Monday, April 30, 2012

My latest project

I realize I have been negligent in posting and getting around to visit my favorite blogs lately, but I have been a very busy girl!

After several weekends away from home when my dad was sick and after his death, I had fallen behind in working on this gem of a house, my latest project and newest love.

She is a lovely Victorian cottage that used to be my honey's law office.  She has been sitting vacant for a little while, recovering from a string of bad tenants and years of re-muddling.  It has been my mission to restore her to glory.  
The outside is in good shape, but the inside was a travesty! 

The curving front porch was what made my heart sing the first time I saw this place.  This is the view looking out toward the street.

This is looking eastward, where you can see one of the generous curves, leading back toward the front door.

This is the back end of the porch on the west side of the house.  A generous trumpet vine is creeping up over the ledge, and I plan to add a trellis to both support it and create a little green sanctuary.  

So, all my free time has been spent on this beauty of a house, and in a couple of months I will be moving in.  I am trading a sweet spot in the country for a sweet house in town.
Stay tuned for project updates and photos of the inside.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Out and about

Weekends away for family obligations (my dad's funeral, Passover) have provided opportunities to see new and wondrous sights,  both natural and man-made. 

The first of such excursions, where we stopped on a whim and spent a glorious night, was French Lick, Indiana.  The French Lick Springs Resort is a wonder from the Victorian era, which has been fully restored.  Above is the grand staircase leading down to the veranda behind the hotel.

The spring house was built at the time of the hotel (1870's) and is the focal point of the rear garden.
The spring was dubbed, "Pluto" and its waters were thought to be restorative for the body, both internally (as a laxative) and as a soothing bath.

The sulphur odor is quite strong, a dramatic contrast to luxury of the hotel and its amenities.

The front facade, with its covered staircase, had remained the same since the turn of the century.  The hotel is listed among the "Historic Hotels of America."  Our guest room was the most comfortable and lovely room I have ever stayed in.  

The opulent lobby was equally impressive!

Yesterday, while driving back home from Chicagoland, we stopped outside Monticello, lllinois, at the Robert Allerton Park, also a relic from the Victorian era.  

The park consists of a mansion, cottages, formal gardens, and pristine woodland.  The 1,500 acre grounds were donated to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and are used as a public park, conference and retreat center.

The house is gorgeous, but not overdone.  Areas for rest and play are around every corner.  I imagine Victorian ladies, dresses grazing the ground, parasols perched overhead, strolling the immense estate on fine spring days, such as the one we had while there.

The mansion, as it is known, is not open to the public, much to my dismay.  It is reported to contain an incredible collection of art and antiques.  Mr. Allerton was a parton and benefactor of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Statuary is scattered throughout the estate, both in the formal gardens

and in the middle of the woods.

Preservation is an ethic and a movement I feel very strongly about, and it does my heart good to see that such incredible relics from the past as the Allerton estate and French Lick Springs Resort are taken care of for generations to come.  

Each of these destinations is about 3 hours from my house.  I have always like the concept of being a tourist near one's own place of residence.  There is beauty everywhere, if one only knows where and how to look.  

Until next time...

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Empty benches usually suggest a place of rest, a moment of repose from the busy-ness of life.  However, in looking through old photos taken during a trip to Nashville several years ago, the emptiness I see here is evocative of the fact that my dad is no longer with us.  His passing occurred while my honey and I were driving back to Nashville to assist my mom a couple of Fridays ago.  
We flew down the highway, and his spirit flew from its earthly body.

I am now back at home and back to work after a whirlwind of visits with family and friends and a lovely service to commemorate his life.  He had asked to be remembered as a person who made people laugh.  I remember him most as someone on whom I could practice my witticisms and someone who was generous.  He taught me how to plan for the future, how to be mindful with money, that family equates with constancy and reliability... and that laughter is the universal language of healing and joy.  

 I offer a toast to my father, to send him peacefully on his way to the next phase of being. 

 Until next time...


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