Doylestown Cape Cod makes room for family of three – and ducklings

While both Heidi Roux and her husband, Miles, fell in love with their house immediately, they had no intention of turning it part duck.

The couple and their young son were living in a two-bedroom condo in Doylestown during the pandemic and decided that it was time to buy.

“We counted the minutes until the market reopened, looked at one house, and bought it,” Roux said. “We started a kindergarten three weeks after moving into this house.”

Soon after, they were hatching duck eggs in their kitchen as part of an elementary science project.

Nestled between a creek and a 90-acre working farm, the 1,500-square-foot Cape Cod in Doylestown came as is. The first thing they had to do was replace the roof. Next, they ripped up decades-old carpet and exposed stunning pine wood floors. They removed wallpaper borders, painted throughout, replaced a hot water heater, and moved a leaking oil tank outside. In the spacious backyard, they took down 12 dead ash trees and built a swing set and zip line, as well as shelter for the ducks.

“After they hatched, we were supposed to send them back to the farm, but everyone fell in love with them,” Roux said.

The couple, who met in college in Arizona, relished the 1938 home’s charm. The cozy kitchen, flooded with light and an ample view of the yard, came with original cabinetry and lacked a dishwasher. They embraced its vintage vibe and added wire baskets for eggs.

“A lot of friends bought really big townhouses or new construction. We never really wanted that. We wanted our house to feel lived in, ”she said.

In the living room, host to white walls and a whitewashed piano but no TV, the switch plates add a pop of color. A 42-year-old artist friend who recently died of COVID-19 made them, Roux said. Her favorite spot in the house is the couch under the front window.

“I sit here and drink coffee and stare out the window,” she said. “In the spring the cows will come up to the fence.”

Roux grew up in El Salvador until age 6, when her family moved to Washington. “I didn’t have a school bus,” she said. “I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was in my mid-30s.”

Her husband, a mechanical engineer, grew up in Death Valley, Calif. After stints of work in DC; Wilmington, Del .; and Clinton, NJ, they chose Doylestown, which they had fallen in love with during a lunch date years before.

The mailbox is located across the road. “That apparently means we are officially in the country,” she said.

The basement, which no longer holds five desks for school, is now home to an oversize couch, a foosball table, and a large bathroom with an oversize tub.

“It’s like out of a ski lodge,” Roux said. “The ducks got to swim in here.”

Roux, who has her MBA, uses a corner of their second-floor bedroom as her office. She works both as a consultant and the executive director of Bucks County’s Immigrant Rights Action, which connects immigrants with legal services and community referrals.

She appreciates the view of the yard – which includes a gazebo and duck cage – when she gets burned out from looking at the computer.

“There’s a whole crazy duck world that I didn’t know I wanted to be a part of,” she said.

At the beginning, Roux joined the Bucks County Backyard Ducks group to get all her questions answered. For three months, the ducks lived inside a plastic container in the kitchen. Then they moved into a pen outside. The ducks – named Cinco, Pickles, and the Sneetches – need to be in their pen at sundown or foxes might eat them. The couple even hire someone to put the ducks to bed if they can’t be home.

“They all have their own personalities. Cinco likes her alone time and space. … There’s a strict male to female ratio. We had to re-home two boys, ”she said.

Roux’s dream is to sell the eggs at a local farmer’s market someday, but right now, she gives away more than she sells. Plus, the ducks keep crossing the road. “We don’t know where they are getting out of,” she said.

The family’s plan is to take future renovations to the house slowly, including the 1950s bathroom, the deck, and the exterior.

“It’s perfect for the three of us,” she said.

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