HERE is home sweet home, definitely where the heart is, and I felt to simply share it with you today, inviting without expectation your own free experience of its parts and the whole. If it gives you even a moment’s simple pleasure, then I shall count myself the king of the world. That will be “enough.”
To briefly set the stage: I am set up with easel and paints on the roof of the (one story) 1926 Old Spanish home next door that we bought from the family of my long-time neighbor Vivian, whom we loved dearly, after she had need for it no more. Toward the right and back you see the two-story garage/ etc. building painted the same green as the house.
The buildings seen to the left are our “house” house (facing the street), a 1937 treasure built by a Cuban couple forced into early exile not for political reasons, but as a result of of the wife’s chronic illness, sadly requiring treatment then available only at Jackson Hospital.The house was built by Cuban craftsmen come to do the job, and it is quite clearly a labor of love. It’s named “La Paz,” or “Peace.”
My late partner Scott and I discovered and bought the place together, a first for us both, moving in in Feb. of 1992 ( I always think of it as “the February before Andrew”). I know I’ve been here a while, for I myself planted the Bahamian Yellow Coconut Palm now putting on such a show. Out back is the traditional half-garage and servant’s quarters, now, a few renovations later, a wonder of a living space I’ve been known to describe in shorthand as a “fantasia on Florida themes.” surrounded by gardens, and the sounds of falling water.
It’s called “Lost Reef Cottage” after an amazing coral reef formation was excavated after we’d removed the considerable driveway with the ambition of transforming yard into a native “hammock,” or forest. For 7-8 years Alan and I made both the Cottage and the home next door (“the Mission”) available as vacation rentals, which was a wonderful experience but exhausting, and are ready to find longer-term tenants to next enjoy them.
One final note: though maybe not easy to make out in the image, if you look closely in the 2nd floor window of the house next door you’ll note that our boy, Hoppers, has taken advantage of the cool winter’s day, a half-open window, and an opportunity to be in one of Daddy’s paintings to stretch our regally on the wooden windowsill and gaze curiously my way, which made me happy.
We do love the boy.