Ro grew up in a classic 70s-era split level home at 3230 East York Ridge Lane in Lee’s Landing, Iowa.
It was one of several dozen virtually identical homes on the cull de sac. While the original developer had made some effort at individualization – using different treatments for the portico over the front door and/or a variety of exterior coverings, like faux stone or shake-shingle siding – they all had the exact same lot dimension – eighty-feet wide by a hundred-and-twenty-feet deep – the exact same four-level, three bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath interior layout; the garage and driveway in the exact same position; even down to the single maple tree in the center of every front yard that after thirty years finally began to look like a real tree.
But Mike Delahanty, like several of the owners, had added his own touch of uniqueness to the cookie-cutter place by building a porch-like deck across the front accessible from the driveway up several wooden stairs.
The Delahanty’s home was on the north side of the cul de sac; like all the other properties on that side of the street, it was backed up against a grove of mature trees along the boundary marking the edge of the city’s Meadows on Shadowbrook Golf Course.
The entry to the house was really a short hallway. An archway on the left led to the living room filled with high-end casual furniture and lots of modern art, all thanks to Kate Delahanty’s design skills and catalogs of furnishings.
The dominant mood-setting feature, though, was a reproduction of her favorite artwork, Howard Hodgkin’s abstract “Keep It Quiet,” with its bold swaths of burnt orange, deep red, and a smattering of browns and blacks. It was the first thing you saw when you glanced into the living room from the entrance foyer. The view through the room’s several near floor-to-ceiling windows was of the deck and the maple tree and street beyond.
Behind the living room was the kitchen and a large, casually furnished dining room with a big picture window looking over the grassy yard and the grove of tall trees beyond.
The first floor’s color motif, also Kate’s influence, was a bold contemporary rich cream with a relaxing sky-blue accent.
To the right of the entranceway were two short sets of stairs, one leading up, the other down.
The “up” stairs accessed the bedroom level. Off a central hallway to the right was the bathroom Ro and her brother used and then Kate’s and Mike’s master suite, with its own dressing area and bath. Patrick’s bedroom was the first on the left, Ro’s the second.
The “down” stars took you into a long family-TV room, which was behind the garage. A sliding glass door led into the backyard. This level had its own half-bath.
Another short set of stairs led from the family room down to the home’s fourth level, under the living room and kitchen-dining area. Originally intended for entertaining, with a bar and adjacent game room, Kate used the bar area as the home office for her business, Kate Delahanty Design, and Mike used the adjacent game room, accessible through a set of French doors, as his den cum music room.
Kate’s home office had wall-mounted bracket shelves with big books of fabric wall coverings and window treatment samples and office and commercial furniture catalogs. Her “desk” was a large slab of inch-thick black particle board set on a pair of stainless-steel sawhorses. The walls were decorated with large posters from her favorite musical groups, like the Warhol-inspired Beatles’ “Sea of Color” poster and the Chicago band’s poster featuring a silhouette of a saxophone blowing hearts.
Mike’s smaller and cozier den-music room was furnished with his big recliner, a loveseat, an end table and a floor lamp, but was dominated by one entire wall of thick, two-by-twelve board shelving Mike had built to house his several hundred vinyl albums and CDs. Most were his extensive collection of classical music, with a smaller, but noticeable portion dedicated to Kate’s preferred 60s and 70s rock artists − Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, Elton John, the Eagles, and Bonnie Raitt.
Both rooms had their own stereo systems.
In other words, while there were lots well-used common family areas in the house, each member also had their own space they could retreat to.
Next: Ro’s bedroom
© 2019 Dave Lager