with gallery: 40th annual Old West Side Homes Tour features home that's new on the outside, old on the inside
- Michigan football golf outing caps $1 million fundraising weekend for Mott Children's Hospital
- Michigan softball advances to super regional with 3-1 win over California
- Pair of Lauren Sweet home runs lift Michigan softball past California
- Charles Woodson and company meet with fans during telethon at M Den
- /calendar/photologue/photos/cache/ows ht photos incl interiors of Oviatt 020_fullsize.jpg
Unlike oil and water, Gloria Oviatt has mixed the old with the new to create a smooth and Zen-like feel to a modern house that sits in the historic Old West Side neighborhood.
She has filled her 1980s ranch on Glendale Circle - which comes with modern touches such a vaulted ceilings, skylights and stainless steel sinks - with the simple primitive country furnishings from mid-19th century America.
“I don’t look at these furnishings as antiques,” said Oviatt, who is an antiques dealer. “I look at them more as pieces of art. These are primitive handmade objects.”
Oviatt’s house is one of seven stops of this year’s 40th annual Old West Side Home Tour Sunday. All of the other houses were built when Ann Arbor was much younger, between 1916 and the 1930s.
The exterior of Oviatt’s house is modern with its low-slung roof and rectangular frame. But there’s a hint of what’s inside with two stone walls made from creek rock from the Hudson River in New York, a nod to the geographic area that produced much of the primitive furniture inside. The metal front door has been covered with rustic barn wood planks.
The interior is a slice of primitive American country, with dozens of wooden bowls, framed hooked rugs, leather-bound books, a tavern table, dry sinks and even a metal weathervane that at one time rested on top of a house on Division Street that belonged to Victor Wurster (namesake of Wurster Park).
The walls and floors are monochromatic, all with the same antique white paint. The armoires, tables and corner cabinets have their original buttermilk paint: Muted reds, blue-greys, mustards and greens.
Oviatt discarded some of the house’s modern touches, including the wall-to-wall carpet, replacing it with a pine plank floor painted antique white. But she didn’t turn her back on everything modern: She made two additions to the original 930-square-foot house, doubling its size, and included a family room with a giant 8-foot-by-6-foot picture window that looks out on the wooded backyard and French doors in the master bedroom.
Oviatt shunned the Victorian look heavy with oak and tables with turned legs in favor of the simple lines of primitive country. The primitive look combines better with the modern, she said. Take, for example, the cement kitchen countertop, modern yet utilitarian. “It goes well with the primitive,” Oviatt said. “It has a primitive yet modern look.”
In additon to Oviatt’s house, the OWS Homes Tour stops include:
- 1017 W. Liberty St., a 1923 two-story with built-in cabinets and drawers, and period furniture along with collections of portraits of women painted by Michigan artists and of Napoleon memorabilia.
- 722 Soule Blvd., a 1938 Cape Cod that serves as a private home but also as the site for Selma Café, the Friday morning breakfast salon. A kitchen addition built in 2000 yields enough space to serve 200 people on any given Friday.
- 326 Mulholland Ave., a 1916 Colonial Revival with a small but functional remodeled kitchen and period décor, much of it Shaker-influenced.
- 917 Edgewood Place, a 1930 Tudor with a pointed roof, heavy front door and a mishmash of exterior brick (the house, legend goes, was built by a plumber who used recycled brick).
- 504 W. Hoover Ave., a 1930s Cape Cod with the feel of a cottage saw the attached garage turned into a sitting room and upstairs remodeled into bedrooms.
- 215 S. Ashley and 208 S. Ashley (Three Chairs Co. and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams), are this year’s business stops.
The tour runs from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, go to the Old West Side Homes Tour website.