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Gracious homes ready for special tour
Gracious homes ready for special tour
By SUE REID
The magic Gates Mills resident Susan Fogg created in her 1960s French colonial begins even before one enters the front door.
Outside the light gray, stucco home, located at the northernmost edge of the village, is a courtyard where Ms. Fogg's tranquil, small gardens blooming with hydrangeas, pink geraniums and hosta plants, form a perfect picture of serenity. It is also the spot where butterflies and hummingbirds flock to in the late afternoon, she said.
"This U-shaped house is built around a courtyard," Ms. Fogg said. "That's what makes it so unusual." It is also one of the features that attracted her to the home four years ago, she said.
"There are so many great things about this house," she said. Many of its outstanding features, including large bay windows, beamed ceilings, moldings and arched doorways, were already present when she purchased the home, she said.
What Ms. Fogg went on to do was add her special design touches, working alongside architect Marc Graham. In just four months, she gave the near 4,000-square-foot home a makeover, enhancing the flow from room to room. As her house makes clear, Ms. Fogg is as imaginative as she is eclectic. Her art and furnishings mix old beautifully with new, and represent a lifelong collection of pieces, many of which hold special meaning.
"It is a real conglomeration of things," she said.
Ms. Fogg's home joins six others featured in this month's "Gracious Homes of Gates Mills and Hunting Valley" home tour, sponsored by the Hillcrest Hospital Auxiliary. It will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 28. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Hillcrest Hospital Gift Shop in Mayfield Heights, as well as Howard Hanna Smythe Cramer locations in Gates Mills, Mayfield Heights, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Pepper Pike, Hudson and Bay Village. No tickets will be sold the day of the event, and no one under 12 is permitted to attend.
For information, call Gerry L. Schlak, coordinator of volunteer services for Hillcrest Hospital, at (440) 312-3470.
Proceeds from the tour will benefit the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. This year, the auxiliary hopes to raise $40,000 through this first home tour, said Kathy Vilas, an Auburn resident and Hillcrest Hospital's board of governors president.
"We hope to make the '2008 Gracious Homes of Gates Mills and Hunting Valley' tour especially memorable as 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of Hillcrest Hospital and its auxiliary," Mrs. Vilas said.
She said that the homeowners selected for the tour "were so gracious and supportive of it."
"I am both complimented and flattered," Ms. Fogg said. This is not the first tour she has been selected for. Her former residence in Chagrin Falls Village was on the that historical tour of homes over a decade ago.
"I've developed an eye for things" over the years, she said. A retired shop owner, Ms. Fogg artfully combines antiques with modern touches as evidenced in her kitchen, where a farmhouse table and wood-and-beam ceilings pair wonderfully with honed granite counter tops, maple cabinetry with charcoal stain and an expansive island. Transfer-ware plates, a favorite collected by Ms. Fogg, dot the walls.
"It is one of the things I've been attracted to," Ms. Fogg said of the ceramic technique out of England, "as well as things with flower and fruit.
"I've always been attracted to things old and cruddy that have a lot of history," she said. Some of Ms. Fogg's art was handed down from her mother, a "weekend artist," while other decorative items are "true antiques."
The home's first floor features Ms. Fogg's master suite, as well as a formal dining and living area. The formal dining room, once a coat closet, features large columns, which give it a grand appeal. The home has four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths and three fireplaces.
One of the fireplaces is found in the home's first-floor family room, where comfort takes center stage. There, an acrylic painting of Ms. Fogg's daughter Molly, who also resides in Gates Mills, graces the wall.
Her favorite room of the house, she said, is the kitchen, where she regularly entertains for a variety of occasions, including holidays and wedding and baby showers. "It offers a nice flow for entertainment," Ms. Fogg said of the room. "It's perfect for smaller groups."
Decorating her home is a continual process, she said. "You think I'd be done," Ms. Fogg said with a laugh, "but I continue to discover and collect things along the way."
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