If you had asked me about the Major John A. Wallace Cottage before the Monroe County Historic Homes Tour, I wouldn't have been able to tell you a thing. You see, I didn't know this humble little house from my childhood had a name, let alone any historical significance. This photo was stuck on the refrigerator in the cottage kitchen and it is exactly how I remember the house from 40 years ago, give or take a few.
It sits directly across the street from the Sarver house.
|The Sarver House|
Like us Martins, the Sarvers had three girls the same ages as my sisters and me. We played together often, as our houses were only two streets apart. There are some good stories of our adventures, but that's another post...
Connie and I walked the short distance from the General John Echols house to the Wallace cottage. As we approached, I could easily tell that sometime after I left Union in the early 1980s, the tiny house received a complete and much-needed makeover.
The Wallace Cottage was built in 1854, according to the printed tour guide sheet: "John Wallace was the owner/operator of the Wallace Business College in pre-Civil War Union. The current owners of this tiny cottage have restored the building with a Greenbrier Hotel-inspired interior, featuring Dorothy Draper-style colors and details." The Greenbrier Hotel is about 18 miles from Union, where you can see the work of famous decorator Dorothy Draper, but this little place is wonderfully done in her colorful style.
The front door opens right into the small living room. Come to think of it, the front door is the only door!
The first thing I noticed was the fireplace, to the right, maybe because the fire was so welcome on such a chilly day.
To the right of the fireplace was this cabinet:
The lamp caught my eye, too. I like vintage lamps. Vibrant colors were everywhere - check out the surface of the table the lamp is sitting on.
There was an inviting sofa facing the fireplace, and beyond that another interesting cabinet. The open door with the brass handle in the extreme left of this photo is the front door, which gives you an idea of how little the room is.
The doorway under the stairs lead to the kitchen.
Like the living room, it's a little kitchen with color and whimsy everywhere.
To the right of the fireplace was the sink, the stove, and some cabinets.
To the left of the fireplace was another vintage cabinet. The window in this photo is on the front of the house.
You can see the doorway (on the left) that leads back into the living room in this photo.
To the right of the kitchen stove, a door lead to a pink bedroom on the back of the house.
The bedside table had another delightful lamp.
And on top of yet another vintage green cabinet was a nod to the cottage decor's inspiration: a hat box from a shop at The Greenbrier.
Just off this cozy retreat was a tiny, but complete bath.
From here we retraced our steps to the living room. In the front corner was a narrow staircase leading to, believe it or not, a second floor!
A small table sat at the foot of the stairs (behind the front door), adorned with, of all things, a pink and black high-heeled shoe! A Barbie doll was also there. The amazing thing was, all these eclectic things looked completely normal and at home.
At the top of the stairs we found wavy and uneven floors, tell-tale signs of the 163 years of use the cottage has seen. There was a twin bed in the small hallway, and another tiny bath.
Passing through the hallway/bedroom, we came into the last room of the house. Here we found another bedroom, this one with a full size bed.
This little guy held the door open,
and above the fireplace were some very unusual mounts. They appeared to be made of felted wool. And who would have though of decorating the mantle with vintage flower pots!
Throughout the house were white board ceilings, original wood floors, and colorful rugs. Every room exuded welcome, whimsy, and delight. Multiple colors, patterns, and styles came together in a harmonious decor that stimulated the senses and soothed the mind at the same time. It's a style I don't think I could ever achieve, but I had no trouble at all enjoying every inch of it. And to think all of this is now inside that once-neglected little house...who knew??!