Home & Garden

Kenwick Bungalow Tour features nine homes (published in 2011)

The mailbox next to Engel's front door is a wicker basket that belonged to her mother.
The mailbox next to Engel's front door is a wicker basket that belonged to her mother.

Three years ago, Beth Engel was looking for a home that was smaller than her 5,000-square-foot house on South Ashland Avenue.

Engel and her daughters wanted to stay near downtown, close to Chevy Chase and to Wilson's Market on Cramer Avenue. As soon as she walked into the house at 131 Owsley Avenue, "I was at home," she said.

The Engel house is one of nine that will be open Sunday for the Kenwick Bungalow Tour. The Kenwick neighborhood, now a blend of traditional and modernized homes and gardens, was founded in 1909, built on the Wickliffe land holdings that once were the Ellerslie estate.

Engel's house is a 1920s Craftsman style.

"It's a much smaller home than we were used to, but that was a blessing in disguise," she said. "What didn't fit went out to charity. The previous owners did so much with upgrades, and they had wonderful taste. So all we really needed to do was paint to our taste and move our furniture in."

Engel is passionate about the yard and garden. There's a 200-year-old pin oak in the back yard, along with transplanted hostas from her grandmother's original 1960s garden in Poynette, Wis. The plants have traveled with Engel on every move. Engel was given a butterfly bush when her first daughter, Elizabeth, now 17, was adopted from China. Engel has another daughter, Jacquelyn, 14.

There's a great deal of family history in the Engel house.

"The butler's secretary in the living room was my great-grandmother's, who immigrated to the United States from Scotland," she said. "Her father used it at his home in Glasgow. He was a ship's captain, so it held numerous journals of his oceanic journeys.

"The cedar chest in the master bedroom was built by my father in 1949 for his mother in high school shop class in Wisconsin."

During the tour, refreshments will be served on the lawn of the neighborhood's oldest house, at 116 Lincoln Avenue.

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