I have a couple blog ideas, but I’m very tired. If I fall asleep in the middle of this blog I apologize.
I grew up in a really cool home. 18 years we spent in he same house. Most of my friends seemed to move around every once in a while, but we stayed in the same home my entire childhood. I think I’ve said that once before in this blog somewhere. I have to start with the yard.
We lived on a hillside. To the west was the road (running north to south). Across the road is a hill down to the hospital – 50 yards of bush and a thirty degree slope. Heading north the road went down the same hill on a slighter grade. South the road was mostly level – sloping up slightly. Behind our house to the east was another hill heading up – as steep and long as the one down to the hospital. Some of the of the homes on our street terraced their back hills and planted gardens. We had a single terrace, but it was only planted years when Mom felt particularly gardeny. The rest of the hill was light bush.
Counting the hill in back it was a big yard. The hill was pretty cool. Good for playing explorers in the back yard, but it was pretty lousy for throwing a ball. None of the yard was particularly flat actually. Some effort had obviously gone into leveling a spot large enough to put a home. Everything tended to roll down towards the street and then down the street for a block and a half until it leveled off again and you could catch up to it. I’m not sure how long it took my folks to train us not to run out into the road after stray round things.
It was fairly cool.
We had a flat-roofed carport beside the house with a tiny shed built into the far end. It might have been the only flat surface around. Fortunately it was easy to retrieve balls from atop it by climbing onto the rear terrace first and then onto the carport.
The house itself was only a few hundred square feet larger than my current condo. But it had three bedrooms and one bathroom upstairs and one more bedroom and bathroom in the partially finished basement. Partially – it was mostly completely finished, but I’ll get to that.
The house was a custom-built job. When my folks bought it it was less than five years old. The coolest aspect was that it was a single beam home. The roof had a large single beam holding up the roof running from the front to the back. The front living room was open to the beam resulting in a large vaulted ceiling. It was almost an open concept before that idea really existed. The living room and dining room under the vault in front. The kitchen was open to the dining room separated by sideboard. The open concept was only spoiled by the upper kitchen cupboards.
As cool as the vaulted ceiling was the view was even niftier. Two giant picture windows faced west, another faced south and the east wall was double sized patio doors. The west windows looked out over the valley below the house with a clear view of the river and the hill across it. There were prettier views if you got higher up the valley sides so that even more of the valley was visible. But only marginally so. Spring, fall, winter and summer were all beautiful when viewed from our living room.
But that wasn’t what you noticed when you first came in the door. The front hall opened up into the living room through a big arch on one side. On the other side was the stairway down to the basement separated from the hall by a long steel banister. Decorating the wall above the stairs was a giant mural six feet tall and twelve feet long. It was a sea town scene, fishing and sailing vessels against a small town with a large open harbour. It was done in greens and blues.
The rest of the main floor was pretty normal. The exception would be the tv room. The third bedroom upstairs was converted into what most folks called a family room, but we kept the tv back there and called it a tv room. We spent a lot of time back there. Odd since it had only a single small window compared to the light and view out front. The tv room was only odd in the manner Mom decorated it. To add light and make the room appear larger Mom mirrored an entire wall. Six inch by four-foot mirrors paneled the wall. Interspersed between them were wood planks – 2x6s, 1x6s and maybe other thickness too. The entire wall was an exercise in-depth and texture and light. I loved it.
That takes us downstairs. There were two cool aspects down there too. I said it was a finished basement – and it was. A fully complete bedroom, laundry room, bathroom and a bare unfinished storage room. The rest of the basement was a single giant open room that ran from one side of the house to the other. It was partially separated by the stairway that came down one-third of the way across it. Another giant open concept.
Rather that leave the stair riser visible the builder created little walls to conceal them. This created another little storage area under the stairs, but it was built primarily as a children’s fort. Three doors led into the area. One was tiny and usable only by those under ten. Another was a pair of shutters that swung open at ground level about 2.5 feet high. The last was four feet tall and skinny. It was an awesome place to play.
The final cool thing was the secret passage between the basement bedroom and the laundry room. You went into the closet in the bedroom, went through the wall and came out on a tiny, narrow space between the wall and the dryer. When we were young enough you could squeeze through at almost full tilt.
Hillside, vaulted room, picture windows with a view, giant mural, mirrored room, children’s fort and a secret passage.
I loved that house. My current place doesn’t have a single comparable feature.