Beauty Call

My friend Chloe calls that inability to look away from something that horrifies you "The Fascination with the Abomination." It happened to me as I watched yet another documentary on HBO - the feature this week - baby beauty pageants. I hoped the show would clear some things up for me. Instead I watched the horror unfold before me. It was not easy, but I watched the entire 90 minutes. It seems to border on child abuse to highlight a child's hair or have her wear dentures, both atrocities endured by the "Champion" beauty pageant baby. I have always wondered whether mental instability could possibly possess a person to such foolishness as dressing up a four-year-old to look like a giant Barbie doll. Some of the children may enjoy some parts of the contests but it turns out that, just as I suspected, the primary motivation is the parent's ego.

I won't enter my children in any beauty contests but I understand the ego thing. I want my children to be cute, little, hip Sesame Street kids; my one-year-old complies but my three-year-old wears me out with the tutus and tiaras. I have to fight with her to wear shorts instead of a dress to the park. Her favorite color is pink and she lives for bows and glitter.

I try to argue my daughter out of wearing frilly clothes because I am afraid that complete strangers might think I have something in common with the beauty pageant parents. Dressing children up in glamorous make-up and hair seems such an obvious extension of a parent's ego but watching the program did make me realize how much my image is wrapped up in the way my children look as well.

In much the same way my image is wrapped up in my house and how others see it, I, like most homeowners, take pride in the work I do on my house.

The house at 407 South Mill Street has been completely renovated according to its current owner, Phil Henry. Restoration began in 1998. The updated kitchen includes all new appliances, cabinets, ceramic tile floors and beautifully crafted tile countertops. Broken tiles are set in a colorful mosaic pattern to create a unique but subtle work surface. This labor clearly took a great deal of time and attention.

Behind the house the small garden ends in a stone wall. A patio sits adjacent to a small planting area and a narrow path winds around the side of the house to another little garden.

Updated baths feature more colorful ceramic tile, exposed brick and new fixtures while retaining period details including a claw foot tub. In the rest of the house the pine floors have been refinished. Original doors, mantles, hardware, and stair balusters and banisters provide charm in the circa 1880 house.

Everything that could have been done to renovate this house has been done. New additions such as the tile countertops and well-planned bathrooms as well as the careful restoration of the original elements of the house indicate an owner who clearly cared about the final product.

Interestingly, having completed all the work, the owner finished the attic by turning it into a studio apartment with a full bath and a kitchenette and then moved up there, renting the bottom two floors.

The owner of this house had his ego firmly under control; he performed this amazing renovation only to live above it where no one he knows would ever see all his hard work.

My daughter will be glad that I learned a lesson this week - I am no better than the beauty pageant parents when I force her to wear jeans and t-shirts because I don't want people to think I am the type of parent who dresses her child in buttons and bows. (Just please don't think it is my fault when you see me at the park with a small girl wearing a hot pink tutu, red glittery shoes and a tube top.)


407 South Mill


2700 Square feet

4 bedrooms

3 baths

Contact Phil Henry 396-9022

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.