I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau
When we moved to the mountains I only expected it to be a year. I can’t believe we’ve already been here for 6 months, although it doesn’t seem that long at all. I thought I would want to be a gypsy for a few years, but it turns out I’m just a gypsy in spirit. I don’t question. I just move.
Just curious I started to look around at housing in the area, thinking maybe, just maybe, we would stay longer than our year at the Hemlock Inn. It felt like home right off. And then naturally I started dreaming. Some days I dreamed about owning a farm, some days I dreamed about owning an inn, and other days I dreamed about maybe living downtown above a retail space. I dreamed all over the spectrum. And then one day when Brett was out of town with his grandmother I sent him a link to a house that was downtown with some acreage…maybe the perfect blend of what we were looking for.
When we walked onto the property I knew we were supposed to live there. I knew it. No questions. Like every other house we’ve ever lived in, I knew right away. I could see what a little love would add to it. It was 2 bedrooms and an office, a full basement with art studio potential, and 2.5 acres. It had been on the market for a long, long time. Probably because of the work that it needs, but I like to think that it was waiting for us. We had a pretty strict budget, and thought deep down that they probably wouldn’t accept our offer. But they did. And a few weeks later it was ours. It was waiting for us.
It has a wonderful story to go with it. It used to be owned by the pharmacist mentioned in Bryson City Tales. Three siblings were selling it after their parents had passed away. We have since become close to one of them, Debbie. When I told our realtor Marty that I would love some old stories of the property he passed along the message. I never expected what Debbie delivered: the most thoughtful welcome package that included a slideshow of the house’s history through the years, the original 1952 platt map, flower bulbs that her mother used to plant and some arrowheads she found on the property when she was a young girl. Marty said it was the first closing he’d had where the buyers and seller were so keen on meeting each other. We met in his office right afterwards and both Debbie and I cried when we finally met in person. I told her:
We’ll take really good care of your family’s house, and its history.
House c. 1965
House c. 1970ish..love the station wagon!
We definitely have a few months of work ahead of us and we aren’t in a hurry because we are still enjoying our time here at the Hemlock Inn with Mort and Lainey and the guests. And like any old house there are drainage issues, plumbing issues, old house issues. Oh and it needs a new roof like asap. That’s just a start. And we view all this stuff as our chance to add our own spin to it. The Hemlock Inn closes down for January, February and March so it will be a great opportunity for some winter projects.
And remember we sold all of our furniture before moving from CA? I’m going to try and furnish the entire house through bartering, picking and just making it ourselves. We already found a free desk on Craig’s list that will be perfect for writing and I found the perfect dining table for $75 from Habitat ReStore. I see kitchen gardens, tire swings and lots of DIY. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves again!
Here it is today…4 billion acorns came with it:
And this is why I fell in love with it…the view of the city. I’ll sit at that table all year long and write. Best part: the concrete deer came with it too:
Brett started cutting and digging out a huge trench in the basement this week for new plumbing. And removing all the drop ceiling to expose the rafters. An awesome mess…just because we like projects I guess?!
Today I was asked what I was most looking forward to in our new place next year. My answer? A refrigerator with an ice maker. Instant ice! The best invention ever. And the view. I’ve never had a view of anything until this year. I like being able to watch the hustle and bustle of the town below. And the train whistle throughout the day! It feels really magical actually. The previous owner was also a pilot and took this photo way back when…the house on the hill:
“…building castles in the air….”
And yes, I’m still kind of in shock myself that we own a house again. A 1950’s rambler at that with endless projects. But I’m ready to set down roots in this small quaint little town of Bryson City. I feel like I’m always building those castles in the sky….and sometimes they do get foundations. Simple, sustainable and within our means.
Any house gurus out there? I’m leaning towards a brown tin roof and painting the outside some shade of white (because you know the entire inside is going to be white and gray.) Maybe white gutters when we have to replace those. I welcome any ideas or suggestions and anybody with Photoshop expertise that wants to mock up a ranch house for me!
Because here’s what my mockup looks like a….s’more:
I’ll share here periodically as we finish projects but you can follow the progress mostly on Instagram under the hashtag #thehouseonhospitalhill. (Instagram @lilblueboo)
P.S. Don’t you think those concrete deer would be great as part of a Griswold-style light show for the holidays next year?
I love it!
I’m excited to see what you do! If I were choosing the roof color with a white paint I would choose a grey. :). Like this one. http://www.toliveproperties.com
Ashley Hackshaw says
Ah!!! That’s gorgeous! I think that will be my new inspiration photo….thank you Janalin!
Sounds exciting Ashley, I can’t wait to see what you do with it and I do like that grey roof the previous poster linked to.
Beautiful friend! So excited for you!! I love Janalin’s idea! Perfect! xo
The view alone would have done it for me. Goodness it’s beautiful. Congrats are your new roots!
Tesha vann says
We’ve never met but have several mutual desert friends & I’ve been following you for some time…there is a whole new peace to your writing. You have found your center, on top of that hill. Congrats on your new home.
tracy thomson says
CONGRATS!!!! and welcome to the house renovation club!! We are going on two years of it… and finally on the down hill slide my ice maker gets hooked up next week 🙂 yes the little things I have missed! not a fan on brown metal roofs I do love grey and we actually went with burgundy metal and we are doing white and grey on the outside… if our daughter gets her way a yellow door>?! that is still to be decided.. I have had so much fun digging through the junk stoors for our house .. we just hung our lights above the island tonight HUGE junk store find.. I can’t wait to see pics of all your projects….
Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG says
Congrats to you and your family! YOU are a force to be reckoned with! I LOVE how your journey has taken you to this new adventure…I am honored to be able to watch this unfold – I know you will make this house amazing!
Awesome! I know Boo and your sis and bro are so excited too. How fun for Boo to be so close to her baby girl cousin and your brother’s kids, also! Can’t wait to see your rustic diy shabby chic house!
My heart knew you would stay. So happy for you!
It’s so fun watching your story and family adventure unfold. I know my family has been guided to where we are now, and we’re being guided to our next adventure starting next spring. What a beautiful life our Father has blessed us with! Can’t wait to see how you fix up your house. No doubt it will be beautiful, like everything you touch.
How exciting for you all!!! I’m so happy that you’ve found this place. I live on a hobby farm. Every building is white and brown. The barn has a brown metal roof, the house has brown shingles. I love the two colors together. The barn roof has been in place for almost 10 years and it doesn’t look like it’s faded at all. However, we also made a door for the barn out of the same roof material, and that does look faded. Something for you to think about. Also when you put your gutters on, go the extra mile and not a huge expense and put gutter covers on. You don’t want all those leaves and acorns filling up your gutters and downspouts. You will not regret it. Have fun and be sure to keep us all in the loop of everything you do. Lots of pics please.
Burgundy roof with gray and white on the house for accents. So happy for you!
K G Palmer says
A great project to begin during the holiday’s the gift that keeps on giving!!! Enjoy and congrats – K
nancy babb says
OU! Can’t wait to see the progress! I knew the deer were fake because a male deer would never be so bold…he sends the female out first to explore then he follows her once he knows its safe.
YIPPEE! What an amazing story! God moves in such strange and awesome ways.
Jane Basehoar says
When I visited the bookstore in October the ladies mentioned that you might be staying and looking for a home. Can’t wait to hear about all of the great ideas I know you will come up with.
don’t be too anxious for that ice maker. I love ice and looked forward to having one. The weekend after Katrina we got a 10% off coupon from Lowes for up to $1000. Knowing that all builing materials were going to sky rocket, we bought much of what we needed all in one day including our fridge (that got us FREE shipping with all of what we bought). So the fridge sat in the house as it was being finished, and then we moved in and I got to use it. The well water clogged it up almost immediately and soon we realized that with my health problems (arthritis which is an autoimmune disorder and many of my meds make me at increased risk for infections) I shouldn’t be drinking well water even as ice cubes, so there was no point in repairing the ice maker. But I do have a view and after close to 10 years now in the house, I understand which way storms and rain and wind come from and how the moon moves across the sky marking off each season. I love it here (except for currently since I’m snow bound in the house). But the intangibles that you can’t buy never let you down, but ice makers do break down.
Holly, Ashlyn & Will were raised on 3 acres in downtown Galax … before we moved to the farm. Our 1918 home overlooked town & it was wonderful. Ed’s orthopaedic office was downstairs. Our family lived on the 2nd floor. We were awakened at 2 am one winter morning by a fellow walking down the street playing a banjo. I love the mountains … especially, Grayson County.
congratulations and best wishes for your new home .
I love to read your ” journal ” but it is a little bit more difficult to write in English . About Gailelete ‘ ice cube problem what kind of water are you allowed to drink ? Can’t you use it to make them ?
Love for you all , thanks a lot Ashley I enjoy so much to read you.
We buy water by the gallon at the grocery store and I have found that making regular ice cubes with the water in a frostless freezer like we have, they literally evaporate in the trays if not used right away, so a waste of water $$. Currently we have had a lot of snow and cold weather. I fell the other day and hubby just slipped and fell on the ice about an hour ago, so it is too lousy to try to go out to the store and we are just about out of water, besides some other things. Thankfully, I try to keep a pretty full pantry even it is diminishing fast, but our water situation is rough! We live on land his parents owned and gave him, but his dad (a former truck driver) used to do his own work on his trucks and thought nothing about pouring the old oil, etc. on the ground, so who knows how polluted our well water might be. The good news is we never run out of the well water! 🙂
I used to eat ice like it was dessert and I at times go buy an ice tea at McDonald’s just so I can get a big cup of ice in the summer. I survive and have other things that I am blessed with even though I don’t have a functioning ice maker!
How exciting! I grew up in ranch homes and my parents still live in the same house, that they moved to when I was 3 years old. You have an amazing view and I can’t wait to see the renovations. You’ve probably have heard of the blog Young House Love…but if you haven’t you should check it out. They’ve sone some cool stuff with their first two ranch homes. http://www.younghouselove.com/photo-gallery-2/
Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless,
Heidi @ hi-d’s place