We just got back from checking on our remodel. There isn’t much “there” any more. The great room (combination kitchen, dining, living room) has been gutted. The bathroom window has been removed and they are repairing the the deck and siding because of dry rot.
We will need to replace the front door as well.
Here is some background on the house.
When (as a complete lark) we started looking at houses on the northern California coast, the house on Nameless Lane was the first house we saw. We were “kicking tires” and didn’t plan to fall in love with Fort Bragg much less a cabin build in the 70’s (and it looked as if it still lived in that era). For years the idea of finding a “weekend get-away”, “vacation home” and “retirement nest” had been floating around but we couldn’t seem to agree on the big question of where.
My husband, Steve, is a sailor. Plus we lived on a trawler in a San Francisco marina for the first year of our marriage. Those are very happy memories. Do you see the the boat-like angle to the windows on the side of the house? It’s the first thing you notice driving up the driveway. It looks like the bow of a ship and caught his imagination. He was hooked!
For me, it was the sunny back meadow surrounded by trees but open to the sky. And, the mature rhododendrons surrounding the house. I saw the possibilities immediately…garden. Oh my!
And for both of us it was the quiet. We heard only the wind in the trees and the distant pounding of the surf about half a mile away.
Our first home is in Oakland, and we are not far from the freeway. It is not quiet. We hear sirens. And motorcycles. And, although it is a lovely neighborhood, it is definitely an urban setting. I garden on the only sunny spot not shaded by big trees, which belongs to the neighbor behind us. They have been kind enough to grant permission for me to squat. But it could be taken away at any point if they decide to use that area to the side of their driveway. I might be asked to remove the raised beds and all the plants at the drop of a hat.
I wanted my own garden. And Fort Bragg is a town of passionate gardeners.
In Fort Bragg we practice “forest bathing” (the house sits on 7 acres of second growth redwood trees) and saturate ourselves in the negative ions of the coast. Do you know about “forest bathing” or Shinrin Yoku? From Wikipedia:
Studies support claims of the benefits of Shinrin Yoku. These have demonstrated that exposure to nature positively creates calming neuro-psychological effects through changes in the nervous system. In addition, the level of the hormone serum adiponectin is also increased. When this hormone is present in low concentrations it is linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome, among other bodily disorders.
Every study conducted so far has demonstrated reductions in stress, anger, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness amongst the subjects who have participated. In Japan there are now 44 accredited Shinrin Yoku forests.
Our little forest would definitely be accredited.
But, when we purchased the house four years ago we knew the inside would eventually need renovation. We loved the open room, the stone fireplace, and the big windows. The rest, not so much. It was just a matter of time.
The time has come.