Step into Kim Woodrosky’s “three-story loft” and your jaw drops.
That’s OK. Give yourself a few minutes to take it all in. You certainly didn’t expect this.
Outside, the house seems not too different from its neighbors, the modest, working-class buildings where generations of miners and factory workers used to live on North Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre.
But once you’re inside Woodrosky’s home, you’ll think you’ve wandered into a particularly Bohemian section of Greenwich Village.
This is, in fact, Woodrosky’s family homestead. Back in the 1940s, her grandmother, Mary Woodrosky, bought the place and ran Mary’s Market on the first floor while renting upper rooms to boarders. Decades later her dad, John Woodrosky, ran a pool hall on the premises.
Now it’s Woodrosky’s turn to live here, on three floors that are wide open since she had the non-supporting walls removed. It’s a place she never stops decorating.
“When I see something, I’ll know,” she said, speaking of items she might add to an impressive, eclectic collection that already includes a working pay-phone booth in the kitchen and four clocks set to the time zones of Venice, Greece, Korea and Cuba in the living room.
Out on the patio there’s a piece of art she created herself from the rear quarter panel of her old Corvette. A careless driver dented it; she applied Band-aids and hung it on the wall.
Her zebra-skin rug came from an antiques store in Red Rock. Her lion-skin rug came from eBay. The Mardi Gras-style masks near her bathroom came from New Orleans, which she visited. The horns of an antelope called a kudo came from Africa, which she did not visit but would like to. There are two sets of those kudo horns on the wall near her bed, and she has draped necklaces over them in lieu of a jewelry box.
“For how much stuff I have, people are amazed that it’s so organized,” Woodrosky said. “I guess I’m a little obsessive about it.”
“I like old things, to make them new again,” she said. “I got that chair when it was spring-cleaning time. I just picked it up from the curb on South Washington Street,” she said of one piece. “That scale was in my grandmother’s grocery; it’s at least 70 years old.
“This is the trunk my grandmother brought over from Poland. Now it’s a toy chest for my nephews.”
Black-and-white photos — photography is one of Woodrosky’s hobbies — show off the cuteness of her beloved nephews Ty and Marshall, who are both 10 but are not twins, and her 3-year-old niece, Brynn.
The pictures fill several shelves that Woodrosky’s friend John Sobeck Jr. built into the walls. Sobeck also built some custom furniture for the patio, where you’ll find a tabletop resting on the wheel rims of automobile tires.
Another friend, Chris Daniels from Fusion Design of Wilkes-Barre, wrapped a “tub skirt” around her old-fashioned claw-foot tub, which gives it a more modern look.
But most of the remodeling credit goes to Woodrosky’s brother, Shon, who devoted nine months to creating the master bath and six months to removing walls to give the building its loft effect. Contractors gave Woodrosky estimates for those two jobs at $52,000 for the bath and $39,000 for the loft. With her brother supplying the labor, she said, the numbers came down to $23,000 and $20,000.
She estimates she’s invested about $100,000 into the homestead, which is surrounded by neighboring properties she rents out to tenants.
Woodrosky, who is in her 40s, enjoys entertaining friends and having them admire her style — everything from the mannequin from her aunt’s old dress shop that she transformed into two planters to the tub-side candle holders she built from old fencing material.
She hopes one of her brother’s children someday will decide to carry on the tradition and become the fourth generation of Woodrosky family to live there.
By then the place might look different, because Woodrosky is always having new ideas. These are the notions that make her mother, Michaelene Woodrosky, wonder “where I get it all from; I never took a design class or anything.”
“You know what I’d really like?” Woodrosky said with a glance toward the curving metal staircase that leads from basement to first floor to second. “I’d like to install an elevator.”
She laughs, a deep, warm chuckle. “It might be a necessity someday.”