EAST GRAND RAPIDS, MI – In this Republican stronghold, it’s not unusual to find home owners who can boast that former President Gerald R. Ford once visited or attended a party in their homes.
Elizabeth Welch has her share of Ford memorabilia hanging on the walls of her 88-year-old Tudor home in this upscale suburb. Her mother was a close friend of Betty Ford.
But Welch, a lawyer who is active in local Democratic circles, also can boast she hosted former President Bill Clinton in her home as he campaigned for his wife Hillary in February 2016.
“I’m very politically active,” says Welch, who has also hosted events for former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters.
Welch recently put her 88-year-old Tudor home on the market for $899,000 with Realtor Lindel Hoff of Griffin Properties.
Originally built for one of the founders of the Johnson Furniture Co., the brick and limestone manor at 955 Cambridge Drive SE takes its place along a tree-lined street of elegant homes built as Grand Rapids became established as a furniture manufacturing center.
The home’s original quarter-sawn oak flooring still glows warmly in the front of the home, whose elegant foyer includes a walnut staircase with carved balusters and newel posts. An old-style telephone is kept in an elegant niche.
Rich eight-paneled doors with their original hardware connect the front rooms, all of which have molded plaster cove moldings.
The living room includes a cozy reading niche that still has the original leaded glass windows while replacement windows keep out the draft in other rooms. A set of double doors leads to a sun room that overlooks the shaded patio and backyard.
The home’s furniture industry pedigree really shines in the library, where the walls are paneled in a rich cherry and include carved wood panels that are original to the home. For Welch, the library was the favorite place to hang out and relax in the evening.
The kitchen was enlarged and updated about 15 years ago and includes an eight-burner Viking gas range and double ovens. The breakfast nook is brightened by a bay window and built-in china cabinets with a desk for home management tasks.
At the top of the stairs, there’s a comfy sitting area for hanging out. The master bedroom includes a small porch overlooking the shady backyard.
The master suite includes a bathroom that was recently updated with a freestanding soaking tub, glass-walled shower and double vanities. Adjoining the master bath is a home office that could be used as a bedroom or remodeled into a large walk-in closet.
Two other bedrooms are linked by a Jack and Jill bathroom that also received a recent updating.
Down the hallway and past a small Juliette balcony that overlooks the backyard, there’s another bedroom and bathroom that originally served as quarters for the maid. A narrow backstairs leads from the hallway to the kitchen area.
The basement includes a 34-foot long family room with a wet bar, game tables and a wide-screen television over the stone fireplace. A laundry room, a home workshop and storage areas also are located in the basement.