The Fosters’ house is the first house on the left of the road that leads into Treegap Village. It is described as a “square solid cottage with a touch-me-not look.” It is surrounded by short-cut grass and a formidable four-foot iron fence that seems to shout “Move on—we don’t want you here.” The house looks like it is “proud of itself.”
From the appearance of the house, we garner that the Fosters are proud people who like to keep to themselves. They do not mingle much with the villagers and are all about order and discipline. Little wonder, Winnie Foster, the Fosters' only child, is thinking about running away from home. She feels like she is in a prison of sorts where she is always being watched and continuously reminded of rules to follow. Also, the uninviting ambiance of their dwelling implies that the Fosters are not welcoming people. This is reinforced by other scenes in the story—for instance, when the stranger passes by the Fosters’ house in search of some family and is received by Winnie and her grandmother. The grandmother states that “she does not know everybody in the village, nor does she want to.” As the two walk back to their house, the grandmother “shakes the gate latch under the stranger’s nose” to ensure that the gate is indeed locked and that the stranger would not access the grounds of their house.