As I mentioned in my last post, the newest house in caretaking adventure was built in the mid-60s. 1964, to be precise.
To quote Eric, "this house might be the most special."
Although I've never actually seen the show, I think its possible that we are living on the set of Mad Men.
To be fair, this house is EXTREMELY well built. It is a ranch, or "rancher" as they say in Colorado, for what reason I don't know. It is red brick from bottom to top, which makes it extremely sound proof from the outside, to the point I apparently didn't hear the mail truck get himself stuck in the snow outside my house, get out pulleys and chains and drag himself out of the abyss. I found out about all of this second-hand, from my neighbor (Keith Koteskey, I may have a new Betty, but male.)
Inside, unlike most modern homes (at least in Colorado) we are living in the direct opposite of an open-concept house. We have not only defined rooms everywhere, but pocket doors to seal off each room from the next.
We have a front room, a dining room, and a den that all feature mid-century, and very well cared for, wood paneling. I know you know the type. The first time I saw it, I was instantly transported to my parents' house on Statler in the late 70's/early 80's. The den also features a built-in cabinet that pulls down where your turn table can be housed. Sadly, no record player was included in the house, and the built in radio above the cabinet no longer works.
The galley-style kitchen has had its kitchen cabinets nicely refaced, and the countertops overlaid with granite transformations. Much to my delight, the original wallpaper from the 60's used to line the cabinets (in orange, tell, and purple daisy) is still there. Far out, man.
For a 4,000+ (something like that, I have no idea) square foot house, the master bedroom is surprisingly small, with two matching closets on either side of a window. Both of our clothes will not fit in the two closets, so I have abdicated closet space to Eric and put all my clothes in the spare bedroom. However, there are these mysterious little cabinets that run all the way across the room, above both closets and the window, and are about 18 inches high. We aren't sure what they are for, but if you open them, you can see the popcorn ceiling extend to the wall through the cabinets. Special. I suggested to Eric that he put shoes that he doesn't wear often in these cabinets, but he hasn't taken me up on it (yet.)
There are two more bedrooms on the main floor.
The really interesting part of the house is the descent down the paneled, narrow staircase (complete with the bottom half of a dutch door that latches at the top of the stairs, maybe to keep you from falling down?) to the two-sided and double-landing-ed basement. Yep, I just made up a word, but it is accurate.
When you head down the stairs and turn left or straight, you come to an area approximately the size of a 2-bedroom apartment. There is a large open area that we put the two chairs that we took (with permission, of course) from the House in the Woods and anchored with a rug, side table and television for a "lounge area" and our 4-topper kitchen table next to it (which doesn't fit in the galley kitchen, which is good, because we need as much furniture as we can get to stage this place). We finished with matching bookshelves, and covered the holes in the walls and bad paint-job-over-paneling with as many framed photographs and wall handing as we had (seriously, there's a big hole in the one wall. We didn't ask why.)
Beyond the living area is a room we affectionately refer to as "the creepy bedroom." I'm not totally positive if the "second egress" (basement window) is to code, but it has a walk-in closet, so it must be a bedroom, complete with asparagus-colored carpet that is older than I am. By the time we got to the basement, we were out of beds, so I had to improvise. Because the master bedroom is smaller, not all of our dressers would fit in it, so I put my dressers in the spare bedroom, and the dressers for the guest bedroom in the creepy bedroom. That just left a bed we had to do something about. Well, we do have this queen sized blow up mattress... so I blew it up, stuck a couple of moving boxes under it, and layered the bed with blankets that aren't actually for a queen bed but in enough combinations and copious amounts of pillows, "kind of" work. Eric asked what would happen if someone jumped on the "bed," and but I just said that that would teach them not to jump on other people's beds... Yes, this might be a little bit of "revenge of the caretakers" but it was either this or an oddly empty room.
On the other side of the living space is a non-conforming 5th bedroom, meaning, no closet. Because at this point we were totally out of anything that looked like even a fake bedroom, we needed to figure out something else for this room. Hence, we now have the "Getting Ready for Adventure" room! We have an old vintage, banana yellow kitchen table from the 50's that was scavenged from the cottage and my mom calls the "Lucy and Desi Table." That is now in the center of the room with travel books strategically placed on top. Three backpacks are hung on one wall, all three coolers that we own are stacked in a corner, there is a bucket of trekking poles, a picnic basket in another corner, and framed ads for National Parks and a map of the National Parks decorating the rest of vertical spaces. It was the best we could come up with...
On this side of the basement, there is also a full bath, linen closet, extra sink in the living space (because, why not, we've had extra random toilets in the past! At least this works...), and a long, narrow, walk in closet, where I've put our winter ski coats and snow pants.
You would think this is enough, but you would be forgetting the RIGHT side of the basement. Seriously, this house goes on forever in it's 1970's glory. Head back to the stairs, go up two stairs to the landing, then two stairs down, and you are now into another open space that, for lack of other options, we have staged as the "cornhole room." You laugh, but I got Eric a set of cornhole boards for Christmas, and, well, we were desperate.
Off the cornhole room is another small room, about the size of a walk-in closet, but with a built-in workbench and baskets hanging from a shelf above. Welcome to the gift wrap room, complete with a box of bows, the wrapping paper tub, box of gift bags, and artfully placed roll of scotch tape and scissors. Yes friends, the b.s. runs deep here.
There are also two walk-in storage rooms off this room, and a half-wall of sliding doors that have storage behind them. Behind this wall is the last room in the house, another...bedroom?... that we were now totally out of furniture for, and few options. Therefore: welcome to the workout room, featuring exactly one side table with a television on it, and Eric's roadbike on the trainer in the center of the room. The most exciting feature about this room however? The tragedy/comedy masks that were carefully painted on the concrete wall in full gloss, black paint. That was then single coat white washed over.
And that's the report from the Town on the Prairie.
If you need us, we'll be listening to our Abba records and tossing beanbags.