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Lana's The Little House
Storybook English Cottage
Tours ~ Gardens ~ Retreat ~   Photo Backdrop

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 Buffalo News - "Check It Out" by Liz Hacken
 Date:  8/21/2003
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Check it OUT
By LIZ HACKEN
News Staff Reporter
8/21/2003


After years of searching for a unique residence, Lana Lewis knew she had found the perfect spot when she came upon an English cottage in Forestville.

"It was like falling in love for the first time," she said. "I got hit by that same lightning bolt."

The product of fantasy-inspired architects Roger Hoffman and Scott Warren, Lana's the Little House, as it is called, was built between 1980 and 1983, but it looks like it could be centuries old.

With a home this unique, Lewis knew she had to share it. She opened up Lana's the Little House to the public for tours about two months ago, and since then has had local and international visitors.

Lewis' home in the tiny Chautauqua County town has all the charm of a storybook cottage from the Cotswold region of England, right down to the lush garden and timber and stucco walls.

The guided tours last about an hour and a half. The key is to make the tours personal and not commercialized, keeping in line with the comforts of the home.

"I want to maintain the love and respect for the house and not alter the feel of the environment," she said.

Tours begin at the front lawn, where she introduces the home and several other buildings on the 21-acre property.

A small building, done in the same style as the cottage, was intended to house the architects' goats and chickens and was later converted into a playhouse.

The garden, which looks as if it had been growing there for centuries, spills
 

Check: Beauty is in
the charm and details

over the path that runs through it. Several stone benches in the garden make for picturesque relaxation spots.

Its beauty and charm is in the details. Antlers are haphazardly scattered around the exterior of the house. Trompe l'oeil (French for "to deceive the eye") style paintings of a letter forgotten on the steps leading upstairs and a basket of apples next to the fireplace trick visitors into thinking they're real.

Step into the cottage for the next leg of the tour. The craftsmanship put into the home are evident in the downstairs, with ceiling beams handcrafted by Amish and stained with a mixture of tobacco juice, ammonia and beer.

Lewis is still discovering new details about the house, even after living there for two years. She recently noticed a picket in the garden fence that was made of a crooked old twig, but it didn't look out of place.

She has devoted much of her time to uncovering and preserving the Little House's history like many of its previous owners. She is the first to live in the house year round, and is learning a lot about home maintenance. For instance, she didn't own a lawnmower before buying the cottage.

Previous owners also put the same care into maintenance. When Lewis bought the house, she was given detailed notes about what to do when things go wrong. After the roof was damaged recently, she referred to the notes and called local carpenter Bruce Stonefoot to replace the handcrafted shingles.

"He knows every little in and out on that roof," she said.

In addition to tours, Lewis is also open to making the house available for retreats, photo opportunities, and even weddings. There are nature trails in the wooded backyard to appeal to outdoors enthusiasts.

Lana's the Little House is something that has to be seen in order to appreciate its unique beauty. Tours of the Little House cost $20, and reservations are required. Call 965-2798 or visit http://www.lanasthelittlehouse.com/ for more information.