I had a blogging first happen yesterday. A few months ago, I wrote about a house in my neighborhood with a Samuel Mockbee-designed addition. The architect was Googling himself (wow, ten years ago that would have sounded just so WRONG), and he found the link to my post, and then he sent it to the homeowner, who in turn commented on the post and invited me over. Now I have a new friend in my neighborhood named Lily. Pretty cool! Thanks Google and blogging in general!
What is so refreshing about Lily is her ability to think of her home as malleable and the way she alters it to fit her life as an evolutionary process. As her needs and her life have changed, she’s been able to let go of unnecessary sentiment for some of the house’s history, torn the place up, and added on as her needs have changed. As she’s lived in her home, she’s had realizations like “the energy in my bedroom is way off” or “this dog crate area is a strange space and it’s not working,” and “I’m not organized with my office stuff and I want to be able to shut it behind some beautiful doors and hide it away.” Minor adjustments and major changes have followed these realizations.* Did I mention that Lily leads meditation groups? It’s rather obvious from the way she thinks about herself and her home.
The bamboo sticks in the corner are going to have a new life as a railing for the stairs in her bedroom. The fireplace burns alcohol now. It originally burned coal and had two coal drawers on either side, but Lily was able to let go of the old design in order to have an eco-friendly version.
This Emma Gardner rug is a work of art:
Lily had this window cut so that she could admire her gorgeous Magnolia tree from her bedroom. She later realized she wanted this window to be much larger, so it will be soon.
Although she has curated a house full of beautiful furnishings and art, nothing is too precious to Lily. Though very neat and somewhat spare, there is a good “lived in” vibe in the place, i.e. I was not scared to sit on the furniture!
I could go on and on describing the house to you, but I’d rather just show you the pictures and I’m sure y’all would prefer it that way too! A few more little nuggets – the original house was a dairy barn that was converted during the depression. It was originally kind of pieced together from all sorts of random materials. When Lily began demolition, they found it was insulated with muslin – the owners had to use whatever they had available. I find this to be rather poetic as it is very Mockbee-esque.
The house is a rarity in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood as it is set all the way in the back of the lot. Lily’s front yard is an unbelievable garden, and then her house looks out on all the neighbors’ backyards, which is a great way to catch the breeze and have the best views. My taken-at-noon-in-a-hurry shots of the garden do not do it justice, but I’ll share them anyway:
From the street toward the house. You can BARELY make out the house from this angle!
OK, the person who carved the horse over the gate also carved something important for the Dalai Lama, but I can’t remember what. Maybe I’ll ask his good friend Sharon Stone.
I’ll put the rest of my photos from the visit into flickr today. They are not that great, but they give you an idea of some of the spaces inside. I was so fascinated by Lily that I did not concentrate on my shots at all!
*my favorite Lily realization so far is this: She was awake and agitated in bed one night because of the obnoxious frat boys next door who used to party all night in the backyard and throw beer bottles on the pavement as entertainment for hours, when she thought, “Maybe I can buy that place and kick them out!” So she did!