Chapter 21 – Week One in a Blue Ridge Energy Systems Home

Chapter 21 – Week One in a Blue Ridge Energy Systems Home

It has been one week since the movers came, I unpacked, hung art with Randy Redrick’s invaluable assistance, and then greeted over 400 people at Parade of Homes October 12 and 13.  It’s a blur to me, but I wake up each morning with gratitude and I climb into bed at night seeing the moon and stars through the clerestory window in my bedroom.  I have to pinch myself to believe it’s all real!!

This joy is in direct contradiction to the heart wrenching pain of the massive hemorraghic stroke my sister Leigh suffered on Sunday, October 13, exactly one month following her 67th birthday.  She lived in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and sadly was a smoker her entire life, doing little to promote her own good health.  She must have been hypertensive for years but went un-diagnosed.  Her two sons and her ex-husband flew to Mexico and as soon as they said their goodbyes, she peacefully left this earth on October 15.  I so appreciate the medical advice and support from Alan Woodward and from so many of my friends who have circled me with love these past few days.  For those of you who believe in a God, please pray for Leigh Jarvis, Todd and Trent Jarvis, David Jarvis and above all, Manele, the love of her life who gave her such happiness in Mexico.  I am heartbroken but know that losing people you love is part of life.  This serves as a reminder to cherish every waking moment one has and to tell those important to you that you love them often.

West elevation from retention pond

West elevation from retention pond

Moving into a new home is quite an upheaval.  A dear friend, Alice Hart introduced me to a blog written by Cameron Kempson, a deaconess in their Methodist Church.  The chapter that she posted on September 18 really goes to the heart of all my emotions.  I encourage you to subscribe to her blog, but in summary she writes:

“Change moves us to new spaces and places on our journey–we struggle, we wilt, and we wonder if we will survive.  May we surrender to the great Gardener–the one who nurtures us with love and light and who brings us back to life again.”

Here are some realizations from my first few days in my new home.  One, I will never live without sunlight again! The light that floods my spaces not only warms them but makes my art collection look more beautiful than it ever has before.  It’s dramatic and obvious that I have lived in dark spaces a great deal of my life and I’m “born again” to the passive solar, south light phenomenon.

South elevation

South elevation

Secondly, I can see and reach everything I need in my kitchen.  No more contortions to reach the backs of cabinets, no more un-stacking multiple dishes to reach the one I want.  A LARGE pantry and 30″ deep base cabinets (24″ is what you usually get) with full extension drawers is a miracle!!  Don’t ever design a kitchen without these two features!!

Super insulated means that I am not wrapped up in blankets as I sit to read.  There are no drafts of cold air, there is total comfort without the heat even coming on so far!  The house is an environment of light, warmth and comfort!!  The super insulated feature also means that my concrete floors remain comfortable to walk on barefooted….the attention to preventing thermal bridging was well worth the extra effort.

I confess I haven’t cooked much since moving in, but the induction cooktop is the only one I ever want to use again!  I was such a gas cooking snob, but those days are gone…I can bring a large pot of water to boil in under 2 minutes and the controls are ever so much more sensitive than gas ever hoped to be!  I know this means buying new cookware for most people, but it’s oh so worth it!!

Patio living

Patio living

Having a no-threshold, spacious, walk in shower is a thing of joy!  The beautiful concrete floors are level to the tiled shower floor, separated only by elegant frameless glass doors.  As I age or have any infirmity, my shower will always serve me well!

I love my dog Clancie about as much as anything in my world, so I’ve been practicing with her to stay on the patio unleashed.  She has an uncontrollable urge to chase anything that moves.  Well, we had been on the patio for quite some time with friends and all of a sudden she took off, in one leap down the hill, across the creek and into the woods where I could not see her.  I screamed at the top of my lungs to get her back, fearing that she could meet her demise if she got to Pinner’s Cove Road because she has no concept of cars.  After a brief time, she came back to me and I put her in time out.  Not five minutes had gone by when a bear nonchalantly came up from the creek and crossed the drive like he owned the place.  Now I feel guilty for chastising my dog at doing something her genetic makeup makes her do!!  So, I live so very close to Asheville but I still live in a wild place.  That’s a wonderful thing.

Parade of Homes continues October 19-20, noon to five.  Please come see what Blue Ridge Energy Systems has done.  It’s wonderful!!  Also check out the next home being built at Greenwood:  it’s The Perch.  1900 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths with commanding views near and far, all for $399,000.  Energy efficient and fabulous finishes at a great price! 

Mignon Durham is a retired computer consultant, avid art and craft collector, founder of Toe River Project Access, and founder of Toe River Valley Watch. She has always been fascinated with what makes a place feel like home, and she hopes this blog will enlighten your own personal journey home.