I recently mentioned the fact that I would be moving to Reno and said I would update as soon as I knew more, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to write about that this morning while I wait to hear from my editor.
First….a little background….and the clarification that I won’t be moving there full time. Read on.
Back in the 70’s, my husband, John, took a break from teaching at Penn State. He lived out of town and the commute was long. He sort of spontaneously decided to quit and try a second career. (I love it when people do that.) At that time, he had no experience, whatsoever, but had faith in his own intelligence, and a love of vintage architecture, so he decided to open his own contracting business. Subsequently, over the next ten years, he undertook dozens of Pittsburgh historical restorations, and even renovated Gertrude Stein’s birthplace.
Birthplace of Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
Plaque at 850 Beech Ave., North Side, Pittsburgh
“Allegheny West. Birthplace of Gertrude Stein. In this house on February 3, 1874, Gertrude Stein was born to Daniel and Amelia Stein. Author, poet, feminist, playwright, and catalyst in the development of modern art and literature. ‘In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. This is what makes America what it is.’ Allegheny West Historic District.”
During this time, he was also a theatre critic and was writing and pursuing other scholarly interests. (How many contractors do you know that have PhD’s?!) As I look through the photographs of the beautiful and innovative work that he did, and the love and care that he put into each job, I am so proud of him.
Before we even met, he and I both did our own historical renovations in Houston. I guess mine was a renovation. His was a restoration. We lived a mere two blocks away from one another. Both of us were working on our houses in the historical Heights district, and neither of us was aware of the others existence until much later.
This was John’s beautiful house:
And this was my much-more modest little cottage. It still looks very much the way it did when I renovated it. When I bought it, it had peeling white paint, no trees, the ugliest roof you’ve ever seen, and looked pretty hopeless. I think it transformed into a rather cozy little place. Don’t you? Very modest, but full of charm. I have so many happy memories of living there. Sometimes, I regret having sold it.:
So….as most of you know, my husband now lives and works in the SF Bay area most of the time, but comes home when he can. We both adore Portland and don’t want to leave here, but we do want to build an affordable little get-away somewhere, because we do enjoy traveling, and we’ve had such good times in the Reno/Tahoe area…so we are now looking for property upon which to build in a rural area there, and are currently negotiating with someone there that does have what appears to be the perfect plot. The location is great for us, because it is somewhat a midpoint between San Francisco and Portland where we can meet one another and write or work on art and simply commune with nature.
We’ve only discovered the wonders of container homes recently, and are amazed by how beautiful they are and how environmentally friendly and economically they can be built, so this is our plan. Take a look at this video and see the innovative design possibilities. We plan to build with either 3 or 4 containers, when the time comes. Aren’t these great?!
Wish us luck!