Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pound Houses

Some of us are rescuers. It's our nature. We're drawn to people who need us. Our pets were all once abandoned. And when we look at houses, we see them as people.

"This could be a happy house," I have said more than once. "It just needs someone to love it."

I find myself drawn to the projects, the ones that would shine if someone just gave them a chance.

My name is Susan and I'm a Rescuer.

All together now: Hi, Susan.

The house I will always love best was a project. When we found it, it was a Victorian farmhouse buried behind delft blue asbestos siding, squinting at the sun through tiny, modern Anderson crank-out windows. It was horrible.

But it had a beautiful front porch, a massive carved oak front door, fish scale shingles at its peak and a beautiful yard on a tree lined street.  Room by room, we pulled it apart, found the treasures (and mummified mice) hiding above the dropped ceilings and gradually the lovely home it had once been came back to life.

That house loved us. We loved it, too.

I will always like old houses best, but I am beginning to realize that this simple seventies ranch we're currently putting back together should be one I could love. It needs me.

We bought a salmon colored ranch surrounded by trees with choppy little rooms and little interior light.  More than a year (and a huge tree through the roof) later, a charming house is emerging. The rooms are open and bright and have a little bit of flow, the trees have been pushed back and we can see the stars above us at night.

Every new coat of paint, every sanded floor, is letting this house be the best it can be within a budget. If I could blast out the ceiling and add skylights, of course, that would be amazing. But it's not bad as it is. In fact, I suspect it's feeling pretty full of itself.

"Check out my newly-shined wide board pine floors!  Huh?  Huh?"

These are the things you can't get a client to understand if they don't see it. A terrific spot and a house that is, as a friend once dubbed such things, "a pile of potential" could end up being the house they will love forever.

And if you're a rescuer, there's the added joy of knowing you've saved yet another being from a life of melancholy.

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