Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Object Lesson for the New Economy

See this house?

As recently as two months ago, it had a hot-pink door, windows covered with plastic tarps, and fading wood shingles that looked like they might not survive another rain.

For the entire time we've lived around the corner, Marwen--the struggling architect and regular Joe who owns the place--has worked on renovations, little by little, until they took the shape you see here.

The house belonged to his girlfriend's parents, and it was only on condition of its completion that she agreed to move back in. They lived apart for seven years.

During that time, he took in a variety of immigrant handymen willing to work in exchange for free room and board, had a towering tree come down during a microburst and just miss the west wall, and cared for his pet rottweiler Storm, whom he eventually lost to old age (RIP, sweet Storm).

This was the house that no one ever thought we'd see finished. One neighbor used to cruelly joke that he should just tear it down already and call it a day.

But here's the thing: Marwen made improvements only as he could afford them. If he ran out of money, the place sat idle for a while. He didn't take out loans; he didn't run up credit cards. His second floor was full of buckets to catch leaks for longer than most of us would tolerate.

Now, after several coats of paint and a porch he had to replace twice, the place stands pretty regally on its corner. We've even heard the naysayers remark, "Wow, I never thought it would turn out so nice."

Kudos to you, Marwen, for showing that slow and steady can win the day.


Rose said...

Impressive! I especially love the spiral staircase up to the second-story deck...looks very inviting, and he got it done in time to actually enjoy it before the cold winds blow.

leslie said...

That's inspiring! And amazing. I admire people who can see the long-term goals so clearly. (I'm pretty bad at it myself.)

LazyMF said...

It's just like A House for Mr. Biswis in your very own neighborhood.

tracy said...

Is Marwen now available for some work on a perpetually unfinished farmhouse in rural Oklahoma?