Desire is a demanding beast. It reaches into your gut and won't let go until you give it what it needs. It taints every thought and plan. Desire makes you do things you shouldn't and tells you to ignore every bit of common sense you ever possessed. Desire will make you sneaky, it will make you bold and it will make you broke.
The older I get the less likely I am to fall into the hands of desire. It doesn't happen often but when that feeling comes on me it is always for something big.
When I was 16 I fell in love with boys; now I fall in love with houses. Sixteen year old boys are easy to attain-bat an eye, then spend the next week ignoring them and they will trip all over themselves just to sit on your front porch for 15 minutes. Houses that other people live in and don't even know they need to move from are harder to come by.
Today I saw the perfect house. I had noticed it before but today the sun must have been shining on it just right, because today I had to have it. Even if I could get past the other obstacles (such as getting the current owners out for a reasonable amount of money), the house is way too far from a Kroger. I devised a plan to move it to a lot that I thought was for sale on Desha (actually there is a house on the lot but my plan called for tearing it down).
I spent the afternoon trying to get a price on moving the house across town. And getting my hair done. So I'm sitting under the dryer making phone calls and praying. "God," I said as my hair cured, "I really want this house and I really want to make this happen but if you don't think it's a good idea just let me know." Brinng. Brinng. My realtor called to tell me that the lot (actually the house and lot) had sold. Really sold. Cash. No contingencies. No inspections. But desire had taken hold of me and wasn't willing to let go that easily-even if God himself was telling me to cool it. Desire made me tell the realtor, "Find out who it is and how much they paid then I'll buy from them for more after they close." Even as I said it, I knew it was over.
As any long-married couple will tell you, life without desire becomes rather dull, so I guess I'm willing to endure this frenetic emotion every year or so. I just wish it would tell me to get something easy, like 16-year-old boys or shoes.
Llangollen is a house that has known desire in many forms. Just prior to the Civil War, Robert Breckinridge, Jr., brother of William Campbell Preston Breckinridge, occupied the house. He and his Confederate buddies gathered around the fireplace in the living room to plot the overthrow of the Yankees.
In 1865 Frenchman M.T. Armant and his wife bought the house. There is no written record for the reason but Armant and his next-door neighbor, Benjamin Warfield, feuded from the start. Perhaps desire in the form of lust for a woman or real estate prompted the fight. In any case, Armant hated Warfield and caricatured him each morning on his picket fence. Evidently his pen was slightly too sharp because one warm night as Armant sat in his garden, a shot rang out. He died instantly with no witnesses. Armant's son, along with general opinion, assumed that Warfield was responsible and when he met him in front of the old Broadway Hotel, he shot him.
Llangollen was the fulfillment of a childhood desire for Emma Offit Lewis. As she told Elizabeth Simpson, author of Enchanted Bluegrass, from the time she was a little girl she desired a "little, white house with a shuttered doorway and chimneys and cupboards and a garden walk." She found most of those in the 1814 Federal house and those she didn't she added when she bought the house in 1924. It was Lewis who named the house Llangollen, after the Lewis family home in Wales. According to Old Kentucky Architecture, "at this time the walls were reset from the window sills up, the chimneys were rebuilt and the present front doors were installed." Evidently the retaining wall and iron gate, marble bathrooms and the hand planed custom cabinetry of the garden room were also added at this time.
Desire came upon Aimee Lynne-Herschowitz when she saw the house two years ago. There is something about a well-built, well-planned house that calls out to those who love houses. Despite broken windows, dog droppings and "Led Zeppelin Rules" graffiti she knew she had to have the perfectly proportioned house. The large square entry hall with its doors on all four walls offers vistas that include the public rooms and through to the formal gardens in the surprisingly large back yard. Down four steps from the entry hall one finds the Garden Room. White brick walls, which were hidden by plywood and shelves before Aimee took an ax to them, frame the windows. A large door opens to a brick patio and the garden. In the spring and summer, the room can be open to the sights, smells and sounds of the garden and in the winter, a charming fireplace framed by recessed panels provides just the right touch of coziness.
Aimee cleaned and plastered and painted and rewired and repainted brick until she had in Llangollen the house desire told her she needed.
450 N. Limestone
2 and a half baths
2454 square feet
Contact Bruce Holle 277-0088
If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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