“Ah!  The wonderful thing about a house is not that it provides us with warmth and shelter; but that it slowly builds within us a reserve of contentment, shaping, deep in the heart, the immense darkness from which dreams emerge, like water from a spring . . .”  Antoine de Saint-Exuprery.  WIND, SAND AND STARS.



The house had not been painted since it was built more that fifty ago.  It had endured the relentless sun. The lashing with bruising rains. The scratching of salt-laden winds. It had not been treated kindly.  Its sheltering strength taken for granted. Each year a little more paint peeled  away exposing the first growth cedar.  The colours faded.  It looked forgotten.  Neglected.  Uncared for.IMG_2063

The house was examined. Suffered indignities as it was poked and prodded.  Were the boards too warped?   Had the eaves rotted?   Board after board was slowly, carefully scraped and sanded .  Beneath the neglect the wood was as fine, as true as the day the house was built.




So began the rejuvenation of this house.






Every hour spent in the exhaustive process a grateful return for the years the house had provided not only shelter but an enveloping  sanctuary;  a place of quiet joy, of contentment, of love.   The mind remembering the friends and family who had become part of this home.  He recalled the celebrations; the birthday dinners, the excitement of his daughter flying in from a far country,  the supreme happiness of his son’s wedding, the simple pleasures of suppers in front of the fire.  This is the zen in the art of painting a house.





(This is stage one of the painting of this much loved house in the country.  My desk is littered with paint chips and photograph ideas.   I am searching for the perfect colour to compliment the river stone front and the elegant new windows. It is desired the house respect the vernacular of its country setting.  This returning a house to its former glory is very exciting.  to be continued …….)










  1. How exciting for you! I like the idea that you “respect the vernacular of the country setting” of your home filled with beautiful memories. I will stay tuned for the next chapter. I know with your magic touch it will be spectacularly just right! And I love the river rocks!

    • This is an enormous job Jo Nell. Lar says it is his summer vacation. He doesn’t mind the labour and he is doing a beautiful work of removing all the peeling paint. He still is able to take time to climb during this perfect weather. XX Virginia

  2. Hello my far away friend
    I am not sure if the house was painted at one time and I want to say yes it was, but will find out for sure for you. The house was started in December of 1972 right after Hughie and I got engaged and it was finished in April of 1973 just a few short weeks before we got married. It was a lovely home but sad when it was Hughie’s Dad’s dream home and he only got to enjoy it for 2 short years. As a family we all enjoyed the Sunday night dinners there at Granny’s . We were also lucky enough to enjoy many dinners in that home with you my friend and Larry.
    Thank you for keeping us updated and enjoy.
    Love your far away friend
    Donna Hall

    • We know the ghost of Granny would approve of all that has been done to herhome. Her ghost appeared just the once. I believe she was satisfied that the custodians of once was her dream home loved it as much she did. She didn’t need to visit us again. Love as Always to you dear Donna Hall.

  3. What great action shots, Virginia (and Larry)! It’s all about the process. I’m looking forward to your project updates. What colors are in the running? Fun! And hard work. I also loved seeing the landscape reflections in the window, along with your power bike. YES. Let the dreams emerge! ~Theadora

    • “I bet you a split of champagne that Theadora sees the vignettes in the garage door windows”.
      “You’re on”, said Lar. “They’re pretty small. Easy to overlook”.
      “She saw my bracelet of Swarovski crystals.” I retorted.
      “That was easy. Red headed women ALWAYS see bling. There will be no bubbly tonight.”
      “We’ll see”. I smiled in replay. “That’s why I’m putting this flute on ice.”

    • I have this image of a shiny black door. The door has the river stone on one side and it thinks it wants to be seen not as frivolous but as strong and understanding. It says no trendy colours. Please. They become so last year the minute they are painted. I want to be seen as enduring as the stone not as an idle flight of fancy. Alright door. I agree with you Right now the walls are discussing colours and nobody is agreeing with anything. I must go and sort them out. I have already chose a colour and there will be no discussion. It’s tough love but it is called for. XxOO Virginia

  4. Dearest Virginia and Larry……….what an undertaking! You are brave souls. The wood is so very beautiful now that it is exposed! How lovely to live in a house built of such beautiful timbers. Just the thought of undertaking such a task made me need to sit and fan myself! What fun to create a new work of art using your home as the canvas…….I cannot wait to see what wonders you dream up!!

    • Larry is the brave soul here Mr. Tin Man. He simply puts his head down and methodically works and works and works. Then brushes the scrapings away from the exposed wood in the most tenderest of manner. In THE LITTLE PRINCE Antoine de Saint-Exupery says “It’s the time you spend on your rose that makes your rose so important, You become responsible for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” Larry is taming his rose. XXOO to E & A from L & V

  5. Virginia, your home is so beautiful, and taking it back to its bare bones has exposed its loveliness even more. I was smiling and nodding as I read your comment above about the “walls discussing colours.” You hit the nail on the head. We have renovated several homes, and like you, I have always believed that a house talks to you, telling you what it wants and needs. I’m so excited to see what you decide. ~Terri

    • The house has been nagging us – for a while. We knew it was going to be an enormous undertaking so we avoided discussion with house. Now the first big steps have begun, and as we do it yourselves know painting is 90% prep. Let the games begin! XX Virginia

  6. We started out with one gray – but ti was tooo gray. It would have made the house look like a battleship. Finally we decided on Cromwell Gray – which in certain light looks like it has a little green in it. Perfect against all the green that surrounds us. All the doors (and the screens) have been painted shiny black. A good contrast against the flatness of the stain colour and the river stone. Pictures to follow in the next house blog. Xx OO V.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s