Enough people have asked for an update on the purple castle that I took a detour on my morning walk this morning and snapped a few pictures of the progress. The plans received approval from the Historic Preservation Commission in December and from SHPO in January, with only minor changes necessary. Since then, the homeowner (who is also a contractor) has been doing demolition and clean-up on the site while he gets other paying projects off the ground. He told me that he is also preparing for the exterior work, ripping down a load of cedar siding into shakes for spot repairs.
As I walked around the property, now without all those crazy vines, I was struck by what was visible now, and the evidence of the past owners who had loved the house once. It is so easy to forget that a house as old as this one has gone through all sorts of evolutions – instead, we see the past 15 years of deferred maintenance and forget that it was once a loved home. The house only shows the recent history, but hidden back in the landscaping, there’s all sorts of interesting things peeking up into the spring.
The back yard, which extends well into the block, has lots of daffodil bulbs now coming up for air, crocuses that are probably so sun-starved they didn’t put up flowers this year, and what looked like a bank of hyacinths. The far back has a stand of pines that clearly once were a cool, shady spot, hidden from the road and even the house. And the profile of the house from a distance made me think of what it must have looked like from Club Boulevard after it was built – definitely a striking sight!
Also, I had noticed on my first visit to the house a disk set into the front terrace, at the north-west corner. Unfortunately it isn’t dated, but it appears to be a latitude/longitude marker made of concrete, with the cardinal directions called out. I have no idea which of the past residents might have installed it, but someone who was clearly passionate about this specific place.
As work progresses, I have permission from the owner to swing by periodically and check up on things, so will be updating as I can. I am assuming that once they commence things will move pretty quickly, but who knows how long it will be before they really get started. I am really looking forward to seeing how the facade shapes up once the second floor gets a balcony door again – so exciting!