be there for at least four or five months, while some wood flooring is laid, and the master bathroom is enlarged. But the final move should happen before Thanksgiving which is what we were aiming for. I’ve got photos of the back yard and lake on my phone that I’ll share once I download them.
This experience just goes to show that you have to go with your gut. All the big decor plans I had in my head were no match for the peace that settled in my soul when we entered this house.