Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Bit of History First

On any particular day, you can find Jan and I working away in the back of this little white house. For sixty some years, it has stood quietly in the shade of an ancient oak tree, overlooking the vineyards of the Guglielmo winery in the eastern foothills of Morgan Hill. "Little" is more of a term of endearment we use for the place, the white object in the photo below is actually its crazy roof line as viewed from up the hill.

In 2004, we (the Nunez family) purchased the property from our neighbors, more for the value of the acreage, than the house itself. Any sensible person, looking over that structure--tilting on its foundation, built of rotting scrap wood, electrically wired by a handyman with a death wish, and randomly added onto over the years, with as many quirky rooms and passages as the Winchester Mystery house--would have thought only one thing-- tear it down. That was the tentative plan. Then the older kids started coming home from college and one by one settled into the heated and air-conditioned portion of the house. Suddenly we were landlords with a list of repairs.

The house has it's good points. Our neighbors had remodeled the kitchen and bath, and added on the world's longest master bedroom closet. The living room has a fantastic view of El Toro mountain. There is a pool at the bottom of the terraced gardens, and the old red barn out back is now home to our small herd of Alpine milk goats.
The studio evolved over time, as a result of having to deal with the more run down rooms of the house.
An aging conservatory-like structure, surrounded with antique window panes, topped with a dirty fiberglass roof and laced with spider webs and all manner of junk. How it was ever a haven for plants, I can't imagine? That room all but cooks its six-legged and human occupants in the summer with a flood of marvelous light.

Adjoining the greenhouse, was a mudroom room (for lack of better description), covered in dark paneling, deteriorating carpet and decorated in "early American hunter." Both rooms were the inescapable walk-through to the main body of the house and needed a good deal of attending to. The renters wanted nothing to do with this task.

Being long time "do it yourself" kind of people, Ramon and I made several trips to the city dump, then rolled up our sleeves and pulled out the dust pan and paint brushes. A few months worth of general cosmetic work--paneling and shelves painted, drop ceiling tiles torn out, benches re-upholstered and new carpeting installed--things were cleaned up and we were generally pleased with the results.

And this is what the mud room looked like when Jan and I started making use of it to work on a variety of artistic projects associated with events for our children's high school. Two years later, when Austin and Alx graduated, we hung up our volunteer badges, and took up a more "please yourself first," delight directed orientation to all things artistic.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

I'm looking forward to the many inspirational and magnificent pieces of art that will come of this magical spot.