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Friday, January 2, 2009

Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a Little House on the Northeast Side of Town...
When we first saw this house, I
was not impressed. Although I had wanted to purchase a stone, brick or stucco home, this little brick dwelling was lacking the old world character that attracted us to the area in the first place. Our city is dotted with charming vintage homes dating from the 1920s, an era when storybook homes were the rage. Our 1941 structure however, just happen to miss the boat to fairy land and hopped on board the next ship right on the cusp of post-war sensibilities. No fireplace, one small bedroom, no formal dining room, and a loft area that serves as a bedroom or in the summer, if you will, a hot house for growing tropical plants, left us unenchanted.

Within a minute of stepping inside however, we were changed. Hardwood floors, coved ceilings, glass door knobs and most of all, good structure, we knew that for the money, we had a potential winner. My husband's love for Carmel-by-the-sea landscape and architecture and my appetite for French countryside design were fused into one idea that day, and the results of our vision have been slowly unfolding. With the exception of the tiling that is now taking place in our newly renovated bathroom, my husband has crafted all the embellishments and transformations by hand that you will see in the following early photos.

Here he is on the left in our garage in 2003, constructing one of two overhangs. As you can see to the left of the photo, he had already pumped out three sets of shutters and an arched gate with cut-outs of our personally designed family crest that you can see in the photo below. Please click on images to enlarge.

Slowly, the house was becoming a cottage, a Hobbit-like structure that spawned more ideas. It has taken us from 1997 to the present to apply all of the elements that have changed this house into our home, and it has always been our goal to keep the costs within our budget. Patience, creativity and hard physical labor have made the difference not only in our home projects, but in how we are approaching our careers and the inevitable aging process. The following quote by Albert Camus encourages me to embrace the process rather than merely focusing on the product:

Life is not a destiny,
It is a journey.
If you stay on that journey
You will have success.

Come back to continue the tale of the Little House on the Northeast Side of Town and don't forget to enjoy your journey. May you have great success!