This Victorian gem waited a long time for the chance to
recapture its former glory. In March of 2004, the opportunity finally
presented itself—the right owner was united with the right house.
The result has been a massive infusion of period furnishings, restoration
and decoration; and a big treat for this year’s tour-goers.
One of the first structures in Cleveland Heights’
first residential development, the house was built around 1894 by Jonathan
Farrow, a prosperous dairy farmer. It is a good example of Queen Anne-style,
American Victorian architecture with Eastlake-style ornamentation. Queen
Anne/Victorian influences include the home’s asymmetry, tower,
bays, wall dormers, high ceilings, textured exterior walls (with multiple
siding treatments), and original stained-glass windows on the front
and third-floor side. The Eastlake impact is evidenced by the second-floor
fixtures, locks, knobs and hinges. Charles L. Eastlake (1833-1906) designed
furniture and interior decorations that were uniquely angular, notched
and carved. Eastlake houses tend to have architectural ornamentation
that mirrors the furniture.
Inside the home, authenticity now abounds. Virtually
all the accoutrements are period pieces and family heirlooms, including
most of the Victorian furniture, a collection of more than 60 “compotes”
(candy dishes), numerous quilts, and scores of old photographs. All
of the wall sconces also are original (converted from gas to electric),
as are the doorknobs and door fixtures, most of which have a unique
“sunburst” theme. The kitchen was fully modernized by a
previous owner, but it now has several antique flairs, such as a “Hoosier”
cabinet from the late 1800s that contains a built-in flour sifter and
ingredient storage. There also is a strange room at the back of the
dining room, that perhaps was a second butler’s pantry. The owner
welcomes insights/ideas from Tour visitors.
The owner also notes the many improvements yet to come.
As soon as possible, painted, period wall paper will be applied in almost
every room; plaster moldings and wainscoting will be rebuilt; and additional
fine-oak woodwork will be reinstalled. Down the road, the exterior will
receive a more authentic paint job. The current paint colors, albeit
pleasing, are not faithful to the house style, according to the owner.
Most likely, the house originally boasted at least seven different colors,
with increasingly darker shades in the upper quarters.
However, the property already is a Victorian treat—with
everything from 19th century brass and oak beds to the original barn.
The latter still has its original doors, hayloft, carriage tracks and
even a “chicken entrance” at the back. With so much accomplished
in six months, we can only hope that the owner agrees to another Tour
appearance later in the decade.
- A circa 1900 photo of the house on the right parlor wall.
- Photo of mayor of Elyria over living room mantle, which also is original
to the house.
- Kitsch purple poodles, circa 1950 from JC Penney.
- Authentic Tiffany wall lamp and circa 1890 Sears Catalog table lamp
in the upstairs hall.
- Antique gas table lamp in an upstairs bedroom, with the original nozzle
- Hannibal County rocking chair in the master bedroom, purchased in
the 1930s for $2.50. How do we know the price? . . . because the sticker
is still on it!