"Yes. My great-grandfather, eldest son of the Duke of Bridgewater, fled to this country about the end of the last century, to breathe the pure air of freedom; married here, and died, leaving a son, his own father dying about the same time. The second son of the late duke seized the titles and estates -- the infant real duke was ignored. I am the lineal descendant of that infant -- I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, heart-broken, and degraded to the companionship of felons on a raft!"
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn Chapter 19
My great-great-great-grandfather came from Norway to America in the 1850s. He had a strong Norwegian accent and was hesitant to speak much in public. By all accounts, he was a shy man.
On the other hand, he married a plucky and robust woman from Sweden who had neither trouble speaking her mind nor getting to know others. (She was a midwife, and probably knew more about her neighbors than they would like to admit.) I like to think I take after my grandmother---aside from the midwifing part.
My great-great-great-grandparents purchased a little brick home and its adjoining farm in the late 19th century. It later passed from their hands to a son's hands and on down the line. Unfortunately, it wasn't the genealogical line I happen to be standing in. Great-Great-Uncle Soren got the house.
And so marked the end of my connection to the family ancestral home.
That is, until today.
I was dumbfounded this week when I discovered while flipping through a magazine that it was listed as "House #7" in the Salt Lake Parade of Homes! Apparently, a builder took enough interest in the historical landmark to renovate the home into a showpiece.
I realize no one is a fan of looking at someone else's family photos, but I hope you'll indulge me as I take you on a tour of the little house in all of its renovated glory.
Welcome to The Brinton-Dahl House
The builder salvaged everything he could that was original to the home, including the front door and some of the home's pocket doors.
The fireplace in the living room is original. A picture of our Grandpa and Grandma hangs over the mantel.
I am smitten with the blue hues of the house, especially in the "game room." And oh, that molding . . .
The sitting room off of the game room is a light and airy compliment to the masculine feel of the game room. Where do I sign up for that coffee table and those armchairs?
The kitchen walls are made of exposed brick from the original home. What is it about brick in a kitchen? Yum.
I adore these framed recipe pages. What a cool way to preserve family memories! Wish I had thought of that . . .
The dining room is a scrumptious little nook off of the kitchen with its funky wallpaper, vintage light fixture, and antique portrait.
The master bedroom is full of interesting textures and eclectic decor.
I have to admit that the master bath is probably my favorite nook of the house. There is something about that fantastic wall paper and the claw-footed tub surrounded by photographs that makes me swoon.
The kids' rooms are all situated in various eaves of the house. The sloping ceilings make for unique spaces in each of the bedrooms.
Even the upstairs hallway makes a nod to the past with its quilt hung over the railing.
This old house even makes space for a practical craft/homework/activity area and a modern laundry room.
I was as enamored with the outside of the house as I was with the inside. I loved its crisp color scheme, its charming lanterns hung from old trees, and its original milk house.
I realize I can't take credit for this unique and adorable home. I just had the good luck to have roots in its foundation. I would like nothing more than to move in and triumph in finally staking claim to the ancestral home, but at a hefty $1 million price tag, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with some photos instead.
So here is my most triumphant of pictures. This is me, our sister Hillary, and my brother and his wife standing proudly on the front steps of the house. Doesn't it look like we belong there?
I just wish the builder thought so, too.