After reading this Mike said no one cared about the decorating cycle. I almost took it out to shorten the story but didn't. I care...that is enough for now.
Years before it really happened Mike told someone, while driving through Davis County, that he wanted to live in the eastern hills of Farmington someday. It was prophetic. Mike took the job with Logicon after Stanford graduate school because they had an office in Clearfield. We hoped somehow that an opportunity to move back to Utah might present itself. After 2 ½ years in San Pedro, California the offer came. Mike would spend his entire career with this company—in Utah. Not very happily as they made his scientist into a businessman with what he called "the golden handcuffs." Soon he will be able to retire and hopefully enjoy many years of contentment.
We traveled to Utah on a house-hunting trip in early 1977. Randy Mortenson, Mikes brother-in-law, was building homes in the Farmington hills. One look at Somerset Farm and we were smitten. There was a gurgling stream, old cherry and apricot trees, towering cottonwoods and hills behind our chosen lot for future adventures.
We started looking at house plans in magazines. We sent for a book of contemporary plans and then decided to get a group of farmhouse plans also. We were beginning to collect antiques—maybe a farmhouse would be a good compliment. In the farmhouse plans there was a wonderful house with a wrap around porch, a large entry with an open staircase, an open kitchen and family room and a nice size living room dining room. The nook was a large bay that went two stories to a sitting room in the master bedroom. It was perfect.
We moved to Utah in May and lived in Mike’s parent’s home in Brigham City. I enjoyed that summer. We had most of our "stuff" in storage and it was nice living simply for awhile. We moved to an apartment in Layton in September so Beau could start kindergarten and we could be closer to the building process.
The hole for the basement was dug in September of 1977. A special backhoe had to be brought in due to all the huge rocks—thus the beginning of the Rock Wall, but that story has been told already. This one is about the house
I have lots of regrets about the things Mike did in the house to save money—a little extra on our mortgage wouldn’t have stressed our finances that much and it would have saved Mike many days and nights of toil. When your cheap your cheap, what can I say. The painting alone was an elephant of a job. Mike worked far into the night many days painting—then he tiled two bathroom showers, bathroom sink tops, and the kitchen counters. He did a nice job for someone with an instruction book in one hand and a tile in the other.
Mike was driving through Clearfield one day and saw a house being torn down that had an oval door—a must for our farmhouse. He got the name of the owners and talked them out of the door.
While still in California we purchased two antique stained glass tulip windows for the little alcoves in the entry. The alcoves were intended to be closets but they turned out to be just right for the windows. We found an old fireplace mantel in an antique shop in Lehi that had been painted black. We bought it for $350 but not before scraping a little paint to determine that it was oak as the black shiny paint made it look plastic. Mike stripped it and finished it. It turned out to be a gorgeous piece with delicate carvings of wreaths, garlands and an oval mirror. We never intended to leave this mantel if we ever sold the house. It now graces the greatroom of our new house. We actually purchased another antique mantel to replace it but in the end decided we wanted it for the new basement fireplace. We had a simple mantel made to fit the space in the Kensington house when we left.
In the beginning every room had a different color carpet—gold in the living room, rusty variegated in the family room, brown in Beau’s room, plain rust in our room, lime green in Maren’s and I honestly can’t remember what Ian’s room had. The tile on the kitchen counters was a deep rusty red and the linoleum was an orange brick color. It didn’t show dirt, and that’ about all I can say for it which is a lot with little boys running in and out all day.
We moved in on July 1, 1978 without permission from the building inspector. Our apartment notice had been given and the house wasn’t finished but we decided to get forgiveness instead of permission. We were still on temporary power so the air conditioner was not usable. Needless to say it was a miserable summer.
We soon discovered the hills behind the house and Mike and I would walk and run in them for the next 29 years. The boys enjoyed many adventures in the hills also. They built "huts", caught lizards, played in the Creek and generally explored it all. We had birthday parties and Easter egg hunts in a little clearing by the creek on many occasions. In the last 10 years the developers began building on our trails and we were forever trying to find new places to walk. Our new home gives us access to many of the same trails if our aging bodies we will allow us to continue to walk uphill.
Wallpaper was in when we moved in and I proceeded to wallpaper every bedroom above the chair rail and the main floor family room. I made curtains and roman shades. The many windows in this house were a delight. The first thing I would do when coming down stairs in the morning was open the blinds. The view of Evans orchards from my stove was wonderful. I thought I owned everything around me and in the evening the sunset was a panorama in the windows. I eventually lost it all as houses began to fill up the lots across the street and next door to the north. The last view was the hills from the kitchen window and it was being built on the last year we lived in Somerset. The road going by our lot to this property finally was closed off for this subdivision and we had a year of grass on the road area before we left.
We planted a garden every year when the yard was finished in the garden plot we created on the North side of the house. Fresh tomatoes were always a favorite. We will miss them the most.
Mike rocked the fireplace in the basement and built a bookcase after we had lived there about five years. We discovered that a full-size couch would not fit down the turn in the basement stairs so we bought a sectional. The only TV in the house was in the basement family room so it was used a lot.
The next decorating round would bring in white tile counter tops in the kitchen, peach walls in the living room, pastel peach and blue flower basket wallpaper in the family room and main floor bathroom, and off white balloon curtains with blue dotted roman shades (that I actually had someone make) and linoleum with blue squares. This was my blue phase. I even painted the entry walls blue. The living room had lace curtains. About this time Mike put up oak crown mold, wide oak baseboards and had the arch for the living room made of oak. There were plint blocks and bulls-eye pieces on the door corners. Mike worked very hard on this project and it was eye-popping spectacular when finished. We had collected many antique pieces by now so everything fit to make the house look like a real Victorian farmhouse. We even had gingerbread made for the front porch.
The last 10 years we changed things once more. We updated all the bathrooms with new tile. We had tile put in all the main floor areas that had linoleum previously. (We never liked this tile. I wasn’t very good at choosing from a small sample). A decorator in the neighborhood was using a lot of vinyl textured wallpaper so I decided to do it too. I chose a variety of off white textures and wallpapered everything. In our bedroom, basement and main floor family I wallpapered over existing wallpaper. I loved it. The walls were all neutral and indestructible. But the 30-year-old that bought our house didn’t like it and had to pay someone a lot of money to get it off and paint. It ripped the sheet rock in a lot of places. The big tragedy is that she painted the oak molding in the living room. It made me kinda sick for a week or so. I did try to talk her out of doing it. What could I say, it’s her house now.
About the last 10 years we got a porch swing. I can’t imagine why it took me so long to get the swing because we loved it. It was the one thing that the new owner requested that we leave. One year we put an arbor over the rock wall and the first couple of years I had a lace plant growing over it with a profusion of white lacy flowers. When the roses started to grow the lace plant died out. This rose bush had an amazing profusion of deep red blooms.
Before we left we put in granite counter tops and hardwood floors in the main floor family room. Maren was working for a granite company and we got a good deal on the granite or we probably wouldn’t have done it but we loved it. We put in the wood floors ourselves from some cabin grade oak flooring that Mike found somewhere for $1 a foot—here we go, doing things ourselves again the cheap way.
I always liked 1914 Kensington but it had its bugs. The master bedroom didn’t have a good closet—the other bedrooms had better ones. I needed more kitchen cupboards. Not being able to get a couch down the basement was irritating. The basement was dark. The hot water caused a pop in the kitchen that we never figured out. That’s not too many things to dislike about a house is it? So, why did we move?
People shouldn’t stay in houses that long—not if you are a pack rat. I did things for the new owner I never did for myself. I sanded and finished all the kitchen and bathroom cabinet drawers. I painted the shelves in the food storage room. We painted the garage floor. We finished the deck. I cleaned and sorted things that hadn’t been done from the beginning. Moving motivates one to clean and sort. Maybe instead of redecorating we should have moved earlier. The fact is there were a hundred more things that needed done and we were tired. We love our new house but 1914 Kensington will forever have a sweet place in my heart. It was the homestead.