The Cow House

Set in the historic South Park district, one home moooooooves people to curiosity.

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Cow spots, cow cut-outs, cow mailbox, and even a cow-themed answering machine—“Hello, you’ve reached the Cow House,” are enough to clue you in—Jennifer Forester really likes cows.

When you round the bend traveling up Wilson Avenue, passing the many homes with historic placards, you might be taken aback by the black-and-white three-story—Jennifer’s “Cow House.”

And you might have guessed from the exterior that the inside, too, is occupied by a massive herd of whimsical Holsteins. Cows crop up on cabinets, throw pillows, curtains, and even a stained glass window that brightens up a winding staircase. “I just love it when the sun shines in there,” Jennifer says, admiring her cow window. “It makes me feel so happy.”

Jennifer’s self-diagnosed OCD—obsessive cow disorder—is caused by the simple joy that the motif creates. “How can you not love cows? They’re so—human,” she says. She’s almost always loved the black and white bovine and says “The Far Side” comic strip is at the root of her appreciation.

The stage for the Cow House was set after Jennifer’s sister, Betsy, sent her a cow-themed doll from Florida in 1988. Then, when Betsy and her three kids moved in four years later, the theme really got moo-ving. “I surprised her by painting black spots on the house,” Betsy says. “She loved it, of course. It grew from the outside in.”

The Forester girls—known as the silly sisters back in their hometown of Sistersville—then sought cows to fill every nook and cranny in the turn-of-the-century house. Many years later, the kitchen bulkhead boasts dozens of cow hot pads, below which rest salt and pepper shakers, cookie jars, candles, and tea kettles. And, of course, there’s often some “de-calf” coffee brewing. Classic cow prints dot walls throughout the house, and overstuffed slippers peak from beneath beds. It’s hard to spot a place in the house where a bull or heifer has not left its mark.


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