House of Love
This 150-year-old soul is being rejeunvenated to provide house and home for another century or two.
It was fifty years ago that we first envisioned living in this hand-crafted house; five years ago we developed detailed plans for its renovation; two years ago we began deconstruction; and three weeks ago reconstruction began in earnest.
This house was built just after the Civil War in 1867, and sits on a hilltop with a stunning view of a sweeping valley. Upon deconstructing several years ago, we discovered Chestnut beams throughout, which no doubt were logged in the nearby forest. Few nails were employed in construction, such that beams were anchored together through mortise-and-tenon technique. Some of the beams are 20 feet long and some planks of Poplar 18 inches wide. Such dimensions for lumber are not available today, and American Chestnut is now extinct. Ceilings are nine feet tall and windows six feet.
This house stands with a grace and perseverence that speaks of the ages. Its classic dimension endures, as the classic always does.
In developing plans to renovate, the tall dimension of the structure seemed to ask for wings to create balance. We obliged with a porch on one side and expanded kitchen and dining room on the other. A masterly bedroom was not obvious, until it appeared beneath a raised roof, with breathtaking regard for the valley below. An office under metal roof will now sit in the unfilled corner below, with full view of farming activities.
The more we contemplated plans for this project, the louder they spoke. We lived with them for five years, during which their clarity and beauty became evermore compelling. They ripened, awaiting our courage to implement. We have finally summoned such to do so.
This is an immense project financially, emotionally, and logistically. It will call on everything we have to bring it to fruition. The financial advisor sees simpler solutions to our challenge - tear down the building and constuct something for half the cost! The spiritual advisor celebrates listening to the forces and the complex, engaged response.
We are responding to circling and overlapping messages in reaching this conclusion:
- Tthe house is tired, and needs to be either rebuilt or torn down;
- We are tired, and need to expand our housing stock to properly invite successors forward;
- We want to make our current home available to our successors;
- Good housing is essential to attracting good people;
- This house has stood prominently for 150 years and, in deference to our hard-working predecessors, we want to support it for another 150;
- Chestnut wood is extinct but will be carefully preserved and on view in this house;
- The right builder is fortuitously available to bring this project to the fore;
- We want a home big enough to welcome and accomodate friends and family, who travel long distances to see us;
- We want a home with wings on it, so we can fly wherever we want, at no cost;
- We want a home that inspires us every day, as we move into older age;
- We want a home that fully dignifies the magnificent land upon which it stands;
- In the end, we want a home that speaks of love - love for the land by we live, the natural life that thrives upon it, the exquisite food that comes from it, the exceptional employees and partners who support it and us, and the invaluable customers who ultimately give us reason for being...
We want to invest in love. And as we all know, doing so is risky business, given that love always demands more than we have to offer. But Susan and I are intimate with investing until it hurts, as that is the way we know to live. So, we have made the non-rational, but fully inspired decision, to give ourselves fully to creating a shrine to the loving process. This investment is a lot more compelling to us than investing in the sterile stock market. Over time, we think our returns will be better than 7% per year, garnered in the latter.
But the most important reason for renovating this house is finding excuse to incorporate these two stones into its design. They are seven feet long, by 28 inches wide, by 8 inches thick. They surrounded the opening to a cistern, which we filled, and will find new quarters as raised hearth-stones in both the kitchen and living room. We invite you to come and sit upon them with us, before the fire, in golden years ahead!
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday at Hyde Park, on Wednesday at Blue Ash, and on Thursday at Bexley. We will not be grilling sliders this Sunday, as our grilling team will be lakeside. Beth & Bob will be manning the market on Sunday, while Susan and I are creekside in Pike County.
You are esssential partners with us in building a house of love for the next 150 years, which is no small feat!
In humility before that house,
Drausin & Susan
Herb garden in full expression, for our prepared foods.