Colonial Dreams

SANDUSKY Flowers and prints and collectibles, oh my. First glance of the living room
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Flowers and prints and collectibles, oh my.

First glance of the living room and library is all a tad overwhelming.

There's Waverly, Waverly everywhere.

After listening to Jeff and Mary Kay Huneke, of Ohio Street in Huron, talk about their home, suddenly the bold primary color scheme becomes quaint and precious.

The house was built in 1907 by master carpenter, Angus M. Cole, for his son. Cole's home is next door.

Jeff and Mary Kay moved into the home in 1979. It still posesses Cole's original layout but the rest of the house has been restored, from roof to driveway. The Hunekes began renovations in the early 1990s, starting with the roof and restored it, room by room, until they finished the kitchen in 2003.

The bright colors and bold prints were chosen thanks to a Lenox "Buchanan" china pattern. Mary Kay had a plate and a book of wallpaper samples; the Waverly print with the striking reds was exactly what she was looking for.

And the rest is history.

Colonial Williamsburg to be exact.

The Hunekes have been to Williamsburg 10-12 times; they've lost count. Each time they visit, they bring new mementos back. Although now, if something comes in, something else has to go, "We're out of wall space", Jeff laments.

Mary Kay fell in love with the period as a child, "I was always fascinated" with Williamsburg. She explains original Williamsburg was much more bare bones "they didn't have carpeting and upholstery was rare". She calls their home "comforting colonial".

The house is furnished in cherry wood as well as some mahogany. The Queen Ann furniture is elegant and refined, yet quite comfortable.

Every room in the home has something handed down from prior generations. The china cabinet in the living room belonged to Mary Kay's mom, and the secretary to Jeffs mom. The lowboy and bench in the library were Jeff's grandmother's and date back to approximately 1910.

The breakwall between the library and the formal dining room is filled with Mary Kay's collectible Co-Boys. The Hummel-like figurines, by Goebel, depict the townspeople of Coburg, Germany, their hobbies and professions. The bay window in the dining room was added during the dining room redo. There is an elegant piecrust table in the corner of the room which belonged to Jeff's grandparents. Jeff has his own collectibles as well, a set of Williamsburg mugs perched atop the china cabinet.

The kitchen and half bath were custom built by master carpenter, (the late) Bob Gatesman. There are more Co-Boys on the window shelves and on the kitchen table is another collection of Mary Kay's, a bowl of Lenox glass fruit.

The interior design of the first floor, Mary Kay notes, is courtesy of a lot of time spent with both Hills Interiors and Youngs Interiors. The wallpaper was hung professionally by By Design.

Jeff states the furniture is "about 99% Ethan Allen and Pennsylvania House". The other 1% appear to be family antiques.

Many of the art prints downstairs are classic colonial reproduction paintings; Washington Crossing the Delaware and Rosa Heywood are just two.

Heading up the stairs to the second floor, there is a room off the first landing. Jeff says when they moved into the house there was simply "a door in the middle of the wall"; they added steps and use the room for storage.

The upstairs embraces subdued tones. Soft blues and greens, pink and ivory create impressive appeal. Much of the art on the second floor walls is cross-stich done by Mary Kay and framed with the help of Village Framers in Huron.

There are also many antique family photos intermingled with heirloom family treasures on the second floor. In the den is a chair from England belonging to Jeff's family and a wooden trunk which belonged to Mary Kay's grandma.

The spare bedroom is what Jeff and Mary Kay refer to as their "memory room". Jeff said the nightstand and dressers are from the bedroom set he used as a child. The room has a shed dormer built to match the dormer ceiling in the master bedroom. There is an Amish rocking chair in the room adding to the old-fashioned ambience.

The master bedroom is sweet and charming. The light color palate of rose, sage and cream contrasted by dark wood antiques is calm and serene. Nodding off should be effortless.

One of the masterpieces of this home is the upstairs bath. Built by a master craftsman who built Lyman boats, the same precision is easily seen in the Philippine mahogany of the cabinets and unique shower stall.

Hidden at the foot of the stairs is a certificate the Hunekes received in 1994 from the Huron Chamber of Commerce awarding them with the Annual Beautification Award.

The couple deserve it. They have taken what could well have been an average house and turned it into a colonial showplace. They knew exactly what they wanted and then spent the time and effort to get it just they way they envisioned.

Mary Kay said, "It was a lotta, lotta work." And before she even finished the sentence, Jeff added, "But it was a lot of fun." And they both nod and laugh.