Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CDLV TOUR: The Front Facade and History

November is a great month! It's filled with lots of earthly changes, lots of friends, lots of food, and lots of love. I figure since so much has changed around CDLV, and all you've been able to see are sneak peeks - It might be nice to see full rooms, and the vignettes and items in their entirety. Because I so love the way that Joan from fortheloveofahouse blog has done the reveals of her rooms, I'm going to borrow her creative format and post pictures of the rooms one day, and answer questions from the comment sections on the blog a few days later, with detailed lists of sources and stories.

I figure the best way to start any tour is with a story of the house. Not a lot of pictures going forward, but a pretty decent (sorta spooky) story ... read on if you dare!

The Beginning

Our house was built in 1923 by the Levee family, a couple who never had children who both worked for the Niagara Parks department. On a street like ours, filled with houses built by doctors, attorneys, factory supervisors, and the independently wealthy, the Levee's worked hard to be able to build this modest house on the best street in town.

They spent their money on the ground floor. The first floor has narrow plank hardwood floors, more rare and therefore more expensive gumwood woodwork with crown moldings, and a total of 6 french doors. Moving upstairs, the Levee's not only changed the original floor plan of the house, they started choosing cheaper products. The floors went from narrow plank hardwood to conventional plank soft pine, with no crown moldings and woodwork from yellow pine stained to mimic the gumwood of the first floor.

The Levee's changed the original 3 bedroom format to include two large bedrooms, one with large his/her closets and a bathroom that although awkward in its layout, was much larger than other bathrooms of the day. A smaller, L-shaped room which is now my home office served as Mr. Levee's office, and a 4x4 room that Scott commandeered as his shoe and coat closet when we moved into the house, was Mrs. Levee's sewing room.

The Downward Spiral

The Levee's lived in this house for 32 years, and then the house changed hands ... many times resulting in unfortunate changes, and disastrous outcomes even a dual murder in 1998 when a deranged drug addict murdered his wife and her drug dealer, then lead police to the brink of Niagara Falls where he threatened to jump over the edge before eventually surrendering and spending his final days in prison. Read about it here:

I told you to go on if you dare! Now the first thing people ask me is, "Is your house haunted?" Truth is, if it is, I certainly haven't seen or felt anything - but with a house this old you can bet that someone has left some part of their spirit here - if you believe in that sort of thing.

Saving Grace

Scott bought the house in 2006, 8 years after the murders, and after some pretty terrible alterations by someone with no real decorating ability and the mistaken idea that he was a handyman. Needless to say - the house has been a real labor of love these past few years, but the hardwork has been worth it. With any luck, this old house will see its 100th birthday while we have it, and will go on to have many many more.

Now - where shall we go next?


  1. How lucky for you that you know its history! It's a beautiful home - looking forward to "peeking" inside again!

  2. What fun history -- your house is 3 years newer than Linderhof. I must say that at the time your house was built it was the custom to put "money" only in the first floor for that is the floor the guests would see. No moldings, cheaper woodwork, cheaper floors that was the rule of the day == the "public" rooms had it all -- the "private" rooms did not!

    I've always loved your house -- the bare bones -- and then what you've done with it. Homes are a labor of love aren't they? We're always working, always tweaking . . .

    Can't wait to see all of your rooms!

    BTW, Linderhof is a two bedroom as well --

  3. Artie,

    thats so interesting. Thanks for sharing the story with us. Your labor of love shows in every detail.

    I have no doubt that former residents have left a vibe here and there in your home and I'm sure they are happy to see it returned to a beautiful state.


    PS~ we gotta get this word verification thing off your blog. lol

  4. Artie..

    Looking forward to this series! Your home (in pics) always looks so inviting... :-)

  5. Artie, I am dying to know more...not literally dying, but you know, like emotionally dying. What a great solid house and so good looking. Terri

  6. I'm scared for you....a murder!?

    This would make for a great movie maybe!

    xoxo kelley

  7. How wonderful to have that history..and KNOW the roots of the house. I love it. Love the exterior and can't wait to see more as your story continues. How come HE got the 4x4 for HIS shoes, etc? Just wonderin'....xo Diana

  8. That's it for today?!! No answers tomorrow please, just pictures and more of your story. Am I being impatient? Yes, I'm getting O.L.D.er. This is going to be fun!♥♫

  9. I don't know what happened to my original post. I love your home and the history. I thought I was the only one who was obsessed I mean interested in my houses genealogy. I have some similar history of mine - the upstairs where no one would've gone back in 1900 is not as decorative as downstairs, it was a rental for many years - they put a wall up threw 1/2 of the kitchen and generally unloved for many years. We are still trying to bring it back on top of general up keep. There was a suicide attempt and the room off of the dining room was where they laid people out or viewing. We even have a ghost - she hasn't made an appearance in awhile -when we 1st moved in she played jokes I asked her not to scare the children and she has been "gd" ever since. I look forward to the rest of your posts. If you can would you post before photos?

  10. Beautiful home... not one to believe in ghost...

  11. Looking forward to the 'full tour'.
    Our home also has a story but no murders though but .... we do have a ghost who was the original owner and he is friendly. Ü -Brenda-

  12. I loved this post Artie, and such a perfect place to start.... outside at the beginning! I have always adored your home's facade and I think the story is so very interesting. I do love that the original couple made the house "theirs". But murders?! Wow, that is scary! I know your house feels very loved now. The love and attention to detail is everywhere!

  13. a colorful history

    i saw your buffalo checks post
    on Pinterest
    and have been taking the
    proverbial tour of your delightful home

    what fun vintage pieces
    you've managed to collect
    and put together
    to make your space warm and welcoming

    glad i stopped by!