Sometimes you choose a house, and sometimes the house chooses you. In the case of Andy and Kate Grimm, the choice was mutual and immediate.
When they first began their search for a home in downtown Marietta, a particular house caught Kate’s attention but she assumed it would exceed their price range. She admired it each time she drove by, and finally showed it to Andy. His response was “Oh, we have to look at it!” The moment they steppedup to the front porch, they were in love. By the time they made it to the kitchen, they knew they had found their new home.
Built in 1907, the house sits cheerfully on Sacra Via, a street whose history is significant to the Grimms. “The Native Americans had a ceremonial mound, the flat mounds and of course the Conus (Mound Cemetery), and there used to be serpentine mounds all around this area that have since been leveled. They would come up from the Muskingum and use this pathway as a procession,” Andy explains. “The pathway was lined with long mounds of clay about 10 feet tall on either side, all the way up. Once the settlers arrived and saw the clay, they set up brick factories and dismantled the mounds. Thankfully, they left the park and the other mounds– it’s wonderful that the city has preserved the parks.” The house is also a convenient two blocks from the bike trail and a short walk from downtown, which made the transition from farm life to city life that much easier.
The Grimms took residence among walls with large flowery patterns and taffeta ribbons frequently found in Marietta’s Victorian homes, and carpet had been installed over the hardwood floors upstairs. Kate remarks that the wallpaper must have been professionally hung because the patterns matched perfectly and the seams were nearly invisible. In fact, the house was in tip-top shape for being over a century old; its solid foundation and nicely squared walls made renovating easier, and the original box gutters were replaced with modern ones.
The flowery wallpaper didn’t quite mesh with Andy and Kate’s style, so they spent hours removing it and painted the walls in bright, cheerful colors. The result was a lovely canvas for their collection of art, and a new focus on the architectural details– original crown moldings, wainscoting and beautiful mantles. The gorgeous floors were exposed and the exterior of the home was painted in a unique palette that elicits admiration from anyone passing by.
The couple describe their style as eclectic, drawing inspiration from nature and their travels around the world. For example, a pair of Mongolian house slippers grace the mantle of a guest room. “I would love to wear them, but I don’t want to wear them out, so for now they are on display!” Kate says. Hung next to the slippers is a collection of beautiful watercolors — “We picked up some street art while we were there, typical Mongolian scenes. It’s a great place to visit,” Andy adds.
In Andy’s office, a map dotted with push-pins is evidence of their many far-flung adventures. Each room contains a small collection of treasures from their travels, though nothing is cluttered or kitschy– every painting and object seem to have a story, some meaningful purpose. Next to the staircase is a pair of photographs Kate took while they were in Mongolia, one showing Andy with their guide and his family. Andy motions to a painting at the end of the hall, this one from Newfoundland depicting the tragedy of the cod fishing industry in that country. “The cod fishing industry was decimated due to overfishing, it was only recently that the country began to allow native Newfoundlanders to fish 10 pounds of cod a year. We are vegetarians, so we have a particular sensitivity about that; it’s a tragedy, and this is an illustration of the tragedy.” One of Kate’s favorite pieces is print of a painting of a Maori woman from New Zealand. On the opposite wall, a set of prints from the Pacific Northwest of the first nation’s depictions of animals. In the kitchen, Kate points to a set of hand painted tiles from Madeira. Each of these hold a special place in their hearts.
Andy and Kate might have a difficult time describing their personal style, but it’s easy to see that their house is a reflection of their unique interests and personalities, a lovely combination that gives their home a cheery disposition. Vibrant, interesting and thoughtful, the rooms are filled with items that evoke memories and represent the passions of a full life.
As much as the Grimms love their home, they are sadly preparing to leave it behind as they begin a new chapter near a distant coast. They will be carefully packing their treasures (and memories) to make the move and fill the rooms of another lovely house. The beautiful home they’ve lovingly restored will be waiting for new owners– to fill the rooms with their own treasures and create their own memories within its walls.