We bought a few houses in our time. The first one was in an old neighborhood on McKinley Hill in Tacoma. The owners had it for sale a long time because they didn’t want to sell it just anybody. I knocked on the door and said I saw the sign and they let me in. I was with Susie Cowan who is my magic friend.
Every time I spend time with her magical things always happen.
The house was sort of in disrepair but it had wisteria in full bloom in the back yard and a fountain and 75 trimmed boxwoods. Each was a perfect ball shape. I didn’t care about the neighborhood or anything structural or any of the normal things you look at when you buy a house. I loved it because I felt the souls of the people who designed and built the house. It was a Williamsburg style house; probably the only one in Tacoma.
The original owners visited there and fell in love with the style and recreated it. We went to Williamsburg on a trip once ,and saw that yup, that was the style of houses there. I called my husband and told him we had to buy this house. When he saw it he agreed and we moved there from Lake Stevens.
The first thing we did was to build the serpentine brick walls.
They were in many of the yards in Virginia and we thought “how hard can it be?” Well it was not easy
First we had to take out a huge tree and terrace the side of the house. Then we had to find a million used bricks that were old but not too old, All the bricks were in Seattle so we had to disassemble chimneys there and haul the bricks home. They all needed to have all the cement scraped off and that took eons. Building the wall was tricky as Jim had zero experience bricklaying. We finally consigned ourselves to hire a bricklayer to do the whole yard. I cannot believe we collected enough bricks from countless trips to do the entire yard, but we did.
Everything was shabby so we had to rebuild the fence and the wisteria needed better support so we had to do that too.
This was step one.