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Hat’s Off to a House

I tip my hat to this wonderful house that I live in right now.  It just feels like home and as though it reflects my values and virtues and it has a wonderful history to boot!

I am attempting to include my gratitude for this house in my daily reflections and meditations, for I truly feel very much myself here and I enjoy taking care of it and how it supports my goals.

It had another life in another location, but was moved to the orchard of the farm house next door and set upon a foundation right on top of a bluff of rock.  The owners moved in every summer after a day trip by wagon to bring all their supplies and children around the bay, across the river and up the hill in order to get away from the smell and heat of the mudflats; enjoy the balmy breezes that the bluff afforded.  The owner’s business was running the Olympia Oyster Company, which is named after the very small and succulent gourmet oyster called the Olympia.  That was in 1913.

A doctor and his 6 children were the second owners and they put in a shower in the basement and resided here until their lovely new house was completed on the other side of the bluff and near the Capital building.  650 square feet of space must have provided quite a challenge for so many people.  The children tacked magazine pictures to the walls and showed off their hopes for lipstick and cars in the future.  It also formed a record of what was popular at the time.

The doctor gave the house to a 5th grade teacher at the local elementary school, after her husband was killed at Pearl Harbor and she was left to raise 2 boys on her own.  She added a back porch and jutted out the living room to add a fireplace and nook, and eventually took out the wood cook stove and added an electric range.  The house had an old washing porch with a boiler.  The latest gadget in the house was the telephone installed in the bathroom which in turn was the hallway from the kitchen to the two bedrooms.

We really enjoyed the nasturtium wallpaper on the ceiling of the kitchen.

My honey discovered the house at our engagement party which was held at the lovely farmhouse next door.  It was nearly buried in blackberry bushes and over grown fruit trees and well hidden by a massive, unkempt hedge.  It was truly love at first sight for my guy.
Now too, there was the Capital Building across on the furthest bluff, a beautiful lake and on a clear day Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountain range in view from the house.  He wanted to encompass that view into the house and its future.

The School Teacher owner was now living in an assisted living center and she happily put our name on her long list of people to call if she decided to sell the house.

Almost 10 years later she called and told us that if we could muster a set amount of money in one month’s time we could have her house.  We could have the house because our youngest child shared her birthday and she thought my honey had enough vision to make the house over into a wish she had always held for it.  She wanted us to know that her father, mother and brother had all lived their final days in the house while she had taken care of them and it  was a place for people to feel good.

Without hesitation we sold a contemporary passive solar house that was extremely sustainable and energy efficient; had a huge amount of space for children and our family to grow and on a very rainy 4th of July weekend we moved into our home.

One of the things I love about this house is that the whole family has done lots and lots of the work on the house  – contracting out for some of the bigger items, such as the removal of the lathe and plaster walls which held asbestos, the addition of the new heating systems and plumbing.  We all lived in the living room – bunk beds, twin bed, double bed, refrigerator, MW oven, claw foot bathtub and a port- a – potty out by the street.  It was a tough several years that were crazy and fun at the same time.  The greatest high light was after the windows replaced the east facing wall we were all awakened by the sun rising right out of the top of Mt. Rainier in a blaze of beauty.

We did not need a TV as building your own bedroom from the ground up was so much more entertaining.

That old washing porch is now my office and is full of windows and light.  One entire wall holds my precious book collection and my desk is an old door transformed into a new life purpose.

The house keeps giving in so many ways.  As I wrote in a previous post, cleft palate repair and the sometimes special tests that are needed are not covered by any insurance in the United States.   Every time that our child needed another surgery or educational testing, we took out another mortgage on the house to pay for what was needed.

The breezes off the bay and the lake are channeled through the house and the window system to keep us lovely and cool on the hot days of summer.   The orchard that is left provides us more than enough apples so that we can share our bounty.

The yard is full of flowers and we grow our salads and green beans.  This year most of the green beans and pumpkins went to the deer, raccoons, possums, and other critters that abound. And oh my! We are truly blessed by the lovely birds that visit us and enjoy the trees.

And when the world is just too much with me, I can look out and be thankful for the lovely paintings of the natural world right outside.

This old house is filled with loving healing energy and I am so grateful to be able to spend time in this home and have a turn enjoying the beauty of its design and recall the stories of its transformation.

What makes your house a home?  And what are you grateful for in your living arrangements? I would love to know your story.

8 Responses to “Hat’s Off to a House”

  1. Dot Says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m so jealouw!!! I’ve always wanted to live in a spacious house with great views and gardens. However, that hasn’t happened. I live in a condo, a garden apartment type, which was built in 1970. It’s comfortable, it’s home, but it needs a lot of work. At least it’s mine, though, and not a rental.

    Dots last blog post..Featured Reader

  2. deb Says:

    I think you should add “school house” to your list of what you house is. I for one have been taught quite a few valuable lessons sitting in your living room, enjoying the view and taking in the warmth and love that is in your home.

  3. Betsy Says:

    Oh, what a lovely post, where are the photos?! We would love to see!

    I haven’t been grateful for my house, having left a perfect house to live with the perfect man in his when we married. One thing I’m grateful for is that the house comes with him! But…the other day, I looked from the kitchen through the dining room and into the living room where the lamp was lit and the stove was crackling, and I thought, there is peace here. The ugly duckling may never be a swan, but there is peace and love in this house.

    Betsys last blog post..IN FINE COMPANY

  4. Patricia Says:

    Dot – home is where the heart is – how lucky that you own yours and it is not a rental – awesome condo owner…there is always something to do – we would be dead if there wasn’t?

    Deb – You are right, we should add school and considering I home schooled my kiddos through middle school – and I got the fireplace back up and running…too late for our knitting class.

    Betsy – welcome, I feel honored to find your comments here with NBOTW and Cath’s ass best Blog honor…and your lovely writing on PassingThru….pictures will be posted on the Factoid Friday post this week….
    I can’t say enough about how thankful I am for this house and all my families work on it….

  5. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. I can feel how much appreciation you have for this home. That is a blessing! I can’t wait to see the pictures.

    I’m grateful for my apartment because it is spacious, has hardwood floors and lovely trees out front. It’s my safe place.

    Davinas last blog post..Video — Preparation Inspires Self-Confidence

  6. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    I just think when we are in the right spot it just feels great – it’s just our everything center.

    I’m looking forward to the pictures also!

  7. Jannie Says:

    Do you ever plan on moving?

    My husband bought this house 20 years ago and I’ve been here for 18. We’ve been adding on and remodeling for 14 years, indeed are now re-modeling the remodel.

    But we will sell everything here in Texas as our “real” house is in Nova Scotia, which is a very very long story!

    I do not plant veggies but I see all the fruit in my compost heap is going to feed critters too.

    Jannies last blog post..Doris to register nine

  8. Patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    I don’t know if my honey can leave this house although it is the second one he has done so much work on and it took his father 22 houses before he could not leave one?

    It is big for just two of us now…and I spend lots of time cleaning and taking care – which it is quite nice to take care of and enjoy that part of it too.

    We have remodeled the remodel too! Isn’t that a kick!

    Nova Scotia is not a place in Canada I have visited before, but I have been to many nooks and crannies, as when I was about 16 I got to campaign for my Uncle who was a member of Parliament – quite a learning experience for me…I still have NS on my list to visit.

    Feeding critters is good! :)