My parents, Hubby & I typically vacation this time of year but don’t tend to stray too far from home (although for our December honeymoon in 2008, Hubby & I travelled to Greece by our lonesome). The last few years have been spent in a gorgeous townhouse equipped with the comforts of home (but better) and placed on Lake Superior. Perfection. But this year we rented an historic lakefront mansion (that’s what any home larger than 1400 square feet is to us) in Duluth, MN. The experience has been . . . different.
(Here is the map Hubby made for us to find the house):
This home was once glorious: three bedrooms, 2.5 baths (not including the maid’s bedroom, with full en suite bathroom), a living room the size of our townhome’s main floor, a spacious light-filled sun room and a dining room that can easily seat more people than we know. It is hard not to put an exclamation mark after every feature. Hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows and a sprawling yard (with a tennis court!) have us green with envy. But the home has fallen into disrepair and the current owners, who do not live here but keep this home as a vacation rental, have done little to maintain it.
Here are a few glimpses but please, please note that I have not touched any of these rooms for the photos. You have no idea how much I want to stage, clean, de-clutter and otherwise organize.
|3rd bedroom (the two in use by us are now too messy to document)|
|Vintage pink and green bathroom|
|Blue bathroom with amazing built in vanity facing the lake|
|What would have been the maid’s room (by the kitchen)|
|The maid’s bathroom (which I kinda heart)|
Here’s the odd part:
The former owner, an elegant woman named Florence (who had three husbands and a degree in interior design) lived a fantastic life here, a life we have weirdly experienced via personal artifacts left abandoned in the home. Photo albums, letters, cards, clothing, scrapbooks, home décor items, kitchen wares, books, etc., all tell an interesting story and shed light on life in the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. But rifling through them feels so indescribably strange.
Staying here is akin to squatting in the once glamorous home of some famous heroine from a classic novel. Working on my computer from my lakeview perch on an antique sofa, I feel like I should be writing a novel instead. To be here for any other reason seems wrong. (Indeed, fittingly there is no internet and my blogging has been done outside a motel with unsecured wireless, late at night).
|My favorite room|
I love the living room because this is the view:
|Living room view|
P.S. Florence’s second husband died unexpectedly in the house in 1965.