If you drive two miles north of town into the NOVA wine country, pass the alpaca farm and the big barn under construction, take a turn down the gravel road entitled “Hidden Springs Lane.” You will pass a pond while dodging some free range chickens, and find a cream colored two-story house with burgundy shutters set on the highest point of a six-acre piece of grazing land. After pulling into the driveway, you can pet the dogs that greet you if you like; one is a dark colored, medium build, mixed mutt, and his best friend is a small white curly haired fellow. Follow the paver stones down around the back and you will see a small herb garden next to a rain barrel, sharing a small patio with a small grill. If you are there in the morning, you may see the horses pasturing next door snort steam out of their silky noses, or maybe a fox or two chasing the deer around the far corner of the property. The two beehives are a little to the north of that corner, and the large garden is just north of that (so the bees can pollinate easily).
Once you enter through the white french basement doors in the back cutaway, you will be in a spacious living room, looking into an equally spacious dining kitchen. Two almost-floor-length windows in the living room and the french doors you came through on the south side cast in the afternoon sun every day. On the other side of the full bath, a single bedroom also has a bright window with a ledge where I keep my two orchid plants. This cozy basement apartment is our home.
As newlyweds, we never dreamed that our first home would be so idyllic, so spacious, and so well, perfect. Our landlord is a professor at my alma mater, which is also where I work now, and his wife and four children (two by birth, two by adoption) are some of the sweetest people you will meet. Needless to say, we are blessed.
However, getting into this place was quite the nail-biter. Long story short, the property was purchased but no house existed as of April 23rd, 2012. We were married at the end of May 2012, house-sat for the month of June as the house was being built, then 60 working days later, we moved in on July 1st, 2012. I think the builder who made the magic happen should get an oscar. Or at least a nobel peace prize. To top it off, the lady who installed our window blinds said the house windows and corners were all straight. Hallelujah! (Oh, and the day we moved in was the day that one of the biggest land storms of all time [mr. “derecho”] hit Northern Virginia. Power in this brand new home went out for about 20 hours, thankfully due to downed power lines and not faulty wiring. Buckets of rain fell, and my husband got stuck hacking through downed trees which were blocking a main road with a policeman’s axe on his way to get our things from storage. This also happened to be the ONE time in my life that I have ever left a car door open overnight. The next morning, we found all of the hay that had been scattered on the newly seeded lawn INSIDE my car.) True story.
Again, we are blessed.
The one thing I miss however, is having windows in my kitchen. My wonderful husband installed under-cabinet lights that really help keep things bright and cheery, but there’s still nothing quite like warm, natural sunlight in the kitchen. To temporarily solve that problem, I decided to “make” a window with a view of my own.
I had rescued an old window frame, with glass panes intact, from the trash about 8 months ago. My wonderful husband put up with lugging it to and from storage while I moved thrice before we finally settled down. The picture that I chose was one of our favorites from our wedding, taken in a large wheat field with the sun just several hours before setting. I love having this in my kitchen because it is a beautiful landscape, but also has such warm wedding memories without having our faces plastered on the wall in larger-than-life obnoxiousness. My husband and I semi-joke about changing out the picture every season, to correspond with the weather outside, but Virginia weather has not been consistent enough for that to even make sense!
I ordered a print online (from shutterfly.com I believe) on their biggest photo size available using a 50% off coupon, for about $11. You can see in the picture above that it does not quite fit the margins exactly. I probably could have used another photo printing site to crop and fit it more precisely, but I didn’t have a coupon for those and didn’t really want to invest $40 in this project. So after some deliberation, I settled on brown butcher paper to fill in the gaps. Scotch tape worked just fine to affix the photo and the paper to the wood frame. This is the picture in the frame, by the amazing Rebekah J. Murray Photography:
The process of getting this mounted was not that difficult. I bought two 1/4-inch eye screws and some picture hanging wire. My husband drilled little holes in the frame and screwed in the screws, and strung the wire. Because the window is a bit heavy, I used a straight up nail that was inserted directly into a wall stud.
This is the view from my kitchen. What is yours? I’d love to hear about it!