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September 2013



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Ginger's House

My friend Ginger, co-owner of Olde English Garden Shoppe which shows my work (http://englishgardenshop.com), loves this house. She talked Polly (our mutual friend and an amazing photographer who specializes in perfectly captures moments in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales as well as catching the wonderful felinity of her own cats) and me into meeting her there Sunday to see what we thought of the chances of its being rehabbed.

While I waited for them to get there, I started sketching the charming old building--it was once a doctor's residence, and later a brothel, and now--well, a rehabber's dream, with sufficient time and money.

Since I'm already stretched a bit thin in both those areas, I was just along for the ride--and the sketching opportunities!

I was so taken by the old yellow-brick building with its red brick trim that I went back today to finish it. What was to be a quick sketch took me most of the day...


wow!--the stories that house could tell!! given, as you say, sufficient time, energy, and bux, that would be a dream to do. it is a beauty! and just recording the progress would be a marvel--like i said, the stories it could tell! i'd love to see what's "written" on its walls and floors. i'd like to get a feel for it--sit in it for a while, just soak up what it had to offer, and "hear" it.

my friend has an old queen anne in st.paul, sitting on the top of a hill, on an acre of land. when she first bought it, it had been converted into 17 mini apartments, like a rooming house. each one had a tiny stove, and the bathroom on each of the three floors was a communal one--she and her hubby set out to rehab it. they tore out stoves, walls, sanded floors, reroofed...it was a real job. they succeded in restoring the drawing room, the formal dining room, the solarium, the kitchen--but there were three floors of nine foot ceilings, pocket doors, golden oak woodwork, etc. i think she had success getting it on the historic site register--but that hobbled her even more, because after hubby took off, she was unable to keep up like she had, and meet the standards they had set.

i don't get to see her very often--it's been a number of years, now--but i think of her when i drive by on the freeway. (she's on the opposite end of the world from us--) but i can see her house from the road, and i'm still intrigued by the widow's walk on the roof, the three story witch's turret going up the side...and despite the research she's done, the fact finding she has documented, it still tells me stories that differ from what she's found out. must be my overactive imagination. but, maybe not...
The stairwell in that house is FABULOUS, and still in pretty good shape except for the paint. It would be utterly gorgeous.

Here's a funny (or maybe sad) story...there is a small, one-story brick next door that has been even more sadly abused, if that's possible, but it's still lived in. There's trash everywhere, no grass left in the yard, the porch piled with junk, the trim rotting. The woman who lives there came out to ask me what I was doing, when I was doing the sketch for this, and I told her. She asked if I'd been inside, and I told her that's what I was here for, to see it with a friend who was interested in it.

"It needs a LOT of work," she told me, "it's a WRECK." Pot calling the kettle black, that one...

When I first moved here there was a GORGEOUS three-story white Victorian opposite the then-highschool building. All the lovely varied shingles, much gingerbread. But...sooooo dilapidated. Friends of mine tried to get us to buy IT and rescue it, but at that time it was hard enough putting gas in the truck and keeping warm, so it wasn't even close to being an option.

Oh wait. It wouldn't be now, either! *G*

Sadly no one else saved it either, and it was torn down...

I'm sorry about your friend...does she still live there? Is she still trying to fix it up? It IS a tightrope, when you look at the requirements of historic preservation. It's good, but...we'll do what we have to to make ours work, and to make it look good.
i'm supposed to go to a reunion with all of the old "nursing school cronies" in another week or so--she was one of them. but, i have a wedding to attend the same day. i'd love to find out if she is still there. i may just drive out, sometime, and leave a note on the door. i got to go over and tune her piano, once, long ago--it was an old square grand, and looked wonderful in the parlor...
So you're not going to get to go to your reunion at all? Fooey...

A note in the door sounds good! My old boss used to have a piano like that, just gorgeous...
i'm going to call and see if i can show up late--my hosting classmate's hubby is a gourmet chef as a hobby, and he offered to cook for all of us old hens. i'd hate to completely miss that!
I'd hate that too! At least get there in time for dessert!*G*


This is lovely- the painting and the house. Just what you need, another rehab project to help with. Casey
I think I'll just watch that one from afar.*G* My friend Ginger is also rehabbing a little 1930s-ish rental and it's fun to go see what she's doing, but that's about all the energy I have!
What a grand old beauty she is too. You done her proud!
Thanks, Jana! It really does have some wonderful possibilities.

I see a few things I need to tweak if I ever did a real painting rather than a sketch, but it was fun...