Owner: Robert and Gretchen Cochran
Assessed value: $63,800
A cupola allows a house to reach skyward, filling it with light and air. A relatively rare feature seen in contemporary residential design, the cupola was all the rage during the mid- to late-19th century when Italianate architecture was at the height of fashion.
Robert and Gretchen Cochran’s home, 403 N. Sycamore St., is one of the finest Italianate houses in the area, complete with its own enviable cupola. Gretchen Cochran is the president of Preservation Lansing and recipient of the Lansing Neighborhood Council’s 2013 Bea Christy Award. Built in 1875, this stunning example of 19th century architecture was almost lost in the early 1990s. With vision and passion, the Cochrans restored nearly every inch of the house, from foundation to that fairy tale-like cupola.
All too often, cupolas — like porches, gable details and decorative brackets — are removed to avoid maintenance. The Cochrans’ cupola is the third in the history of the house; Robert Cochran built it with the help of a neighbor to closely resemble the original. Not only does it complete the house visually, but they say that the view of the fireworks during the annual Silver Bells in the City festival is simply fabulous.
“Eye candy of the Week” is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.