Country living in the city”
is the owners’ apt description of this Dutch colonial. Built about
1911, it was one of the earliest houses on the street, which was then only
a step away from country. (The county record gives the date as 1915, but
plat maps indicate the earlier date.) The original owner was Charles Cooper,
an “insurance adjuster” according to the city directory of the
time. The present owners have lived here since 1981.
Situated on a deep lot next to a wooded ravine, the house was reached
from Cleveland by the interurban streetcar that went east on Mayfield
as far as Gates Mills. The house still has the feeling of country, a feeling
that is further enhanced by the décor’s emphasis on folk
art. It is set far back from the street and features a wide and welcoming
open front porch. The spacious center hall is flanked by two parlors.
The one on the left, with its painted hardwood floor, is used as a family
room. It originally consisted of two rooms. A bathroom was enlarged to
accommodate an invalid but was reduced in size by a later owner because
it blocked off access to the kitchen. At one time, there was -- for some
unknown reason, perhaps related to plumbing—a dropped ceiling, half
of which has been removed.
The more formal parlor on the right, with its handsome stone fireplace,
opens onto a screened porch with a red, white and blue motif. A sunroom,
originally a porch, is reached from the dining room, where a stained glass
window, designed with areas of clear glass to allow sufficient light,
replaces the original outside window. A hot tub enclosed in an octagonal
deck is accessed from the sunroom.
The kitchen has been newly updated, with new appliances, wallpaper, and
countertops. Evident here and throughout the house is the owner’s
preference for blue and white. The pantry is original.
On the staircase leading to the second floor, the banister was taken
apart, stripped, and refinished. Upstairs there are four bedrooms, including
a blue and white sewing room. In the master bedroom, they have built a
new closet, and remodeled and redecorated the bathroom, where they moved
the door from the hallway to the bedroom to make it a master bath. The
newly painted study has a raised platform for interest.
In the basement, the floor is of particular interest. The old irregular
floor was covered with an aggregate of small colorful stones mixed into
an epoxy binder.
In the yard, along the south side of the house, there is a thriving vegetable
and herb garden. A sun garden and a shade garden in the back are each
outlined with stones from the yard. The planting in the front yard often
includes an original and whimsical display.
The owners have done much of the work themselves, painting, papering,
refinishing the basement walls, building the octagonal decks, and stenciling
walls, in addition to making most of the quilts on display and doing all
of the planting and gardening. The result is a home that is eminently
pleasing to the eye, reflective of an active and interesting life, and
above all, an oasis of tranquility in the middle of a busy city.
- Center hall: Bellringer house sign, coal scuttle, portrait of owner’s
grandfather, all from owner’s boyhood home in Minnesota; table and
mirror on landing from other owner’s home in Iowa; antique rug beaters
- Family room: pillow fluffers on wall (they look like small rug beaters).
- Sunroom: bird motif, including quilted birds; bust of owner as a child,
created by her mother.
- Living room: cases with family pictures; organ bench; Andean folk art
over mantle, reminiscent of owners’ time in the Peace Corps.