My friends called it Insanity. I called it Fate. I knew when I first saw the expanse of the wrap porch that the house on Geddes Street would be Home. Never mind that I saw little else! I knew the house begged to be decorated for Christmas, and that there would finally be a room for my grand piano. (And for years, that room held ONLY the grand piano.) I knew I loved the great spaces, the high ceilings, and the wonderful woodwork, that through some miracle had never been painted. I knew I would figure it out, one day at a time. When my future husband saw it six months later, he noticed right away that there were no storm windows and that all of the windows leaked huge drafts. Also that the plumbing was clogged with years of hard water deposits, and that the fuse boxes barely held together all of the old cloth-wrapped wiring. He did comment right away that the fireplace had no damper. (translation: hole in the house where the heat rushes outside.) The paint was peeling, the steps were rotting, and the yard was bare of vegetation, with the exception of the rhododendron by the front porch. So it is true, that opposites attract!

Since so many systems needed updating, it was years before the "fun" stuff began. Thousands of dollars had to be spent on wiring and plumbing before there was money to be spent on furniture….the roof and windows had to be replaced before the miles of beige vinyl wallpaper would be replaced with more period-appropriate wall coverings. But little by little, one room, one day, and one project at a time, the evolution began. Ten years later, Rosewood opened with three guest rooms. We began renovating first floor space to create a master suite where the original owner had slept, and two years later, the last two guest rooms were completed, leaving the entire second floor as guest accommodations.

Then we turned our attention to the outside. Guided by my sister, a Master Gardener, I started with a small garden around the bare front porch. We relocated some ferns from the old shrub garden, and whenever I found a plant that bloomed happily, I promptly added more. While some folks claim that you can learn to love to garden, I can state categorically that I cannot. I do, however, love to beautify my space, and once I adopted the attitude that gardening is just decorating for the outside, I made my peace with it. The actual digging I leave to our teen "staff" of garden helpers. So gardens took shape where none had existed before, and the landscape softened the angles of the house and created the welcome that I had hoped for.

When we decided to get married in the back yard, we needed to create yet another garden, and did so in one long weekend, simply by dividing and digging up things we had planted just 2 years earlier. And outdoor "rooms" took shape, on the porch, and on the old carriage barn, so that the gardens could be enjoyed even more. And still we continue, with another project always finding its way to the planning board. I dream them up, and my husband sifts through them and finds a way to make the best ones come together. There is no way this could have been accomplished without our team concept! Stay tuned for future developments…….
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