the house and surroundings in 1998
After much stress and agony, including a tour of the house which revealed much more peeling paint, pet urine stained floors, and a questionable electrical system, we signed the contract a few months later and moved in with our two young boys. Needless to say this place has been a never ending project ever since. We have undertaken big renovations (kitchen, family room, and bed room additions) as well as small (sewer repairs, new roof, painting, lots of painting...)
the former next door estate
We soon learned about the history of our new home. The house was built in 1936 for three spinster sisters and the land was parceled off from their uncle's next door estate, which had both a vineyard and an arboretum. The sisters never married and lived in the house until the youngest one died in the mid 1980's. Roumors say the garden back then was impeccable with large peony stands, a renowned rose garden, and a gardener to take care of it all. By the time we came around only traces of the former garden remained. The next door estate was demolished to make place for a large church built in an unfortunate 1970's design style.
There has always been something enchanted about this place, be it the sisters kind spirits still looming large, or a sense of quality and craftsmanship that we found underneath all that peeling paint and neglect. When it came to the garden I was first overwhelmed by the large space (almost one acre) and the tradition that so obviously was hidden beneath the all the overgrowth, but little by little we have reshaped the land to be ours, while trying to maintain the original feel and intent. If caring for my own garden was my full time occupation, I would have a masterpiece by now, but regretfully it has been hard to keep up over the years. Sections once redone, has been overtaken by weeds again, and there are large parts that were never fully mastered. The love and the eagerness are still there, its just time that is lacking...