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Texas Tudor Style Cottage
by Dr. Oneida Cramer

American flags wave all summer long on the backyard deck of the 1926 Tudor style cottage that is home to Rebecca and Harry Chapman and their Yorkshire terrier, Sweetie.

?I really need two houses,? Rebecca said. ?The Tudor style house?English theme. And I need a farmhouse. But I only have one home?a Texas cottage.? So, Rebecca compromised by creating an ambience that combines both?English and primitive American rural heritage?a very democratic thing to do, so to speak.

In addition its exterior English fa?ade, the home was constructed with materials brought over from Europe.

?Back in the 20?s, the neighborhood was developed by architects and builders that were coming home from the war in Europe, Rebecca said. ?They were greatly influenced by what they had seen in Europe. That?s where the Tudor style came from?England, of course.? And people sometimes brought stained glass back with them. In fact, the stained glass windows in the Chapmen Cottage originally came from an old church in Europe, according to information given to Rebecca by the previous owners. Specifically, two windows were put in?one is three panels of red and gold with black trim located in the dining room, and the second is in the living room?a Fleur-de-leaf oval, which is flanked by two old portraits Rebecca brought back from England.

The Chapmans wanted to add more natural sunlight to a third room (originally a bedroom) off the eastern side of the dining room. So, they replaced two small wall windows with ten-foot French double doors and then painted a coat of Behr French Vanilla, thus, transforming the room into a bright beautiful sunroom.

?It?s my morning room,? Rebecca said. ?I sit in there in the morning, have my coffee?sit with my dog?and we read.? The room is accented with garden accessories, for instance, an old green drying rack from Tennessee and an antique child?s red wheelbarrow. Outside is a view of the yellow jasmine that Rebecca planted along the fence, as seen through the French doors, which open on a small deck with steps down to a flagstone path going towards the backyard. And on the spacious lawn is a second larger deck with Adirondack furniture and an umbrella for shading.

?I grew up on a farm in Clyde (Texas), ? Rebecca said. My dad had horses and cattle and Dairy Queens all over the state. So, I?m a country girl.? After her mother died when Rebecca was only three, her father raised her on the farm, which had a dark interior and furniture that Rebecca often rearranged, all the while, planning her own future home, mentally filling it with the things that she loved.

So, almost nostalgically, Rebecca has today created a Texas theme in the master bedroom. However, not all the furnishings come from Texas. Beside the bed, which has a handmade twig headboard that makes a very strong country look, according to Rebecca, is a very old, heart shaped, side table, circa 1880, from Tennessee. The large dresser, which looks somewhat like an armoire, is English. But Texan to the wood is an old farmhouse mantel from South Texas. Flaking with peely-paint, the mantle fa?ade lines the bedroom wall. And in front of it hangs an antique quilt on a rack---kind of like a fake fire, says Rebecca.

When she?s not fixing up her own home, Rebecca works with antiques and collects old quilts and hook rugs along with English/French Majolica pottery. While on an antique buying trip to England, Rebecca became infatuated with all the flower gardens and widespread use of picket fences. So, she imported the idea into her own front and back yard white picket fencing along with another English custom.

?We do refer to our house as Chapman Cottage,? Rebecca said. ?That is its official name. The house is Tudor style; it?s English style. In England, they name their houses. If they have a huge home, it?s a manor or estate. If it?s a small home, it?s a cottage.? So, in English style, on the side door of the house is an old street sign of a black iron silhouette rooster holding a placard inscribed, Chapman Cottage.

Once inside the kitchen, the pineapple shaped chandelier means welcome, according to Rebecca. Other than the chandelier, the d?cor is primitive farm, especially the copper kitchen countertops, an unusual design idea using a very old kitchen surface.

?Copper is such an old material like copper pots cookware,? Rebecca said. ?I wanted to go with something that?s been around a long time, like really primitive. A friend whose daughter uses copper counter tops and another friend who lives in an old-old farmhouse in the country and has copper counter tops, referred Rebecca to Cadillac Sheet Metal, who then crafted and installed the countertop. ?It tarnishes. But we can clean that with comet.? Vinegar and salt, an old-time remedy for cleaning copper, tends to tarnish more quickly than cleaning with comet. ?Yet, the comet doesn?t take the copper down to a really shiny finish because I didn?t want it to look brand new. I want it to look like we use it.? In addition to getting the look she wants, the copper countertops also allow her to keep the very old porcelain coated cast-iron sink that was built in the original house. Like the old stain glass windows, this sink dates back to a time before the construction of the house.

Outdated by today?s style of living is the butler?s pantry, a small room built between the kitchen and dining room of many Tudor style homes. It was usually equipped with built-in storage cabinets and small working space. But it offered little practical use for the Chapmans. So, they pulled out the cabinetry and replaced it with a zinc lined, old dry sink, circa 1850, used to wash dishes before the advent of indoor plumbing. And they converted the remaining area into a small breakfast nook. Although modern in function, the room looks very primitive and can be seen, along with the other rooms in the house, by going to

-by Dr. Oneida Cramer
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