Some Notes about the Blue House Next Door

I’ve received a lot of excited emails about my expansion into the “Blue House Next Door,” often shown in garden photos, since the main part of the garden exists between the two houses. From questions and comments, it seems people remain unclear what’s happening with that house, so I thought I’d address some of the most common questions and misunderstandings here.

First of all, David and I are not moving into the Blue House. We love our current home and have no desire to move out. Rather, I will be renting the house next door primarily as a writing office. Virginia Woolf famously said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” I heartily agree! She also said, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Apparently, in Goshen, Indiana, I need not just a room of my own to write fiction, but an entire house! For a variety of reasons, it became clear to me this past Spring that I will never write more fiction, or even another book length anything, from my office in our current home. For one, I need a view, and my office here looks out either on a wall or a factory, neither of which transport me to another realm I wish to enter. By contrast, the bottom bedroom of the Blue House looks out from two different angles on my garden. It offers a space completely free of day to day concerns, and I’ve gotten our landlord (same one who owns this place) to paint the entire house in bold, bright colors to counteract the Indiana Cloud Belt’s excessive winter grey.

Along with the primary purpose as a tax write-off writer’s retreat so I can finally get working on the books wanting to flow through me, the house offers a large community dining space and living room for potlucks and Wheel of the Year celebrations currently limited by the size of our house, as well as David’s schedule. In the new space, I can host these gatherings every six weeks without needing to disrupt whatever involved projects or space limitations we have going on at our house.

In terms of classes, instead of capping off attendees to however many can fit in our living room with all its furniture, I am purposely leaving the living room of the Blue House quite empty and flexible. We have a variety of folding chairs, rocking chairs, etc. and at some point will likely get a daybed for that room, too. In most cases, I can double the number of students per class, which makes things much more flexible for would be attendees. The two bedrooms upstairs (and potentially the daybed downstairs) will also allow me to house a few out of town students who would otherwise need to budget for local hotel rates in addition to the classes. The kitchen with Vitamix will allow people to make their own food, and in the right seasons, that house will also have its own garden free for harvesting/food prep.

Both houses are zoned residential, so although I can live and operate my primarily phone and internet based business with occasional classes in our living room from either location, I cannot legally open up a “school” or run a “hotel.” I’m not doing so. I’m renting this space as a guesthouse/expansion of our current house, in order to write. If, at some point, demand grows so much for classes such that the Blue House would hold more than a few classes per month, I would need to go before the zoning board to ask to make this a business property. In the meantime, it’s a rental for writing, studying my permaculture design course and some other online courses on docket for Fall and Winter. It also offers far greater flexibility for community building, a guesthouse for visiting friends, family and students, as well as a larger/more flexible living room. Move-in date is set for 9/7/15.

I hope that explains what’s happening. LOL, I’ve gotten questions ranging from “When are you and David moving next door?” to “Are you guys pulling a Frieda Kahlo and living in separate quarters?” No, we are not both moving next door. No, I am not moving out of this house by myself. I am renting the space as a creative, spiritual and community space that happens to offer a guesthouse and an additional yard to garden. At some point, if the permaculture thing takes off, perhaps I’ll need to approach my friends in zoning, but for now, I need to get in there to finish some research I’ve begun, hopefully let these books flow through, and to build much greater community through celebrations, visitors and classes.

Yes, I am very excited! And yes, so is David. He gets a garage out of the deal, since our garage has remained a storage unit turned garden shed. 🙂

10 responses to this post.

  1. Congratulations, Laura! This seems an ideal situation, and how auspicious and fortunate that the blue house next door was available. I can hear the spirits of place cheering. 🙂 Lots of love, Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Posted by manyhahama1955 on August 17, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Beautiful dream, becoming reality. Nice work! big hugs, s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Posted by sky on August 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the clarification. I get it now. Yes, it will definitely make a difference having such a nice place for your writing and studying. Being able to hold larger classes and wheel of the year celebrations will also be great. And doubling your gardening space over time will be fantastic. And I’m sure David cannot wait to finally have a garage that is a garage. :o)

    Sky

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Posted by Jane Derbenwick on August 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Great newsy post, Laura!  Sounds wonderful for sure.  Love, Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Posted by Erna on August 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    What an inspiring post to read. Congratulations, it sounds like such an expansive opportunity of creativity and beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks, Jamie! Yes, the situation unfolded beautifully, including the old neighbors (whom we liked but who weren’t at all into any of the things we like) coming into some money and buying a much more appropriately sized and located home for their large family. It worked out for everyone, including our landlord, because until they came into money, those tenants were often four months behind on their rent. The house looks gorgeous in the parts he’s remodeled, and the yard will receive much more loving, regular care. Meanwhile, that space will house many joyful celebrations. Lots of love, Laura

    Like

  7. Thanks and hugs, S!

    Like

  8. Hi Sky, yes, that’s the idea. That yard will be so much easier to manage, too, since it is just grass and less established weeds. The neighbors didn’t do much, but at least it got mowed every few weeks, unlike our black walnut infested jungle of stumped, dock, dandelion and garlic mustard. My biggest challenge with the new yard is finding ways not to overpack it so much with fruit and nut trees that there’s no room for a potential chicken coop and gathering area. Discipline! I have a cool vision for this yard, but I need to remember I want some blank spaces. We are both looking forward to having easier access to our bikes, too, since they can fit in the new garage even with the car in there. 🙂

    Like

  9. Thanks, Momma! Love you…

    Like

  10. Thanks, Erna! Yes, that’s the vision and intention, including a winter blooming tree and winter interest shrubs out front. Year round inspiration is the name of the game here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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