The past: The house as it stood before reconstruction began

I knew the family who lived here until the 1980s. Les had grown up here, and he and his wife Lily raised four daughters and a son in this compact house. When I think back on my visits, I remember Conway Twitty records and vinyl-covered couches. I was friends with Arnold, the son, and we’d hang out in his stuffy upstairs bedroom, reading old Archie comics.

front of house

back of house

It’s been thirty years since Les and Lily and Arnold lived here, and the house has been empty since. The beadboard on the walls surely looked good when the paint was fresh, but now the place feels tired and cramped. The windows have cracked and slipped, the cheap paneling has peeled off the studs, and a pile of a thousand dead ladybugs litters the floor. The shelves of the bathroom vanity hold the straw and twigs of a bird’s nest, its occupant long gone. Wasps sun themselves on the dirty window glass.

old living room

old kitchen

old porch

But in its decay, there is a certain beauty.


old screen door


The indoor bathroom was installed only in the early 1980s. Before that, an outhouse was within walking distance of the house, and a nearby spring supplied water year-round – and still flows now. I plan to use this spring, too, as my main water source.