August, 2007 Contest: When you first saw the home you are living in now, what was the feature(s) that made you want to live there?

Congratulations to our contest winner!
Mary Meppelink of Hastings, MI

When I first saw the house that would be ours, it was an ultra-typical, featureless ranch house with a cramped central hallway and 3 small bedrooms along it. The house had no dining room – it had a “dinette” which blurred into the kitchen and gave the impression that somehow a leg could be bumped or even broken trying to navigate around the table in that cramped space. It was the kind of house that is almost descriptionless, void of features – and evoking a stifled yawn. Yet I was thrilled: It sat on one acre which was next to a deep wooded ravine along the back with a small stream flowing along the bottom. There were more woods to the north and west. The acre itself contained a mini ravine on its north side running almost its whole length, which looked protected from the winds, sunken and still, perfect for a meandering path and delicate Japanese Maple trees. The rest of the acre was hilly and scenic, too, and a walkout basement provided an indoor outdoor experience to view the backyard.
So although the main house itself was thoroughly uninspiring, and my teenage son groaned at the prospect of moving there, the landscape struck me as holding great potential – although I knew not exactly what that would be.

Now, over 15 years later, with a new 2 story addition on the north side overlooking the ravine, the landscape is part of our indoor experience. Our son became an architect and after dubbing the house a “ranchburger,” he later designed a space with tall windows which provide a focal point when walking down that hallway. A large living room with a 10 foot ceiling now opens up overlooking our ravine. The former living room is now a dining room – and that dinette now really is a part of a larger kitchen with an island where the table used to be.

It was the perception of the potential I saw surrounding this common looking house, and a feeling of what could be, using creativity, which drew me to it. Bringing nature into our living space has provided year-round interest, with the changing seasons we have unity with nature that always inspires us and lifts our spirits.