Thought some of you might enjoy a quick walk through the furnished bungalow we are renting temporarily while we house hunt and wait for our belongings to catch up with us. It's a beautiful home and we had high hopes when we viewed it online. There were just a handful of short term rentals that permitted pets and among them was this one, a low slung brick bungalow so very like the ones which lined the streets of Milwaukee where I spent the first half of my childhood.
One of the first homes my mother and I lived in by ourselves was a one and a half story bungalow near the state fairgrounds. There was a gas station across the street where she would pull the car in and say, "Fill 'er up," to the attendant who was alerted to our arrival by the bell that sounded when the car approached the pumps. Around the corner was a Dunkin' Donuts where I always ordered the same thing, strawberry glazed. That bungalow was divided into 3 apartments which defies imagination looking at it today. We had the ground floor with one bedroom, which is where I slept, fitfully. My mother took the sofa bed.
My babysitter in those years lived next door to the church and school I attended in a small three bedroom stucco bungalow. The dining room was turned into a playroom overflowing with toys and I remember eating lumpy oatmeal with chunks of brown sugar floating in the milk in the tiny kitchen before school days- with glee believe it or not. When their fourth child was born they moved into a large two story home of the same vintage a few blocks away. We moved into the bungalow.
My mother turned the playroom back into a dining room and a showcase for the antiques she began to collect. I remember how the leaded glass french doors leading from the entry would turn the room into a virtual kaleidoscope. We spent several years in that house. My aunt lived across town in a nearly identical bungalow. My great aunt in a duplex from that era with the same heavy walnut trim.
It became what a house was a supposed to look like to me, despite the fact that that style had been long replaced by raised ranches and wrought iron railings. To me the Craftsman bungalows were the perfect backdrop for the furniture I saw at the big antique-o-rama at the state fairgrounds and in my mother's magazines.
When we began researching temporary housing in UT and this home in a historic district popped up we jumped on it. I had long toyed with the idea of restoring an old home in similar districts in other cities. So we quickly secured this place thinking it would give me us a taste of this road not taken.
It has. ; )
The thing about historic districts is that they contain some examples of the loveliest homes of their day which have usually since seen the underbelly of society. This house was no exception. It had been chopped up into apartments and occupied by a colorful stream of petty criminals over the years until purchased and remodeled as part of the neighborhood's resurgence and restoration. It would be most accurate to say that not the entire neighborhood has achieved 'gentrification' however and this home rests on the um, cusp. It has been so well done inside however and has been exceptionally comfortable and accomodating. It has been a peaceful stay so far, except for that one part...
Shortly after we moved in I woke up early to see my husband off on one of his first days at work here. I decided to scramble some eggs for breakfast. I grabbed the only suitable pan in the kitchen and the butter and olive oil I had picked up at the store and lit the gas stove. It turns out the gas stovetop heats much faster than the electric stoves we have had for years and the light metal pan quickly began to scorch the butter and smoke. I turned it off right away and hit the fan but the smoke detector nearby went off, prompting me to fan the detector and look for the reset button, which was noplace to be found. Meantime another louder alarm went off. I fanned some more and hollered to Moira to wake up and help search for an off button someplace. We ran hither and yon and heard a siren in the distance.
oh yes we did.
Because that part about the house having seen the underbelly of society and all? Well it turns out that there had been a house fire here a while back. The homeowner is understandably terrified of a recurrence. So there is no off button. Rather the detectors are wired to a high-tech system which alerted the fire department, who dispatched immediately to find a franctic woman and daughter in pjs and burnt eggs.
They say you don't become humble without a regular doses of humiliation. Side note.
While I apologized profusely to Utah's finest on the porch, they told me the story of the house fire and the homeowner breathlessly joined us on the porch. (Me, still in pjs for the record.) She forgot to explain about the fire alarm deactivation code, she said. Yeah.
Eventually my heart rate returned to normal. I am SUPER careful and a bit paranoid about the stove. And while we love the house, we decided to settle permanently (ok, semi-permanently) a bit further out from the metro area. Until all those arrangements are made however, we are here at the bungalow like so many years ago.