Welcome to the Art House

ArtHouseAt the top of my “bucket list” has been the purchase of an “art house”, a place where I could retreat in order to write, paint, meditate, create and dream.

I can now check that item off my list. 

On Feb. 6, 2014, the deed was filed in Thurston County, making it official.  The Art House is no longer a dream. Now it’s a reality.

Here was the criteria I followed to choose the perfect place.

1.  It had to be old, built in the 1940’s or earlier.  (The Art House was built in 1901.)

2.  I wanted it to be small, but with at least 2 bedrooms – 3 would be ideal.  (The house has 3 bedrooms, one bath, a glass-enclosed front porch, a large pantry and a mud room off the back.  As a bonus, it has a two-car garage with two large enclosed rooms that can be converted to a wood shop and an art studio.  Plus two more out-buildings on a third of an acre.)

3.  It needed to be in a small town, filled with history and stories. (Art House is located in Bucoda, Washington, a township of only 517 residents, established by Aaron Webster in 1854 and incorporated in 1910.  The name is from the first two letters of the three primary investors: Buckley, Coulter and David – BU CO DA. They helped to establish the Mutual Lumber Mill, so successful that it earned the moniker “The Town with the Million Dollar Payroll.”  From 1874 to 1888, it was also the site of Seatco Prison, Washington’s first territorial prison.)

4.  It had to be inspirational and a little bit strange. (An operational railroad line runs right past the house.  It’s walking distance to the Skoocumchuck River.  Forest Grove Cemetery, just north of the main town, is the final resting place of many of the Seatco prisoners. Perhaps that is why every year, the town changes its name to “Boo-coda” and hosts an annual “zombie walk” where residents dress up as zombies and shuffle through the streets.)

5.  It had to be a major fixer-upper.  (Let’s be honest – the Art House in its current condition is an absolute wreck. It needs EVERYTHING: new roof, windows, electric, floors, ceilings, walls, kitchen, bathroom, the list goes on. But that’s what I wanted. This way, I can put an artist twist on every nook and all the crannies.  It’s going to take a long time – but by the time I’m done – if that ever happens – every single object in the house will have a story to tell.)

The story begins here, with this first introductory article.  I will chronicle the process of remodeling and design, step-by-step, in the “Art House” section of the Umbrella blog.  It will include photos and descriptions – and I look forward to your comments as this project unfolds.

As Andy Warhol once famously said, “Art is anything you can get away with.” Or, in this case, “Art is anything you get to live with.”  I can’t wait to get started living inside of an art project!

Keep your eyes open.  More to come.


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