Saturday, November 16, 2013

Exeunt Omnes


So here we are, at the final chapter of the 62nd Street Blog.  At long last.  The house isn't really finished - there are still some small details to take care of, and the yard and fences to be done - but the houses are occupied, and for all intents and purposes, we're done.  And the blog is done too.

It has been quite an odyssey.  We moved houses 5 times, spent thousands and thousands of dollars, and worked for four years, spending almost all of our free time working on one house or the other.  Except for a week in Hawaii in 2012 and a week in Upstate New York in 2013, we have spent almost all our free time on 62nd Street.

We've met wonderful new neighbors and friends on 62nd Street, and welcomed many new people into our lives.  We've sweated and worked and swore and said "Never again!" and then gone back for more.  We've fought with each other, with the City of Berkeley, and we've wondered, time and time again: "Why are we doing this?"

We now have two beautiful houses on 62nd Street - both historic houses, over 100 years old, yet both lovingly restored with new plumbing, wiring and heating.  Both houses are ready to face the next 100 years.

Now that both houses are finished, we are bone tired - and also, deeply satisfied.  There are now 10 people living happily in the two houses we moved and restored, and we feel like we've given something to the neighborhood, and to the City of Berkeley.  We've also created a compound where a community can grow and thrive.

The Delaney House is occupied, as these pictures demonstrate:

The view up the stairs

The upstairs hallway

The upstairs balcony

The Front Bedroom

The old Delaney Living Room, now a bedroom

The former kitchen, now also a bedroom

The foyer outside the upstairs bathroom

The upstairs bathroom

The Office (formerly the back stairs)

The landing at the top of the stairs

Looking down the stairs

The new downstairs bedroom


Two views of the new first floor shower

The first floor bathroom


 The new kitchen

 The Delaney House Kitchen

So what have we learned here?
  • We learned that we can do this - we have the wherewithal, the determination, the chutzpah and the stubbornness to push through and save not one but two historic structures, to deal with the craziness of Berkeley's worst bureaucracy, and the energy and sweat to do the work.  
  • We have the vision - the ability to see what can be, and to look past what is.  We saw both these houses as beautiful when very few people did, and we saw the lot on 62nd as a place of potential.
  • We learned that we are lucky to have such good friends and family who support us in our mishegoss.  
  • And we learned that everything is harder and more expensive and more time consuming than we expect.  And yet, totally worth it.

So what is next for Rockhead and Quarry?  No promises, but we are not going to stop.  Tom and I have other projects to tackle, and, I fear, other houses to move.  But that will have to wait for another blog.  

Now I just hope I don't wake up to find myself in bed with Suzanne Pleshette....


2 comments:

  1. We may have different perspectives on waking up with Suzanne Pleshette lol, but congrats on all the beautiful, amazing work!

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  2. If anyone had encyclopedias anymore, I would say look up "showplace" in the encyclopedia and you will see 62nd St. I think my mother carried this word through me to the 21st-century just so I could use it today. She and Mary Tyler Moore and Suzanne Pleshette all approve. And speaking of Mary Tyler Moore, I keep thinking of the time the Petries hired the Italian painter Vito and he said "Give me your walls!" That's how I feel. Give me your kitchen! Give me your bathroom! Give me your balcony and your stairways! It's all just so beautiful, and I agree, an incredible contribution to the community. Congratulations! I'm kvelling!

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