Just after the renovation in 2008, I wrote part of an essay that talked about what owning/restoring/improving Cannon House has meant to me. I expect to finish it some day, but for now, here’s an excerpt:
She spoke to me.
Not in words, not in ordinary language. But in smells, in creaks and uneven floors, in vibrations and imperfections, and in tones you can only hear with your heart. No home had ever spoken to me in this way before; there had been work done on this historic gem in the past, but she clearly needed more. And since our dwellings are so critical to our emotional resonance, to our multisensory satisfaction and wellness, to our life’s successes, it only made sense to listen, to act, and to let her know she matters.
And so I did just that. Heeding her messages meant this 1921 hybrid French colonial revival in Midtown Atlanta would have a new basement and front yard, with a down-to-the-last-detail commitment to lessening the property’s impact on the environment. On that last point: “historic home” and “eco-sensitive” are difficult concepts to merge, but thinking creatively is something that comes pretty easily to me. And that’s all it took to produce something truly special.
The results were great on many levels. We had HGTV’s “Ground Breakers” filming every step of the garden redesign; and we had Discovery Channel documenting some of the sustainable features, including the greywater system, GeoDeck and other items.
Homeownership often means forgiving your surroundings’ own imperfections. And since we are mere temporary visitors in our own homes—when a generation might seem like the blink of an eye—it is our residences that really should be forgiving us.