192 Oak Street

192 Oak Street

Near the end of World War I Ypsilanti carpenter Frank Lidke built several houses in the Oak-Forest neighborhood. Among them was the charming bungalow at 192 Oak Street. In 1920 he sold the new house to George Jackson, probably a farmer, and the father of seven-year-old Lucy. Lucy Jackson Gridley lived in the house for sixty-four years until she and her husband sold it in1984 to landscape architect Paul Sieron.

Sieron adapted the interior of the home to suit his tastes and utilized his landscaping skills to create the front gardens. The house and garden deteriorated with the next owner. Since 2010 the present owner, Karen Wongstrom, has freshened the interior with new paint and added her turnof- the-century antiques. She is currently restoring the front garden.

The bungalow style was popular throughout the United States from about 1890 through the early twentieth century. Typically one or one-anda- half stories (this house is one story) and strongly horizontal, the style was characterized by a gently sloping roof with wide overhanging eaves. Bungalows gradually lost popularity and by World War II were no longer being built. Today bungalows are once again valued for their practical designs, natural materials, and harmony within the landscape.

This particular example also used distinctive tapered Egyptian influenced window and door trim. As you enter, notice that the trim style is repeated in the rooms inside. Tambour doors, salvaged from the old School of Pharmacy at Wayne State University, and leaded glass panels, discovered in a Depot Town antique shop, were used by Paul Sieron to create the elegance of a vestibule separate from the living room. Antique shops in Depot Town also yielded the handsome oak mantle that surrounds a black marble fireplace and the built-in sideboard in the kitchen. Sieron divided the kitchen into cooking and family areas, retaining the original breakfast nook so popular in the 1920s.

The present owner has used rich but subdued colors to give a cozy craftsman feel to the interior, while not distracting from the light that floods in the windows and the delightful sense of being in nature. As you leave through the back door, you can still look out on a backyard little changed from when seven-year-old Lucy played under the oaks.