A Lawrence house and its current owners weave their histories together

photo by: Mike Yoder

A southern exposure of 2135 Mass. St. shows the recent addition on the southwest corner of the home that includes a downstairs family room and a second-floor weaving room for Judith Taylor.

Two years ago when Rodney and Judith Taylor decided to move to Lawrence to be closer to family, they found the perfect home just three hours after walking through its front door.

Rodney didn’t hesitate. He thought the blue house with the wrap-around front porch at 2135 Massachusetts St. was perfect for them.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Rodney Taylor and his wife Judith moved to Lawrence from Boulder and bought the home at 2135 Mass. St. They remodeled some of the home adding a second-floor weaving room for Judith. The couple moved to Lawrence to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

It wasn’t their only quick decision over the years that turned out well. They decided to marry in 1970 after dating for just five weeks.

Next month they will celebrate 50 years of marriage, and their latest home reveals treasures collected along the way.

“We really love this house,” Rodney said.

Here in Lawrence, they have incorporated special pieces, large and small, that tell their story. From Tansu travel trunks that Judith picked up when she was studying in Japan to the wooden church pews that became living room furniture when they were just starting out, these functional pieces have remained part of their home’s decor.

photo by: Mike Yoder

An arched passageway between the dining room and a reading area inside the home of Judith and Rodney Taylor.

Included in the home is a large variety of religious art. Rodney was on the faculty of the University of Colorado, where he taught Chinese religions for 40 years.

The couple moved to Lawrence from Boulder, Colo., to be closer to their son, Dylan, his wife, Lauren Taylor, and their son, Rory. A daughter, Annika, lives in Australia.

On a recent morning, Judith was arranging threads on the large loom in the middle of a sunny second-story room. It’s where she creates weavings that she sells at the Phoenix Gallery, 825 Massachusetts St.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Judith Taylor works in her large weaving room in a remodeled area of their Lawrence home at 2135 Mass. St.

The room was added to the back of the house this fall. The potential for building the room was something that had attracted them to the house. They could see it being built atop the first-floor family room addition that the previous owners built. At that time, the upstairs space was a deck.

They worked closely on the addition with Mike Myers, a local architect. Natural Breeze Remodeling, the company that had built the family room, returned to build the upstairs room and do remodeling work in the upstairs bathroom and the kitchen.

Judith wanted mullioned windows low to the floor and facing both the south and west to let natural light into the weaving studio. She said the mullions, which are the inserts that divide the glass, added character to the 1905 four-square house.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Judith Taylor favors mullion windows and features them prominently in her second-floor weaving room along the west and a south-facing wall.

Built-in shelving covers the north wall. It’s filled with all types of yarn and weaving supplies. However, everything on the shelves can be hidden by four sliding barn doors created by Natural Breeze to run along a track.

“We love wood and glass,” said Rodney, who sells his turned wood pieces at the Phoenix Gallery.

For the floor, they selected a lesser grade of oak, which they thought had more character. The higher quality oak was milled too perfectly for their tastes.

Neil Gaskin, the owner of Natural Breeze, said they finished the downstairs family room addition, which is 22 by 22 feet, in 2013. It was built with the possibility of an upstairs addition one day. This past summer, they began on the upstairs.

For the bathroom floor, the Taylors chose original yellow pine that had been salvaged from Ernst & Son Hardware by Andy Martin Flooring when the store closed in 2018.

photo by: Mike Yoder

When the Taylors remodeled their home, they were able to obtain and incorporate some of the wood flooring from the former Ernst Hardware store in downtown Lawrence, after the store closed in 2018.

Although the Ernst family bought the building in 1905, the floor had been laid in 1890.

“This wood is that old,” Judith said, staring down at the floor. “Isn’t it amazing? It had been preserved under the counter in the store. It is so beautiful, I come in just to look at it.”

They appreciate the fact that Ernst opened the hardware store in 1905, the same year their house was built. Another tie to 1905 is in the dining room, where the original Stickley Mission Arts and Crafts bookcase from Rodney’s grandfather, built in that year, sits. It holds first editions of the naturalist John Muir’s books.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Rodney Taylor and his wife Judith in the dining room of their home at 2135 Mass. St. The couple moved to Lawrence from Boulder, CO., to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

“Virtually every piece in the house is historic,” Rodney said, pointing to another piece with a story, an old rocking chair made from grapevines. It belonged to Judith’s uncle, who kept a similar rocking chair at each of her aunt’s homes so he would have a place to sit when visiting.

They admit they never throw anything away. But why would they? After half a century together, they are still enjoying the stories their treasures tell.

More Lawrence homes

This Journal-World feature takes readers inside interesting Lawrence homes. Have a suggestion? Please contact us at news@ljworld.com.

Dec. 1 — Almost beyond repair: Lawrence couple gives midcentury house a second chance

Oct. 13 — Couple find cozy bungalow, community in East Lawrence

Sept. 22 — Sharing a roof works for this mother and adult daughter

Aug. 18 — Neglected eyesore transformed into a functional home

July 21 — North Lawrence home is a family heirloom

June 16 — For Lawrence woman, 19th-century house started as money pit but evolved into ‘my world’

April 29 — Owners believe they are just caretakers of restored early pioneer cottage

Feb. 26 — Couple begin with a blank sheet of paper and end up with their dream house

Jan. 21 — Couple renovates old Lawrence home for a mix of historic, modern

Nov. 30 — Well-known holiday house holds 45 years of Christmas memories

Oct. 7 — A look at a unique East Lawrence house with 54 windows


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