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. 🙂