Page 9 - Discover Fall 2020
P. 9

Tiny Renovation

                                                                                               By Kate Hofstetter

               It’s not every day that you find an              such as the roof line and front porch, appear
        abandoned house filled with fine furniture... one       to be American Farmhouse. The white trim
        that is free for the taking.                            over the exterior window-tops has a Colonial
                                                                look. Perhaps the style should be described as
               However, that’s exactly what happened
                                                                “an American two-story”. In other words: no
        while Peter Cadotte and his friend, John, were on
                                                                particular style, just a combination of some
        an errand in Newport News, VA. Their business
                                                                popular architectural features that add up to
        took them through a neighborhood and past a
        home that was in foreclosure.
                                                                       It is believed that the house is over 30 years
               There beyond the front lawn of the empty
                                                                old. Based on the amount of detail in furnishings
        house, resting against the curb amid the remnants
                                                                and decorations, it was likely the hobby of its
        of a hasty move, was a large dollhouse waiting
                                                                original owner. In later years, it probably became
        to be hauled away with the garbage. Its roof was
                                                                the toy of a child or children, which would explain
        badly damaged, and its paint faded and worn,
                                                                the broken furniture. In one room, there is a
        but clearly it had been a beauty in its day. Peter
                                                                framed “pinkie-nail” photo of a young girl who
        stopped to examine the house more closely, and
                                                                could probably shed some light on the house’s
        found several interesting pieces of dollhouse
                                                                history. The portrait will remain fixed to the wall
        furniture and accessories. Some were scattered
                                                                and become the property of the next owner.
        throughout the rooms of the dollhouse; others
        heaped together in a large plastic container. He               “Wednesday Women could use that
        knew that the furniture alone would be worth            dollhouse for our annual sale,” Frances told her
        hundreds of dollars to collectors.                      son, who by this time regretted the amount of
                                                                space that the ramshackle house was eating up in
               He also thought of the child whom his
                                                                his garage.
        brother and sister-in-law were expecting. On
        impulse, he bundled up the house and all the               Wednesday Women is a social and
        pieces of furniture and parts that he could find,       philanthropic club made up of  members of
        and took them home. His intention was to                Resurrection Catholic Church. As the name
        restore the house for his unborn niece. Instead of      implies, the women meet each Wednesday at the
        a niece, however, he was blessed with a nephew,         Church in Moneta. Their biggest event each year
        now 9 months old, named Francois. The priority          is a sale of homemade crafts and baked goods.
        of making repairs to the little house suddenly          During this sale, there is a drawing for one special
        shrank.                                                 item. This year, it would be the dollhouse that was
                                                                rescued from certain death in some landfill on
               Then, while visiting her son one day last
                                                                Virginia’s eastern shore.
        summer, Peter’s mother, Frances Cadotte, spotted
        the dollhouse in a corner of his garage. It was                “As soon as I saw it, I knew just the
        still in pieces, but its potential was obvious to       person who could bring that dollhouse back to
        her. There is some debate about the style of the        life,” Frances declares, “and that person is Gerri
        house: some of its features are Victorian; others,      Williams. She has worked magic on two or three

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