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New and Old Memories are a stroll down Drury Lane

July 27, 2016

A late evening walk following the curved and flowered path of the Simmon’s 4306 Drury Lane home leads you to the sounds of a small running stream, which is certainly an inviting surprise in our urban neighborhood. The stream was designed and installed by a long-time former owner who tied it in with the homes down-spouting and sistern system which utilizes rainwater runoff and runs around most of the perimeter. All of the stacked flagstone bordered beds have been planted with a variety of perennials and annuals, as well as the backyard which has been the site of Ellen’s most recent gardening project. The generous eaves, built-in benches and pots of flowers on their front porch welcome you to sit and take in the view of the winding street, towering trees and sounds of water which these fairly recent southwest Fort Wayne previous homeowners certainly did not have. And Drew and Ellen couldn’t be happier. Ellen remarked excitedly that in the past year and a half that they have lived in Southwood Park she has met dozens of neighbors and friends from gardening, taking walks and more recently from filling a seat on our own neighborhood board, than the six years in their previous new home.

Crossing the threshold of this Award Home, one can certainly feel the history and appreciate the original architecture of the 1921 Craftsman. A series of three original divided light windows in the Simmons living room provide beautiful views of trees, the window-boxes as well as natural light. A tudor-style brick and stucco fireplace centered on the right side of the living room between two higher windows provides a cozy place to read. The opposite side of the living room provides a smaller and separate solarium with a sofa and more natural light. For only recently purchasing their “new” 95-year old home in the spring of 2015, the Simmons have already made significant changes. The formerly patterned wall to wall navy blue carpet in the living and dining rooms has been replaced with a darker walnut engineered plank floor. Fresh coats in a warm light grey cleanly contrast with the 6-inch wide white trim throughout and lets an energetic trellis-pattern yellow and white rug in the living room pop. The balance of updated colors and patterns contrasts harmoniously with original light fixtures, most notably the flush mount multi-tiered drop crystal chandelier in the dining room which throws intricate patterns across the ceiling. A lovely double light sconce rescued from the original St. Mary’s Church rectory is mounted on the wall at the bottom of a handsome open staircase with landing. The kitchen is original and is slated to be renovated for better use of space and more counters but has a fantastic old porcelain countertop and sink combination. The upstairs bathroom is original as well with white subway tile, cast iron tub and pedestal sink. It has the classic drying porch with outside door and is also planned for renovation yet this year with new vintage tile for floors and walls and a (fabulous) space-saving rectangular porcelain-topped vanity around the corner in the guest bedroom awaiting installation. The hallway and three bedrooms upstairs also have period light fixtures, some original and some reproduction, original 2-inch strip hardwood floors and freshly painted walls that enhance the white trim and original stained wood doors. Ellen obviously using her sharp eye for antiques and vintage-style furniture and accessories, mixes in modern patterns giving the 20’s home a modern eclectic freshness. I was generously “invited” to also tour their attic, which thrilled me to no end. It has a steep but relatively short flight of stairs which then opens a counterweighted trap door. The walls are covered by older pressboard and obviously a fun childhood hideout, bearing wonderful drawings, age height measurements and words by children of families past. The steep peaks of the roof line make it easy to stand and walk around and being that you’re on the third floor and able to see out a full size Drury Lane facing window, you feel as if you are in one of the 100 year old trees in the yard. Magic!

Much like the drawings and words left by owners of the past, I have a feeling that Drew and Ellen Simmons will also continue to leave their mark on this wonderful Southwood Park home. We look forward to what they say and wish them many happy years making memories of their own!

Erika Stuller


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