This video blog can be accessed at Pamlico Rose’s YouTube channel.
It’s 7 in the morning on a sultry July in Washington, NC and rain is waking our Rose Haven up. I am Robert Greene Sands, CEO of Pamlico Rose,and this is episode 3 of Our Old House.
I am standing in the upstairs bedrooms which we’ve taken down to just beams and studs in our 1892 integration home for female Veterans suffering from substance abuse.
In places, and over time, the house’s structure was modified based on immediate need. In a sense, the house was a functional canvas waiting to be painted and repainted. Walls went up and came down, studs were moved and replaced, some still have the bark on, porches and windows added, the house lifted and moved.
In a matter of a few short months, if not sooner, these two bedrooms and the two downstairs will welcome 4 female Veterans in recovery and a live-in coordinator. But for now, the skeleton reminds us that this old house is being rehabbed from the bones up. The history held in the walls, the many footsteps worn into the stairs and floors, and the ceilings that lay low in the rooms have mostly been wiped or ripped a away…mostly but not all. Our incoming residents, two of which will sleep in these upstairs rooms, will have walked a similar path through recovery from substance abuse. In many cases stripping away layers of life, some but not all, to get back to bones, to begin rebuilding their future.
Their visit here will match how this house, when we are done, will have come back from the past, and just a year ago, near death.
The ceiling once hanging low over the rooms opens to the roof, creating space, and a welcoming place. Once broken windows and rotted frames are being rebuilt, letting in the light of day, while protecting from rainy days and chilly nights.
The original pine floors finally get a chance to breath after years of carpets suffocated them. They will be sanded down to the original wood and given new luster. All around these rooms, the house’s 130-year old bones have received reinforcement from additional lumber, shoring up the weak points, and creating a more resilient skeleton, and a stronger space and place.
When finally put back together, this upstairs and those rooms downstairs will be whole once again, the bones improved, but will look radically different than it was when we first bought it. This house will have healed and in the process, created a home.
Healing changes what once was broken and frail. This home will welcome residents also on a healing path, all looking to mend what was broken.
We work in the garden just out the window to create a healing place from a vacant lot and overgrown bushes. We ripped out walls and pried up layers of carpet and old linoleum to expose the soundness of the structure within. We chose to rescue and heal, and make more resilient, not tear down and destroy.
What a perfect metaphor to welcome residents going through a similar fate.