After 26 wonderful years of living at 1343 Three Mile Drive, Grosse Pointe Park MI, we sold our house and will be moving to Portland, Oregon! Both kids live there, and now our two lovely grandchildren!
We leave many memories in these walls and in our hearts! I remember moving day! Amy did NOT want to move, so I bribed her to be excited about the move by offering her a surprise upon entering the basement. She HAD to have the key and be the first one in the back door…and ran directly to the basement to find an antique doll house, in rather rough condition! Priorities that day were to go to the hardware store, get paint and paint it. It IS being moved to Portland for her, these 26 years later!
The house is 3280 square feet and we moved into it from a 1200 square foot house, so it was rather empty. I remember us yelling to each other, “where are you?”, “stop yellin”, “what floor are you on (3 floors and a basement), and if you were on the 3rd floor, there was no chance to be heard! Slowly, furniture was added and it became a home.
Our first fall, when the heat went on, we were rudely awakened in the middle of the night by our very efficient radiators, clanging, hissing and banging trying to spread some heat throughout the house! We learned to get an automatic thermostat, and if we set it at 55 at night, to go on at 7 am, we could sleep through the night quietly!
Our first summer was spent eating dinners at Coney Island everynight for about 3 months! We decided to remodel the kitchen….removing the wall that divided the breakfast nook from the main kitchen, removing the mud room and 2nd floor dust porch and installing a lovely arched window, and to do it as cheaply as possible. We didn’t spare the expense of the cupboards (which are Mutschler), but we did use a handyman who was moon-lighting, so all work was done only in the evenings and weekends! We were brilliant enought to think that while the kitchen was a mess, we may as well refinish the wood floors at the same time, AND while that was going on, may as well paint all the rooms! Surprise when the entire house was under construction and we really had no place to live! Thank goodness for the porch and the back yard! We had coffee brewing on the porch window sills, and dinners (not at Coney) on a grill outside with paper plates! it was like camping. The good news was, we didn’t feel like we had to clean for visitors!
The first thing I did was yank off all the heavy drapes from the LR and DR windows revealing beautiful arched and antique glass french windows! The foyer windows were what sold me on this house! The second thing was to pull the carpet up from the LR/DR wood floors, under which we discovered VERY uneven floors (up to 4 inch shims it took to level them). The reason for the unevenness, after having an architect review the situation, is that the floors were laid parallel to the basement beams (WRONG technique!), and to fix that, they had installed years ago, a steel beam in the basement going crosswise, which caused the floors to sag! The repairs were cosmetic as we were told this house was built so well it could withstand a nuclear blast!!
The day our contractor took down the wall in the kitchen that divided the kitchen and breakfast room, Jim cancelled a business trip to Boston for fear that the 2nd floor bathtub would fall through into the kitchen! It didn’t help that we had just watched the Tom Hanks movie, Money Pit an had been experiencing much of what had happened in the movie! The wall that WAS in the former breakfast room … Where the fridge used to be. The stove used to be where the fridge is now. The ONLY cupboards in the kitchen were a 6 foot apartment size standard with a sink in the middle! No cupboards or counter space before!
At the end of the summer, the house, and WE were ready, finally, to get back to a normal life in a home…., the kids and me kids back to school.
Everything ran quite smoothly until the summer of 1998, when a wind sheer storm came through. Jim and I had been away from the house when it happened, and when we returned home, we had to park down the block and climb around fallen trees and a flooded street to get to the house. We had lost 18 very tall mature trees in the backyard! There was no power for a week, and I remember, when power returned, how sad Marta (neighbor girl) was that we wouldn’t need our candles anymore, or visit in lawn chairs out front on a daily basis, or walk the dogs 4 and 5 times a day together! We had been picnicking and BBQ-ing the contents of our refrigerators and freezers in the front yard with all the neighbors all week.
The first thing we did, once the swampy mess subsided, and trees were removed (a couple months later), was build the Pergola for shade. The yard had always flooded, as this is a clay based area, so we finished the yard by filling it with about 300 yards of top soil, and installed 5 or 6 french drains….and a pond! It still floods, so we just pump it out! It works out fine. all the neighbors pump too!
Some interim improvements were to I stall new Kohler bathroom fixtures in all the bathrooms. Well, most bathrooms. The toilet that was in the powder room, went up to the third floor bathroom as well as the sink – came from somewhere else – dont remember where !
Both kids moved to Portland and the once loud and lovely household became quiet as we evolved into a peaceful rhythm of work, rest and enjoying our dogs. This house has always been guarded and Three Mile patrolled by a dog! First it was Daisy, a very calm Schnoodle, then Buddy, a lovable large lab, who LOVED naps by the fireplace, and now Nicky, the black Cocker we can’t see in the yard at night as he keeps the bunnies at bay.
This was a good time to upgrade the furniture, art pieces and redecorate to house the few pieces collected from our travels.
As it became clear that we would be eventually moving to Portland to be with our children and grandchildren, the updates happened to prepare the house for sale. We put in new thermal windows on the porch, new patio under the Pergola, back and front walkways, installed a new roof, glass block wi does in the garage with the new doors and garage door opener, granite counter tops and new appliances along with brushed nickel mobs on the cupboard doors, removed the old broken tiles from the basement floors and ceiling, and painted the walls, and new carpet in the den.
Years went by, rooms got painted, children graduated and moved out (there was only one unsolicited teen party here that we are aware of :), and redecorating took place. There have been numerous parties in this house. It LOVES a party! It LOVES children!
Oh…and I was just reminded of the two visitors we get every spring. We are going to miss you, Mr and Mrs Mallard, in our B&B Pond every April when the ice melts! They have been coming for so many years…..please know that you’re always welcome at 1343 Three Mile!
And now, we are ready to leave, with great sadness, but excitement toward our new future adventure in Portland. I have loved watching birds while drinking coffee on the back porch; Jim has loved many summer hours out in the hammock, rocking back and forth using his trusty stick; and the dogs: Daisy first (Schnoodle), then Buddy (the pond dog – a lab), and now Nicky (Bunny and Squirrel patrol) have loved stalking, hunting and protecting their territory!
It is a beautiful home, with lots of natural wood and natural light brought in by the large leaded glass windows and French windows (which were what sold me on the house in the first place).
We pray that it will be cherished as we have cherished it. It is used to love, laughter and the lively sounds of children and a great place for a party, whether inside or out! The dining room is warm and cozy in candlelight on a cool Thanksgiving eve. The fireplace glows with warmth while stockings are hung at Christmas. The four windows in the living room and dining room look so elegant outlined in white lights during the holidays. The banister is a great place to display garlands of pine and lights. The backyard is a great place for BBQ’d chicken, Filet Mignon on the grill, or just to bring out a sandwich. Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee sitting by the pond watching the dragon flies swoop around and into the pond… Well the peace and quiet of that does t get much better. And, look for Mr and Mrs Mallard in the Spring – they like to use the pond for a few days as an Annual Spring Anniversary Bed and Breakfast! If the new owners have a dog, watch out for the occasional hawk who may come around to see if any fish are out of hiding in the pond.
All the best for another 88 years, 1343 Three Mile Drive!