Lima historic home teaches the art of compromise
LIMA, NY — Frank and Linda Bassett both grew up in old farmhouses with ample space and charming details like pocket doors. Both of them feel at home in a large, historic home like the Cargill House on Rochester Street, but renovating and updating the home décor has been an achievement based on compromise.
“Marriage is about the art of compromise,” says Frank, “and sometimes the art of surrender.”
“I like new; he likes old,” Linda explains.
Frank stepped aside while Linda chose paint and décor colors for the dining room and kitchen. But Linda has no authority in Frank’s “man room,” where he combines his antique collectibles with eclectic flea market finds.
From the fish mounted on the wall to the working slot machine, Linda wants no part of this room, which is fine with Frank.
In addition to the man room, Frank and Linda and their two daughters have plenty of space for privacy or entertaining in four bedrooms, two baths, a family room, dining room, living room and kitchen. While making some modern updates to the home, like removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room to open it up, the couple has also been focused on preserving its historical integrity. The majority of updating the Bassetts have done has been with lighting and décor.
The home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Like the Draper House right down the street, the Cargill House – so named because of its first owner – is another rare example in Lima of Greek Revival architecture, and is thought to be linked to the Genesee Wesleyan campus. It shows many similarities to College Hall, built just two years prior and historians have theorized that the same builder designed and built the Cargill House.
“We realize that we are essentially the caretakers,” explains Frank.
Frank and his ex-wife bought the home prior to it even being listed by a realtor in 2000. His wife was out of town and he initiated the sale while sending pictures to her.
“I knew the minute I saw it.”
Though they removed an original but non-functional fireplace in the dining room, the Bassetts chose to update the fireplace in the living room while preserving its historical value. They added a modern gas insert but the original wood mantel remains.
The prior owner was a hobby carpenter and built the wood cabinets in the kitchen with leaded glass and the vanity in the downstairs bath. Frank and Linda had the trim and soffits modeled after the cabinets when they updated lighting in the kitchen.
Living in an older home means they have inherited important, original architectural design, along with not-so-important, but interesting trademarks left by previous owners.
In two of the dining room windows are names etched by visitors or residents in the late 19th century. Though inefficient, the Bassetts decided to keep the original windows to maintain the historic charm of the home.
Frank could not part with an unintentional mark left on the home by previous owners, or, rather their dog. At the top of the staircase outside the master bedroom, the dog had worn a spot in the carpet and gnawed at one of the banisters on the original wood staircase. Though the carpet has been replaced, Frank intentionally didn’t repair the banister.
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