Archives for posts with tag: images

Patricia (architect) conducted a team meeting today with our structural engineer and contractor to review our first printed project timeline. Suddenly there the project was, stretching on for three pages like reticulated building blocks measuring out the next six months of our lives. Oh, the things we will see from our little camper window.

Antony Rieck (photographer) and Jorge Brunet (art director) showed up as the meeting ended to capture images of our intrepid team. I stood observing these three successful, self-employed professionals in front of the camera who also happen to be women – mothers, sisters, daughters, wives – posing for serious as well as silly photos that poke fun and celebrate them as females. When the Hatcher House was built 44 years ago, no woman would have been a principal on such a project. We’ve come a long way, baby.

Just as the past holds its stories, so certainly will the future. Last year Patricia, Jorge, Richard and I sat with the Hatchers on this property and looked at the images they had captured and preserved forty-odd years ago of the home being built and of their young family. I like to think that I will sit on this property forty years from now and tell young new owners about our experience, show them the images of our project, and consider how we got from here to there.

So you would like to see more pictures I hear. Well visit the MobileMe gallery for more or click on the initial image on the main page to go there. We also have a tag for images in posts.

With a few days until closing we stopped at the house to make sure all was well, and again a car pulled up and a woman was at the door. Yet another buyer trolling the property? To our delight she was not there to buy it. She had lived in the house 25 years ago and was just stopping to have a look. She reminisced about her time growing up in the house and people in the neighborhood, and she remembered a lot about the original interior details.

Patricia had tracked down William Morgan’s original brief, sketches, and photos of the house from the University of Florida School of Architecture archives, but until then Richard and I didn’t know that originally much of the furniture had been built in (master bed and night tables, kids’ beds and desks, stereo cabinet). Our visitor even remembered William Morgan’s chairs they kept out by the pool!

Sigh, I could have pictured myself sitting by the pool with a bouffant hairdo and cat eye sunglasses in one of those chairs. This house sure stays with people. I hope our kids will be back in 25 years with such strong memories. We feel pretty strongly now, we’ll probably go ahead and buy it.

I had tracked down a number for a William Hatcher, hoping he might be the original owner and namesake. I held onto the number for almost two weeks before I got up the nerve to call. A female answered the phone and I introduced myself, stated that I was looking for William Hatcher, and explained that I was purchasing a home in Jacksonville called the Hatcher House. The responsive “ooooooh!” let me know I had the right number. Mrs. Hatcher called for Mr. Hatcher to come to the phone, and after a brief conversation he offered to meet us at the house in a few days. As an unexpected bonus, Mrs. Hatcher said that she had some original photos of the home!

Richard, Patricia, Jorge and I had already arrived at the house when Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher pulled up followed by their son. We spent a wonderful hour or so wandering the house with them, asking questions, and listening to stories and reminisces. Their son’s stories were my favorite because he remembers the home through the eyes of a child, and I thought of all the fun our kids would have living here.

Mr. Hatcher told us that the massive wall speaker, my favorite feature of the house because it’s this colossal surprise behind this demure screen door, he built! The strange wee trapdoor under the stairs was finally explained as well – the cats stayed under the stairwell at night. He showed us the approximate site of the well, discussed site and construction details with Patricia, and chuckled about the shipbuilder who somehow single-handedly replaced a twisting yellow pine beam under a 12’x12’ sheet of glass. Mrs. Hatcher showed us her scrapbook with newspaper clippings and photos of the place during and after construction.

Their son was kind enough to send us color copies of all of the photos and clippings, and I sent a thank you note to the Hatchers for the gift of their time and memories. Their stories and presence at the house were exhilarating and also sobering regarding the work that lies ahead.

There was no magic to finding it. It found us. We had been house hunting for months finding nothing even remotely interesting, all bungalows or poorly designed ranch houses with no personality. I first saw the house on a realtor web site, this one lonely photo of an unusual cube-shaped house in poor light. I saw it and shrugged to myself, huh, must be a foreclosure since there is only one photo. Interesting looking but not in the area we want. When I finally mentioned it to Richard he said he’d seen it as well, and also thought it looked interesting…but knew I’d protest because of the location. But it can’t hurt to look, right?

click to see more images

My first impression at the showing: Nice shaded lot, the house looked sad and droopy (later realizing the sagging cantilevered beams were the cause), but WOW the view of the water, the open shallow stairwell moving us through all four levels, the peaceful and intimate living spaces. And the quirky unexpected things – an odd little door under the stairs, a safe, a speaker the size of a closet. I left the place chuckling. Richard left the place with the wheels spinning in his head. One of us brought it up later that day and my response was NO WAY. Too much space. Too much house. Too much work. Wrong location. But Richard was smart and bided his time.

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