Wednesday, September 8, 2021

New beginnings in an old house

Laase House. Built in 1900 on a piece of land purchased in 1897 from its original owners, and now a historic landmark in the town of Lakewood,  Colorado. 

I purchased this house in June of 2021, after deciding it was time to come down from the dizzying heights of my little cabin on the road up to Mt. Evans, where the winters were proving too harsh and the summers too full of the danger of wildfires for my comfort level. In another 4 or 5 years I hope to be able to retire. It is time to move closer to town.

I've always had an innate reverence for older homes. I grew up in Cranford, NJ in a house that was built in the 1930's and still had some old antiques from the past lives of former owners stashed in the basement when we moved in. I love the workmanship, the stylish graces that are no longer cost effective to build into a home. I love the sense of history, and the sense of the many lives lived in this refuge over the past hundred and twenty years. When you embrace a home like this, it feels as if it embraces you right back. It knows what it means to be a home. It has experience at sheltering a family. I fell in love with Laase House the minute I saw it.

This is the story, still to evolve, of a dream. A dream of a garden - one might even call it my Secret Garden. I was such a fan of the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett - it spoke to me about regeneration, something unloved and unwanted could seem to be dead, but still be brought back to life.

Laase House, back in its early days, was the main home to a farm that I am told consisted mostly of fruit trees. Gradually it was sub divided and sold off to provide housing for soldiers returning from service to our country overseas. Its gardens were forgotten over the years and replaced by landscaping and landscape fabric that have nearly destroyed the soil. Difficult to maintain grass dies off each year as the summers get hotter and hotter.  Weeds from the drainage ditch in front of the house invade the lawn, such as it is.

It's a grand old house, but it looks sad right now, to me, that nothing really grows here. It wants to be a farmhouse again, it tells me. Old homes tend to speak to me because I am willing to listen, I think.  And I AM listening, and I agree. 

I'm teaming up with a company called Thrive Lot. They specialize in just this thing - getting rid of the non native grass we all seem to love, and bringing a landscape back to nature, to something that is sustainable and gives back, instead of just constantly taking.

One of their Master Growers will be coming here soon to survey the land and see what we can do together to bring it back to its former glory... well maybe not to that, but hopefully to something better, more sustainable, and something that will give back by supporting pollinators, helping to feed people... and simply being beautiful.

As it is, today - summer of 2021

Ditch filled with invasive weeds that migrate to the yard

Home as seen from the street

Barren courtyard and backyard - really need some love back here!

I'll let you all know how it goes - it is going to be a journey, but land is a limited commodity - they're not making much more of it these days. Can this land become fruitful again? Time and sweat will be involved, along with the help of some experts. Let's see how it goes!


  1. A very worthy endeavor, Mary Ann! Can’t wait to watch it blossom & grow under your love! Sara

  2. With an old house, you always will have a project. I look forward to seeing what this becomes.


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