The lovely brick Italianate house at 108 North Huron was built in the 1850s. William B. Clarke bought the house in 1860. The Clarke family and their descendants lived there until 1934, when the house was sold and fell on hard times. Lawyers eventually leased the house for office space.
When Bonnie Penet bought the house in 1979, it had been divided into four apartments. She married Ed Penet in 1983, and the house became their joint project. A catastrophic fire in November 2000 was a daunting setback but also an opportunity. Today, fully recovered from the fire, the house has new windows (the window frames in the living room in the front are original), oak flooring on the first floor (replacing the old pine that remains upstairs), a new banister, and a new overhang over the front door. In the modernized kitchen, both counter and cupboard space has been expanded. Friends of the Penets designed the rose motif sidelights that flank the front door. Bonnie and Ed have planted rose bushes nearby to compliment the windows.
Bonnie Penet’s whimsical artwork is everywhere in the house. Ed’s stage background is reflected in the modern theatrical lighting in the new dining room. The couple own lovely antique Asian artwork and furniture, tribal rugs from Iran and Afghanistan, and African masks. Be sure to notice the lacquered Asian plate on a wall in the living room.
Two interesting architectural highlights for tourgoers: the house does not have any load-bearing walls and the walls are twelve inches thick. Even though Huron is a busy street, the house is surprisingly quiet.