State of Unrest: Renovating the Manse

I think it’s a natural resting place for we Falla’s – one of unrest that is.  No sooner do we finish a project, we start to get nostalgic for the sawdust and excitement that comes from being involved in a major renovation.  If money were no object – we might be in a perpetual state of achieving a construction vision.  Since it is, we are not.

261 front

The Manse circa 1820

As the Surf Shack embarks on its third summer, it has become apparent that the Main House, which my sister Jo-Jo affectionately refers to as the Manse must be renovated. It’s date of origin is a bit fuzzy, but it was constructed somewhere around 1820.  So obvi it’s old.  An addition here, an addition there haven’t detracted from the attractiveness of this little residence which served as my Father’s Law Office for just over 30 years.  The impact of the additions to the interior is a little less sympathetic as the floor plates don’t align requiring you to step up here, or down there, and contributing to the choppiness of the small rooms.  It sits on no foundation at all, which is nearly unheard of today.  It’s windows are sagging and threatening to drop out.  It’s a clear cry for help.  Hang in there old girl, help is on the way.

261 rear

The Manse from the rear.


The effort will be a phased one as the cost for salvaging the warm memories that were generated within these walls is, of course, way more expensive than if we raised it, and built new.  I voted for raising it.  I am often accused of lacking any sentimentality – not true.  I can be as sentimental as the next person, but don’t need the physical place to remind me of what once was.  Further I have a keen ability to recognize the impermanence of things.  So very Buddha of me, I say mockingly.  I wish I were that enlightened, alas, I am just very schooled in the art of moving.

261 stairs

Things I will miss – I am strangely fond of these stairs.


So up the old house will be jacked, a foundation dug and poured, a new heating and air conditioning system installed, all new windows and siding, and then…..who knows.  We will identify a logical place in the construction process to take a pause, and regroup.  I pushed for a small addition off the back but received an emphatic – NO.  I’m going to practice my powers of persuasion and give it another go.

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