Fallston house is a showcase for collectibles 'A little corner of God's country'

Dream Home

July 28, 1996|By Karin Remesch | Karin Remesch,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Stuffed teddy bears sit on the steps, peeking through the banister in the foyer of the four-story brick Colonial home in Fallston. They share the stairway with ceramic dolls and animals.

An umbrella stand holds antique walking sticks. Just left of the entry, life-size cloth dolls rest on a bench beneath the window in the living room. Twin dolls share a seesaw and more dolls fill an old crib. A bell collection is on display in a curio; art and framed needlework hang side by side above a Victorian sofa.

Across the hall, tin cans in various shapes and sizes line the shelves in the country kitchen, baskets hang from the rafters and baking utensils from yesteryear fill an oak Hoosier that dates to the 1920s.

Jane Rook likes to collect -- anything. But she won't keep it if she can't use it, hang it or display it on a shelf.

"I like a lot of things and don't limit myself to particular items, but I don't store anything," Rook said.

So, through the years, especially since her six children began drifting from home, Rook has turned her large, five-bedroom house and surrounding eight acres of manicured lawns and lovely landscaping into a showcase for her collectibles.

"Some people even have called my house a museum," Rook said, laughing.

Others might call it a decorator's dream home with a different theme woven through each room.

Take the third-floor master bedroom, for instance. It's a tribute to Native American culture. An open antique trunk is filled with Indian dolls; bows and arrows decorate the walls along with pictures and porcelain plates painted with Indian scenes.

A life-size bronze Indian bust keeps watch from the night stand, and a quilt and Indian blankets cover the four-poster cherry wood bed.

"Indians are dear to my heart; I have studied a lot about them they lived their lives listening to an inner spirit and dedicated their lives to nature -- I admire them," Rook said.

She added: "A young boy once asked me if I wasn't afraid sleeping among Indian artifacts and I told him 'No, they are protecting me.' "

Down the hall, handmade quilts are on display in the Quilt Room. A quilt covers the bed and others hang in an open closet.

"I removed the doors from several closets in the house for better display," Rook said. "I don't like to hide anything."

Also in the room is an oak secretary discovered in a barn in Illinois. "It took years to get the smell of cow manure out of it," Rook explained.

Bonnets hang from a clothesline in the Amish Room, and the Peruvian Room holds South American treasures.

A Wicker Room, Civil War Room, Hat Room, a pool room and sun room on the first floor are also filled with collected items.

Bought 30 years ago, the house is home to her six children and 15 grandchildren, Rook said.

"This is a family home, and everybody is invited to celebrate family parties here," Rook said.

Rook's interest in antiques started during the Depression when she was a child and discovered her first iron toy truck.

Through the years, she has found collectibles at antiques shops, flea markets and art shows. She refinishes her findings and also does all the painting and wallpapering in the house.

"Mom can mix a gallon of this paint and a gallon of that paint and come up with a color that will be featured in a home magazine six months later," said Rook's daughter, Chris Wasmer. A local artist, Wasmer shares her mother's love for antiques.

Rook's passion for collectibles also is very much evident outdoors. Sitting in the driveway are restored buggies and wagons used and discarded by a-rabs in Baltimore.

A lighthouse leads the way to the in-ground swimming pool, and the blades of a wooden windmill turn in the breeze.

At age 71, Rook does all her own gardening. Every five days, she hops onto her tractor and mows acres of lush green grass. At other times, she tends to her many colorful flowers and shrubs.

"I feel I have a little corner of God's country, and I enjoy keeping it up."

Pub Date: 7/28/96

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