Real Estate April 11, 2023

The Gramma Cottage

As a Realtor, I could write a book about all of the craziness I’ve seen in this business. Let me tell you about a little house that that still has me scratching my head.

A few years ago, on an usually warm spring day, I pull up to a quaint ranch home in a perfectly tucked neighborhood just outside of Monaca. I arrived a few minutes before my appointment, & admired the adorable English-garden feel of the front flowerbeds as I worked my way up to the door. The lockbox in which the door was hung lead into a sunroom adorned with wicker furniture & floral-printed cushions. A floppy, overbrimmed sunhat had been precariously hung on the back of a thatched chair.

Before my client arrived, I zipped through the home getting my bearings & flicking on the lights. As I pulled open the curtains, streams of late-afternoon sun highlighted the brightly colored walls of each room.

The kitchen- a bright sunflower yellow. Fiesta wear & a collection of tea kettles – never meant for an open flame.

The living room – lavender – overwhelming yet pale at the same time. White distressed miniature tables tucked in the corners. Floral prints framed & perfectly placed in line with white door trim.


The master bedroom – periwinkle on each wall as well as the ceiling. A matching blue bedspread peppered with petite white flowers.


My client arrived, & even she, too, commented that it was as if each corner of each room was staged by a team of English-accented, tea-drinking grannies.

We work our way down to the basement where we see a throng of floral wreathes – rows upon rows – so many that each exterior door could have been decorated with a different one each month without repetition.

They were, however, hanging on a pegboard wall, & on that wall was a little tiny knob. Upon closer inspection, that tiny knob seemed to open a not-so-tiny door. My client was reading the label on the hot water tank, I called her over, “Laura, there must be extra storage space behind here!” Being ever so careful not to disturb the collection of floral garland, I turned the knob & tugged the door open a bit. There wasn’t enough light in the basement to spare for this secretive space. I tugged the door a big more, reached for my phone & shone the light inside.

What I expected was a collection of teddy bears or plastic totes of quilting scraps or anything else that matched the grandma-esque cottagey vibe. But what I saw was not any of those things. What I saw through the crack of light was a large tree stump – one from a tree that could have been 100 years old. It was flat, stable & came up about knee high. & there right in the middle of this stump, pitched at a 45 degree angle was the handle of a full-sized ax that was driven right into the center.

What the heck?! Why did this granny cottage have a hidden room in the basement?! Why did this hidden room look like it was made for beheading chickens or dismembering bodies?

Needless to say… the death room wasn’t mentioned in the property description.

If you ever need help selling an English cottage with a beheading room – I’m Always Here & Happy to Help!

Katina Hunter

Team Lead for the Katina Hunter Team with Coldwell Banker