07 April 2016

An Ink Sketch of the House From the Previous Owner

Hanging on the wall as we toured this house for the first time, in the front room, was this ink sketch of the house as it existed in 2001:

Honestly, this was one of the homey details we noticed as we walked through, placed there by the previous owners. There were a few more-- the enlarged ruler marking the growth of the sellers' children through the years; the old stone stove in the backyard with the heart-shaped rock on it. I certainly would not say that these little items "sold" the house for us-- we had already walked through the front door and realized that this was it, that we had experienced our "You'll know it when you see it" moment that comes for many in the home-buying process. These things certainly spoke to us, however. We replicated the growth chart idea by getting one ourselves after we moved in. Although I haven't done it yet, I plan on somehow finding a similar heart-shaped rock and presenting it to my wife and daughters at some point. 

And finally, the sketch. After all the negotiation was completed, after the inspection was over but before closing day, we still remembered the sketch, and I wanted it. I assumed that the drawing, as was the house, was important to the sellers and didn't dare asking for the original sketch (although did hold out brief hope that they would kindly offer it up to stay with the house). Instead, I asked our realtor if he could pass along a request to allow us to make a copy of it. The sellers were kind enough to oblige and that's exactly what we did.

Although I've not had all that much communication with this former owner, I did ask him through email about the sketch, among other questions after I began hunting down the history of this house. His reply to the query was that the drawing was completed by an artist friend of theirs shortly after they purchased the house in 2001. It was a Christmas present to his wife for their first holiday in their new home. Sure enough, the drawing is signed by the artist and dated 12/4/01. For the life of me I've never been able to make out this artist's name-- George something. The last name starts with a "J" I believe, but the letters after that could be almost anything. I have not re-asked the previous owner as of yet.

Anyway, this is the house frozen in a moment in time 15 years ago. It is not very different today from the way it appeared then, although the untold story is that those owners painted it from white to the current olive green. They also put decorative vinyl shutters on the porch windows, the attic window, and the front-most window on that left side. You don't see those add-on shutters in the sketch of course. The front planting bed is much less crowded nowadays, with less bushes than are depicted here. The downspout on the left-front stone porch pier has been moved to the left side instead of being on the front face. I've wondered about the driveway at the left-side of the house in this image. Here, it looks like it extends nearly all the way to the backyard. Was it really like this? Today, most of this side-yard is grass and a picket fence aligns with the projecting bay window, terminating the current driveway.

Other than those frankly minor details, this is a spitting image of the house we know and love today. It also is pretty much the same as the public record image I found, dated to the 1990s. These two images show the house that Catherine Cantlin finally needed to move out of in 2001, after having lived there for the previous 70 years.

Have you ever had a painting or a sketch of your home completed? If not, consider doing so, both for yourself and for future owners. It's really a special detail that can remain with the home for a long, long time.

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