"When you buy a new house, go slowly though the house. Be polite, introduce yourself, so it can introduce itself to you." ~ "Under the Tuscan Sun" - Frances Mayes
Some people are afraid of old houses. They think there could be ghosts who would not welcome your presence. Floors ready to cave in. Foundations just looking to fail the minute you sign on the dotted line. For me, I think a little common sense along with a pair of wide open eyes and some good advice from a contractor go a long way.
Laase House seems to be like a friendly old gal with some itches that need to be scratched. She's been revealing her itchy spots to me gradually. There's a wasp nest above one of her curved Victorian windows that needs dealing with. Some previous owner, for some unknown reason, cemented the gas fireplace fixture onto the hearth so that it can't be opened and serviced, added some glamorous 1980's vintage stone tiles, and replaced what was likely a lovely old mantel with something new that Laase isn't really comfortable with. The master bath is an absolute enigma, with a toilet placed so that when you sit on it, your knees hit the wall, a mirror over the sink that is perfect for inspecting your waistline, and a shelf placed over the sink so that you can hardly use the sink. Behind the bathroom is a secret closet with an old, old door that looks like it's been forgotten for at least a century. I'm interested in all of these things, and willing to take the time to get to the bottom of them.
I was so excited to plant some flowers in the front yard, and got some pretty echinacea to start with - just a small offering to the small raised garden right by the front door. Something to please the bees and look pretty and let Laase know that I wanted her to look pretty. I found, under the layers of ancient mulch, that landscape fabric had been placed there some long time ago, and the dirt underneath was almost cement like in quality from the lack of any possible interaction with the natural world. I'm not sure the echinacea will be able to thrive there without some serious interventions but they are making a gallant effort.
|You'd look sad too if you were trying to grow in this soil!
We have our work cut out for us, Laase and I. She has a lot of talking to do, and I have a lot of listening. But like a shepherd cutting the matted wool off of a sheep that has been too long neglected, we will find our way back to the things that matter, free ourselves from the burden of well intentioned mistakes, and scratch those itches that need scratching.
Thrive Lot is coming on September 17 to get their first look at the land and begin the planning phase for bringing this property back to life. I can't wait!
Next week, I have a bathroom designer coming to help solve the mystery of the master bath and the secret closet.
This afternoon, the wasps will be addressed, and hopefully the gas fireplace freed from the cement footings it was given maybe 15 years ago. And did I mention the ancient, stained white carpet that I suspect is hiding the original hardwood floors in the living/dining room? Might get a peek under that later today. Slowly, but with great love and determination, we begin.
|The windows behind the fireplace are believed to be original...
|Why in the world would you do this?