The house might have chosen me. I browse Craigslist, ebay, Facebook for houses, and most often, don't find anything. This showed up on my Facebook feed at the end of a very long and very difficult day. I messaged the seller that I wanted the house, could she message me directions to pick it up? Nothing...came home the next day after another very long, hard, difficult day, and she had sent her address. I messaged her, could I come and get it now, or maybe tomorrow morning. Again, nothing....finally decided to just get in the car and go get it. Hot and tired, I drove to the address, and circled the block at least 4-5 times, because I couldn't find the house. Turns out it was down an unmarked winding gravel road. So there I was, dirty and sweaty, cash in hand, just as the sun was setting, and a few minutes later, the house was in my truck. Looking at it in the rearview mirror on the way home, it just looked haunted. I didn't want to copy Brae, but...wow.
Got it home and unloaded it into the garage, then gave it a quick look the next morning. It was really, really awful, but no more horrible than the Yellow house was when I got it. It was a few days later before I could really do anything to it, so I started on the roof. Really looking it over, cleaning those shingles, making a list of needed repairs, the feel of the house just started to change. I have a small collection of things set aside for a haunted/abandoned house, but this house was not it. As I scrubbed away glitter and crayon and dust, the house just seemed more...light. A few days later I spent the morning adding wood to the foundation and reinforcing the original build. Again, making lists of needed repairs, and chipping away at the ravages of time and abuse. I spent a morning stripping away the paint someone had put over the original floors. The boards are warped, and some are split and broken, but it looks just right.
It didn't want to be dark and gloomy and "haunted" anymore. Light and lighter still, ideas just started to come to me. I dug through my stash again, one day after scraping and sanding and fiddling with it. I have all the flooring I need. I have a wonderful pink velvet sofa for the living room. I have a bathroom set. I was browsing for wallpapers, just to see if I liked anything, and I found that blue floral stripe that is just so, so pretty. Went to the craft store and found some scrapbooking papers, and on and on it goes. The house wants to be light and soft and warm and imperfect and happy, so it will be.
The original walls were never really finished with anything, but somewhere along the way, someone slopped that purple paint on everything. With the exception of that small window on the second floor, everything is moving right along. Ideas streaming in, finding just the perfect thing already in my stash, it's all just flying together. I was describing what it's like for me to rehab a house to an artist friend, and I said that with these old houses, they smell like old wood and their prior owners, so as I work away, I think about who built it, who did they build it for, why don't they still have it, what did they intend for the house? It's some of the most satisfying creative work I've ever done.