Henry and Joanne Moran moved to smaller quarters without leaving the Kendall Place home they love.
They simply moved items from the second floor or the basement to the first floor and created a cozy one-story “apartment.”
“I like it real well,” said Henry Moran, a retired truck driver. “When I come into the back door, I’m home. I don’t have to go upstairs or downstairs.”
Joanne Moran said she had known couples who left their long-time homes for smaller places as they grew older. She said she and her husband did not want to leave the 100-year-old house, where they have lived since 1967.
“We wanted to do this before health became an issue,” she said. “Henry had two knee surgeries. That got us to thinking, we don’t have a bedroom downstairs. I slept with him on the sofa downstairs.”
A downstairs bedroom was the first task.
“It was more than just bringing a bed downstairs, Moran said. “We took a living room and converted it into a bedroom.”
The Morans put a mattress atop a hide-a-bed, using the sofa back as the headboard. A bench and nightstands from Hattie’s House and Vintage Market provided needed storage places.
Two heavy pocket doors — one at the entry, one at the den — turn the bedroom into a private space. They also created a seating area by the fireplace, which Joanne Moran said she didn’t want to give up.
They also moved items from Moran’s office, where she wrote lesson plans for a First Baptist Church Sunday School class she taught for more than 47 years. She also wrote study books for the Christian company LifeWay.
Her office had once filled an entire sunroom upstairs, with file cabinets, drawers and stacks lining one wall and a desk taking up another wall.
“I didn’t try to bring all my files. They’re still up there,” she said. “I’ve just been bringing stuff down as we needed it. Just to enjoy it.”
Some supplies ended up on top of a window seat in the den. She keeps them within reach of an easy chair that faces a TV.
“That’s kind of my sun space, my personal office space,” she said. “That’s where I write notes. I always had a desk in the den, so I just wanted to create downstairs what I had upstairs.”
Other office supplies moved to a former breakfast room they made into an office/laundry room. Books are shelved on a corner chest. The chest’s old door became a frame for some of Moran’s old books.
Carpenter Lane Davis built a laundry closet for the washer and dryer the Morans moved up from the basement. White louvered doors hide the appliances.
Rollers and sticky hooks particularly prove to be handy in this room. Rollers on a table enable Moran to use it for folding laundry or surplus desk work. Sticky hooks enable her to hang wet washcloths on the washing machine.
Davis also installed a shower stall in a first floor half bathroom, Moran said. Outside the remodeled bath is a vessel sink with a dark, historic looking cabinet and a faucet reminiscent of a water pump. An adjacent closet and a cubbyhole at the foot of the stairs offer space for a vanity and dresser.
“We tried to maintain as much of the character of the house as we can,” she said.
They made minimal changes in the kitchen. A few steps offer a shelf for cookbooks. Two stools sit by a window counter.
“I like to sit there and watch people go into the bank, walking up and down the street,” Henry Moran said. “So many people riding bicycles now.”
The house is south of Armstrong Bank.
Joanne Moran said they often use the back door as their main entry.
The Morans left plenty of furniture, clothing and other things upstairs. That keeps the home welcoming for family visits.
“The bedrooms are still intact,” Joanne Moran said. “And there is a den upstairs.”
The downstairs apartment has worked out well,” she said. “Henry may run, though, if he hears me say ‘I have an idea.’ He is so good at being able to do many things we needed done.”