When we first moved to this property they had overrun most of the area and I wondered if they were opium poppies. So I looked that up and the drug poppies have greyish green leaves and stems which suits this one to a tee. I have a lot of poppies in my gardens, orange, red and pink varieties but they all have the characteristically green stems and leaves.
The previous owner was strange, known to do weird things so my imagination worked overtime. There were rumours he did a lot of slaughtering of sheep and hung them in the kitchen to drain. One of my friends who hung out with one of his sons reportedly saw it. The basement yielded a big deep freeze that was stuffed to capacity with pigeon and crow. If you had a problem you called this guy and he took care of it....like a hit man for unwanted birds. He supposedly had a problem with water waste and only allowed a thimble full for a bath. Rumours? Who knows but he sure did strange things to the house. The family drove around in an old hearse, so maybe eccentric would apply although that part I found quite intriguing and the old car came to rest in our back orchard, rusting more into the ground with each passing year. If any old car buffs would like to restore it, come and tow it away!
I do know one thing for certain, he had a unsanitary bathroom detail. There was a toilet under the back stair case that didn't have a door or even a curtain hung for privacy, I looked, not a nail hole that would have supported a privacy curtain. So this guy sat on the john right in the kitchen with not a door or sheet to hide behind. You don't see that often. The house was in pretty bad shape when we bought it...dark and ominous but I could see the merit in a bit of renovation, well actually a lot of time and money to drag this sow's ears into a bejeweled purse.
It is amazing how we lucked out on this property. One day as I was driving by, I looked up a the sad state of affairs and a little voice spoke to me, "You should buy that house." I'd never given the place a second glance. It was a literal mess and looked ominously like a money pit. The property had been on the market for three years without a nibble and no wonder. So the voice had spoken, the idea was born and I phoned hubby who was working in Africa and asked "Want to buy a house on the water?" and his sailing passion answered "Go for it!
No wonder it had been passed over, the owner removed every bit of tradition out of the structure and replaced it with modern or ugly. Every six over six paned window was removed and replaced with modern apartment sliders, smaller windows to let in less light as he tried to morph the place into a dark, dank, dungeon. He covered the walls and ceilings in dark paneling that looked like a salvage from an old church or school. During the daytime you needed a light to make your way around. Two of the bedrooms were clad in outdoor shingles, each one nailed in place with five spikes. Overkill and a pain to remove. A far cry from the open concept bright and cheery abode we've transformed it into. Funny thing though, some of his children popped by to see what we've done to the place and said we ruined it. The didn't say we ruined their memories which is understandable...no...they said we ruined the house. I know we all love our homes but golly gee. Here's two pictures of the before and after...you be the judge!
Every window and moulding trim in the house is new, made to look like it might have been original. We went the extra mile to keep it as traditional as possible and this home is definitely our castle minus a moat. Out of the blue, a house guest once told me "Your home might be beautiful, but if you ever get cancer it won't be a damn thing". I think there was a compliment in there somewhere, but it couldn't be further from the truth. When I'm not feeling well my home is where I want to be, surrounded by the things I love. I have a friend going through a rough time right now and she feels the same about her home and I asked her if her house provided comfort in these uncertain times. She told me she couldn't wait to get home from the hospital and yes, this is the only place she wants to be, her home is the chicken soup for her soul.
I love everything in our home. It may be stuff, but it's our stuff, in our own little patch of the earth. Every piece has as story. A junkyard find, a flea market score, an antique rejuvenated. Everything in my house is another persons cast off or trash, sometimes literally as it was picked up from the side of the road. People throw out tradition as if it was contagious, but I breathe new life into these pieces with terrific chintz fabric and a spit polish. I was a stripper long before I became a hooker, furniture stripper that is, so I've refinished most pieces and what I can't do I farm to people who can.
Some of my best finds have incredible stories, like the silver chest found for $10.00 that someone had splattered paint over. I gave it a facelift and later saw the same chest in an antique store for $289.00. Or the silver fruit bowl scored for a mere $12.00 that's sterling and worth hundreds. Wing back chairs, sturdy and ready for a second chance, cast out with the trash and now look like a million bucks after a bit of care. Yup, there's absolutely nothing new in our house and I'm darn proud of it. Someone was throwing out a sofa that I rescued and after having it reworked was appraised at $1500 and that was twelve years ago. The furniture of yesteryear receiving makeovers, creating the comforting, easy style that I love.