Where I worked yesterday afternoon:
We’ve been in this house almost twenty years now, which is hard to believe, except that, yes, my son is fifteen, so it adds up. We went out for donuts one morning and ended up talking to a realtor and scheduling an appointment “just to look.” We were looking at the lower end of housing in the Bay Area, which still–at that time–sounded pretty frightening. And some of what we saw was frightening.
And then we walked into this house. It was built in the twenties, which is older on the west coast than it is on the east. We think the heater is from the 40s. Insulation? Not so much. Somebody splattered a lot of yellow paint and wallpaper around in the seventies. But…wood everywhere. Old hardwood on the floors, cedar on the living room walls, and “gingerbread” trim near the ceiling. (We knew right away the gingerbread had to go, but, hey, guess what heated the house our first winter there?) An enclosed space under the house, including a canning room that was the perfect size for my husband’s office. Hey, he’s the one that said, “Can I have this room?” And a dining room that was huge. Our response? Hey, who needs a dining room? And, voila, I had an office, too.
There was work to be done. Luckily, my husband is an engineer who can both design and build, and who does absolutely beautiful work. He broke down the wall between the living room and kitchen, built an island around a “previously owned” Wolf oven, and created a gorgeous kitchen. We got rid of lots of ugly wallpaper, did some drywall and some painting, and got settled.
That was the part I helped with…a little. My husband has never stopped. This past week he built the Adirondack chairs in the photograph, and he’s replacing the plain lamps in the kitchen with ones he’s building himself–building and cutting patterns in and painting with copper paint and adding stained-glass shields to cut the glare from the lightbulbs. They’re beautiful.
I wasn’t sure where this post was going when I started. I thought it was about Spring and writing outside and having this wonderful courtyard (did I mention my husband built that, too?) to sit in while I blog. But I think it’s turning into a gratitude post, both for the house I live in, and for the guy who said to me one day, “How do you feel about living in the mountains?”