SILENCE AND SOLITUDE : sitting on our deck this afternoon with a temperature of 73 degrees, warm sun on my face, and a slight breeze blowing, I again counted my blessings. These woods, this house make me happy, reminding me of my growing-up days . Brought home from Stephens County Hospital to a log cabin built entirely from timber and stone on this property, I lived in these woods until I married.
I am concentrating on the new green. All the trees are leafing and the varying shades of greens take my breath away. Shades from celery to mint to lime to pine to grass to emerald make a palette that any artist would be proud of. My mother used to say, ” Diane, when you think about colors, whether it’s paint for your house or clothes for your family, remember that the good Lord made green the background for everything”. How true……..
But I digress. I really want to talk about houses, this house in particular. For although we have owned some six houses since we married ( and rented some along the way ), this is the only house that we created for ourselves, the way we wanted, and although we did some renovating 10 or so years ago, it has remained faithful.
First off, kudos to Ronnie Floyd, contractor, and Tim White, architect. Without the genius and understanding of these two, it simply would not have happened. We knew that Ronnie was our man. Dennis, our son-in-law , who had grown up in construction with his own dad and ha done contract work himself for several years between stints at Harbin’s, chose Ronnie to build his own house, and that was reference enough for us.
When Ronnie agreed, I explained what we wanted, and he very pleasantly, but firmly, replied, ” You need an architect, and Tim White (Optim) is in Carnesville. Go see him”.
And so it began. Tim walked the property ( some 12 acres ), recommended our spot, drew our plans, and advised us as needed all the way through. So very gifted and special . Ronnie’s crew, at that time, was his son , Kenny, and his son-in-law, Eddie Wester. What a delight they were ! Not one blunder, not one disagreement, not one flawed decision, not one day of work missed. We could not have asked for a better situation.
Now, this is a plain and simple house: Cape Cod look with a flat front and a long, slanted, shingled roof. It is indeed a house in the woods, and that is all. But it is wide board HardiePlank , painted army drab ( remember what my mother said about green ) which blends into the trees. And all the windows are floor-to-ceiling , so that the outside is always inside. The woods are the curtains . Nothing fancy, nothing fine, just like Byron and me. What a fit !
The drive curves up the hill through the woods. When we hired Darby Welborn and Bobby Haley to cut the drive, I told them that I wanted it to meander. Darby’s response, ” WHAT ???? ” But they heard me, meander it does, and it makes me happy.
A few things were important : 1) that the entire house be lived in. The living room is in the center of the house so everyone and everything passes through. This comes from having lived in a 100-year-old house where the living room and dining room were only used on special occasions. No more of that ! 2) that the kitchen be small. I actually considered not having a kitchen at all, preferring just a fridge, a microwave, dish washer, and a toaster oven, but conceded to the architect . It was so small that Byron and I bumped butts when we made sandwiches at the same time. ( Byron thought that was a good thing !!!!! ) . We later re-configured and added about 3 feet of space. 3) that we have two master baths and two master closets. And Byron took the practical route, assuring wheel-chair width doors ( not needed yet ), flat and straight walk-in through garage, and handles instead of knobs for all doors.
Simple, comfortable, welcoming, that’s all. One bedroom has been converted into a man cave, so that Byron can enjoy all the sports without any eye-rolling from me. I have my spot for my favorites: Blue Bloods, Andy Griffith, Jeopardy, etc. Nothing fine or fancy about that either, just like the house itself.
To each his own. After almost 22 years, we are still grateful for our choices. Tim White and Ronnie Floyd heard us and made it happen. This home, these woods are special. They bring together a lifetime of turns in the road, bumps along the way, love that has endured, family that is special, and a look back at the journey itself. What more can I say ?