The following is excerpted from A Home of Her Own
Every so often she passed the striking limestone house and wondered what was going on there. Friends and colleagues knew that she and Tim had been interested in the place, and one day a coworker, who happened to live behind the house, mentioned that he had not seen the owner in some time. Margaret made some inquiries and discovered the owner had died. After a respectful delay, she contacted the owner’s daughter, who said she was still too attached to her mother’s home to imagine parting with it. But a few months later she contacted Margaret and arranged to show her the property.
“It was cavernous,” Margaret recalls. “You’d walk into one room and it would open onto another. There was a wonderful feel of continuousness.” There was also a captivating element of surprise; where any other house might have had an exterior wall, this house had a sunroom, a patio, or a porch, producing a rare sense of communion between inside and out. As she went from room to room, Margaret felt what she describes as “a selfish giddiness — something like, ‘This house can’t be true!'” Did the owners know what they had?
Even the lot behind the house was magical. Just beyond the garage, stone steps led into a sunken garden surrounded by a tangle of vines, in the midst of which stood a limestone sundial. Near the rear property line a majestic tree of heaven and a cluster of ancient conifers watched over the house and its garden like a convocation of druid priests.
After that first visit, she felt compelled to return. The house was still not on the market. One day, while looking around the back, she discovered an unlocked door. Could she go in?
The question was rather, could she not? She felt drawn.–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work