Cottage house emanates warmth, coziness

SANDUSKY Home sweet home does not do justice to the 1936 cottage-style house on the Chaussee.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Home sweet home does not do justice to the 1936 cottage-style house on the Chaussee.

Joe and Mary Lou Viviano purchased the house off Cedar Point Road from Helen Bremmer in April 2003. Bremmer had lived in the house for nearly 35 years before selling it.

Mary Lou knew it was the right place the moment she walked through the doors. "It has a nice warm feeling. When you walk in, you just feel small.

"I like it all, every bit of it. It's smaller, just what I wanted," Mary Lou added.

"My wife likes the cottage style," Joe said. Joe also bought the house because it would give him a chance to remodel it. "Ever since I've been a kid, my folks had rental property and I worked on those houses. I've always had a talent for it."

Joe, who has a degree in industrial engineering, began remodeling the house in September 2003 by working on the overall design and layout of the house. The complexity of redesigning the house did not dissuade Joe. "When you're inspired, it goes fast."

Joe stripped the entire one and a half story house and took out the breezeway, where he added a guest bedroom. The back of the house was transformed after contractors added on a kitchen, living room, dinette area and fireplace.

He then converted the downstairs bedroom into a master suite, which required him to add onto the room.

The upstairs proved more of a challenge since it was completely unfinished, Joe said. Another challenge was the addition of a stairwell from the living room to the upstairs. The upstairs features two guest bedrooms and a bathroom. One guest bedroom is reminiscent of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" with its four small separate beds.

In addition to the interior, the Vivianos had their annex, a building for tools and garden supplies moved to opposite side of the yard because it blocked their view of Lake Erie.

In December 2004, after spending $200,000, the Vivianos were ready to move into their 2,500 square foot cottage-style house.

Within the house, Joe and Mary Lou brought with them unique antiques and family heirlooms. Joe restored a 98-year-old Peninsular stove, which resides in their kitchen. Also, Joe purchased a a rocking chair from Westinghouse, an old hotel located where the State Theater now stands. In the living room, Joe hung a 150-year-old gold-trimmed mirror, which was passed down to him from his father.

In 2005, Joe made a pair of renovations, which included a deck in the spring and an addition of 12 feet to the annex. The Vivianos do not not plan to make any more renovations or additions to the house since they are satisfied with how it has turned out.

With so much work put into the house, it holds a special place in their heart.

"We love it so much we would never sell it unless we had to," Joe said.