As is the case with many artists
my life and work are not easily separable.
My eye has been trained to observe
to gather information wherever and whenever I find it.
The material practicalities of survival can become secondary
to what is stimulating or has an unknown outcome.
When I saw this house near the waterfront
tiny, old, falling down
but archetypical in its shape
I wanted it.
I knew immediately
that I wanted to use my contemporary sensibility
to rejuvenate its simple historic form.
Just about everyone thought I was crazy.
The place was a dump.
I wasn't good with a hammer
was terrified of power tools
had no funds beyond the minuscule asking price.
To a degree, I took it on a dare.
Somehow it happened.
Over a period of two years the house
actually a gold rush shack
probably thrown together in the 1860's
(out of old growth redwood boards)
and remodeled in the 1880's
(decorated with Victorian gingerbread)
and again in the 1940's
for the uses of war-time ship builders on Mare Island
(a bit of electricity and a toilet)
was restored on the outside and remodeled on the inside.
I followed my instinct and opened it up
pulled out its walls and ceiling to reveal its basic shape
reusing as much of the old wood as I could.
As a perfectionist
I had to learn when to let go
to yield to the realities of physics and building codes
historic codes, and budget limitations.
This, in the end, became part of the fun:
to attempt to maintain
integrity and composure within the project and myself
to solve the puzzle of making it work within the given parameters
to discover for myself
that deconstruction and reconstruction
are organic and sequential processes
requiring great patience.
Text and images created for Artist's homes tour in Vallejo CA, 2008.