John Stevens, a Horseheads native, studied architecture at Cornell University, and his wife Rosemary, originally from Owego, is a Cornell graduate, but the two did not cross paths on campus. They met later, when Rosemary was employed with Corning Inc. and John, an independent electrician, was doing work there.
John had purchased a Craftsman-style house in the Village of Horseheads in 1993 from the Shappee estate. The original owner, who built the house in 1920, was James Shappee, a prominent citizen and foundry owner. His caricature by famed cartoonist Zim hangs in the Zim Center in Horseheads. James' wife Febe was a Horseheads school principal.
When Rosemary, an interior designer, first saw the house, she recognized its "good bones," and thought it was well worth preserving and updating. So the couple went to work on it, doing most of the labor themselves. "We worked on the house every day after work," Rosemary recalls, "and every weekend." They are still working on it.
John did extensive rewiring and updated the heating system. Rosemary, who now operates her own interior design firm under the name of "Designs by Rody," masterminded the aesthetics. "I wanted to keep the house in character and bring it forward as it would have evolved through the years," she explains. "Houses talk to you," Rosemary adds.
The 3+ bedroom, 4 full bath, almost 4000 square foot house is listed by Kristen Dininny, a real estate agent with Signature Properties. There's a map here.
Of course, where I live, a house like this would sell for well over $450,000, even with the market falling a bit in the past year. It's almost tempting to move to New York and try to make a living doing freelance work or by beefing up this site and trying to make some money from the advertising ... the $200,000 cash I'd walk away with from the sale of my own smaller home would cover expenses for several years.