Janice Collins can look out her kitchen window and see the apartment where she lived as a little girl with her family.
“The bottom apartment on this side,” Janice said as she pointed across her backyard, “is where we lived from the time I was probably one and a half until mother and daddy bought their first house when I was around 5 or 6 years old.”
In 2014, Janice bought a quaint bungalow on West Campbell Street in South Frankfort. “When this came on the market, I thought, I’ll go home,” she recalled. “I’ve always lived in Frankfort, just not always in South Frankfort.”
Returning to her childhood neighborhood has brought back happy memories. “I like that I can walk to town and walk to church. The fun part for me is that when I walk the streets that I lived on as a child, I see where we used to play hide and seek or hopscotch.”
At one point, we lived behind Rogers Funeral Home and there used to be this rock in the front wall that you could wiggle. My friend and I would write notes and leave them there for each other. So, it’s neat to walk around and think about those things.”
Janice is also happy to have her daughters and their families close by. “Now, both my girls, Karen and Ellen, live within three blocks,” she remarked. “Usually, every Tuesday night is family night at my house so they’ll come over and I’ll cook dinner for everyone. South Frankfort is in my heart, I guess,” Janice said.
Comfortable and cozy
Janice’s three bedroom, two bath home was built in the late 1800s. Next door is a house of similar style — like a fraternal twin, alike but not identical. “My neighbor told me that he believes the houses were built by cousins who wanted to live next door to each other,” Janice explained. “If so, it’s a nice story.”
Visitors enter the welcoming front yard through a black, iron gate that might have a little squeak now and then. Decorative latticework graces the corners of the porch columns.
Janice explains that the configuration of the house was changed at some point. She believes, after talking with a friend of a former owner, that there was an addition built, which includes the two additional bedrooms, a bathroom and relocating the kitchen. “You can tell because the ceilings are lower in the addition,” she said. “The way it’s set up is perfect for me now.”
To the right of the front foyer is a living room with a fireplace and large windows. A basket of colorful yarn balls and comfortable seating make the room inviting. The entry from the living room leads to the dining room and kitchen.
In the large, square kitchen situated on the back of the house, light streams in through the windows. “That window is one of the things I fell in love with when I was looking at this house,” Janice said. “It’s an old-fashioned kitchen, I’d say. When I bought this house my friends asked if I was going to add an island in the middle. I told them, ‘I’m fine with it the way it is. There’s plenty of counter space and besides, my friends don’t want to stand around an island. They want to sit down!’”
“I really didn’t have to do much to the inside of the house,” Janice explained. “I painted the whole house, had the floors refinished and removed a couple of cabinets in the kitchen to make space for a family piece. Where I did a lot of work was in the yard!” There are several birdfeeders with flittering birds around them and lovely beds of flowers in the backyard. A gigantic Gingko tree stands watch as the center attraction of the landscaping.
Furniture tells her story
The decor of Janice’s home is warm and traditional. “I enjoy taking a house and making it my own. I’m not fancy — it’s just comfortable and who I am.”
Walking through the house, Janice points out pieces of furniture, recalling, “Daddy gave this to mother for Christmas one year. And this was my grandmother’s table. That chair came from the old Haviland place in Cynthiana. Most all of the China in that cabinet is from my family with the exception of a piece or two.”
Most of the furniture in her home didn’t come from a “new store,” Janice said. “They are mostly family pieces or from auctions. I just really like to look at my things and know the story behind it. To me, the furniture tells my story — my history. Sometimes I feel like I have all my family here surrounding me and that feels good.”