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Meeting Rumley


In saying good-bye to Simplicity, we said hello to our new home, Rumley. He sat by himself in a new subdivision, empty lots behind and on either side, rough raw agricultural acres as his landscape. The homes across the street were a year old. Now with owners, they had begun their lives together.

On the bend of the road and a bit elevated, Rumley stood out in every way. He looked lonely. I recollected seeing Simplicity for the first time. While her lot was also rough and raw, she snuggled into her neighborhood, radiated comfort and joy, surrounded by established houses and tall trees. She looked anything but lonely, in fact, she looked like she belonged. Rumley was conspicuous, as if plopped onto the baren lot to test whether a house could survive in that location. Isolated and unsure of his future, he looked awkward and diminutive. With nearby lots numbered and platted, it ensured him company, if he waited.

But our realtor said we would like him. She encouraged us to attend the open house. On paper, he offered many of our house requests. One floor, open plan, separate wings for master bedroom and guests, an attached garage, and sufficient space for our studios to name a few. As we stood in front of him, taking a much longer critiquing eye, I could see he was handsome. Not the kind of handsome that knocks you off your feet first impression, but that second glance and more inquiring conversation you have with a house when you really look. His dark blue-gray siding was pleasing and suggested mystery and calm. I was intrigued by this combination and let the feeling walk in the door with me.

Once inside, I took a spontaneous deep breath, and a smile crossed my face. The simple but defined entry brought us into a welcoming hallway that then led into a light-filled expansive living space. We gradually moved from the outside, taking time to trust our way into the private living space. My anxious shoulders relaxed. Rumley had delivered on one of our requests of a new home – a designated entry.

My first impression was of light. Even on this gray rainy day, natural light filtered through each of Rumley’s windows. Light colored walls reflected the warm welcome. Cathedral ceiling and walls at angles opened not only the room, but our interest. The room was graciously sufficient for our needs. Not bound by walls as we were in Simplicity, Rumley’s exposed kitchen into the living space gave us an honest look at life with him. The word freedom came to mind. Family and friends could join us in this space and not be boxed in or confined. Rumley’s open space offered movement. People and furniture could be together in multiple configurations with conversations easily shared and heard, not challenged by walls and doorways. The openness expanded my thinking and ways of living here. This space could hold many people or be happily content with just one. I loved the extravagance of this great room and was energized by the light from the windows.

A gas fireplace was situated in one corner. Another request of our new home. Wisconsin winters would be cozy. The white woodwork throughout Rumley was uplifting, refreshing. Again, a stark difference from the dark and experienced framing in Simplicity.

Rumley’s floor plan hosted a guest wing at the front of the house and a master suite at the back. I saw this as an act of kindness, granting private space to guests and us, while sharing much of the house in the communal great room.

Perhaps the greatest surprise was the basement that offered 1650 square feet of open space. Unfinished, the concrete floors and exposed walls welcomed options for both Don’s and my studio space. Each of us could take the natural light of the egress windows and expansive high ceilings to create in new ways. Another deep breath and a huge smile crossed my face. Once again, we had found a house to call home and Rumley was his name.

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