There are many joys and discoveries to owning a home circa 1902. In doing many of the projects at our inn over the years we have uncovered all kinds of interesting things.
A worker signature on a support column discovered when we replaced our air conditioning compressor at the beginning of May with a larger unit causing us to try and make a space for it, an “odd man out” fix on a spindle that doesn’t quite match the other spindles of our back porch- evidently undertaken before we purchased in 1999 and most recently a small section of toe molding on our front porch that actually looks like it was carved to retrofit a piece that may have been damaged or broken.
We have welcomed many, many guests to our Victorian home over the 16 years we have owned this treasure. They have chosen our home seeking a rest from their daily lives and a place from which to explore the city of Asheville. Functioning now as a bed and breakfast, this home has had many occupants and functions in its past. It has served as a bible repository, a boarding house, a girl’s school, and several private residences just to name some of what our research into its history has revealed.
All this waxing poetic was brought to mind recently because it was clearly time to paint the porches of this mature home. As I was carefully washing the wood of the porch floor in preparation for painting, my mind began to drift toward the wonderment’s of all the many souls having used this porch over the life of this home. The porch acts as both access to our front door and also a lovely haven with comfortable, covered seating availing our guests of a serene place to enjoy a great cup of coffee while being serenaded by the always joyful song birds that populate our front garden. It has been a place of creative discussion, more than a few joyful events and a spot that encourages the gathering of bodies and hearts. As I was cleaning, I thought of the many words spoken on that porch, the dreams that began there, the brides that trailed down those few stairs rounding the path to the back gardens to marry their betrothed. I thought of those who’d owned this house as private individuals and the family dynamics that likely revealed themselves there.
Porches are unique in a home in that as they are outside the main structure of the house quite open to the fragrant mountain air. They offer us an opportunity to enjoy all the frolicking and wonder inherent in nature and the beauty that is on full display every day. I would bet anything that their privacy, serenity, fresh air and cozy atmospheres bring more to the lives of many than any other square footage in the house.
Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers