If a guest ever walked up to the house of Steve and Cris Dunivan, they would enter a realm of a bygone era. The house, the clothes, and other relics contained in the residence are from eras past, put on display for the Dunivan's friends and family to see.
"Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to live in an old house," Cris Dunivan said. Her humble abode was built in 1908, which makes the house 103 years old. "While not a Victorian house, it is a foursquare or arts and craft, but it was right after the Victorian era," she said.
She became fascinated with the house when she and her husband, Steve, moved from the Front Range nine years ago. "This was the second house we looked at, and we fell in love with it," she said. They looked at a couple other houses, but the other places could not compare in her eyes.
"When we bought this house, we decided we wanted to name it the Lily of the Valley," she said. Which is why the wallpaper in the house is lily themed. While they initially wanted to open a bed and breakfast, they decided to go a different route. "Steve works at the technical center and knows quite a few students who come from different parts of the state, so maybe we will board students while they go to school," she said. Either way, she hopes to use the house in a way that is helpful to people.
Although the house is more than a hundred years old, it is not on the historic register. "I don't know when it will be on there, but we have been told it will eventually be on the list," she said.
Along with the old house, Cris likes collecting antique things, especially from the Victorian Era. One piece in particular that is a favorite of Mrs. Dunivan is a black Victorian Era dress on display by the staircase. "It is a true Victorian Era dress or gown, I am really pleased with it," Chris said. The black Victorian gown is one of the many items that she has collected over the years.
She began her collection of Victorian things for close to a quarter of a century. "The last 20-25 years, I have been attracted to the Victorian era," she said. "I really like the look of the Era," Cris explained. Not everything in her array of clothes and knick-knacks are Victorian, but date back to the time period.
Four rooms in the house are themed by past era clothes, sewing machines, and spinning wheels. "Every room has some item in it. I plan on decorating the upstairs rooms with era things by the time I am done," she said.
But her love of old things wasn't always the case.. "I hated old things, I wanted an old house, but I hated old stuff," she said. Cris changed her mind about old objects when family members passed down mementos and heirlooms. "You really start liking history and things once you start having a history of your own," Dunivan said.
When her husband started collecting war memorabilia in the mid nineties, Cris tagged along and started adding more things to her collection. Steve was going to buy an old military uniform jacket to put his father's war medal on, but was told that the jacket had its own history. "That is when he caught the bug," Cris said.
Since then, the couple have made trips to different states to add to their different collections. "We have gone to Oklahoma, Idaho, Nebraska for particular antiquing trips and anytime we take a trip, we stop at an antique shop," she said. They often make trips to local antique shops as well. "I don't buy anything online, because I really don't know how," Cris said with a laugh.
Her children, now adults, used to endure trips to different shops of antiquity with mom and dad. "They used to hate it when we would drag them to the antique shops," she said. "Now I think they can appreciate it a little bit more," she added.
Shopping for Victorian era things can be a bit pricey, so some of the items in her house may be worn or have holes, but that doesn't really matter to Cris. "It's the history, every item has some type of story," she said.
Cris and Steve have been married for 35 years, which was celebrated recently. "It was a big one," she commented on the importance of the years together. "We compliment each other well," she said. They have two adult children, one grandchild, and another one on the way.blog comments powered by Disqus