Twenty Four years ago, I was fortunate to start the best years of my adult life by purchasing “Chestnut Cottage” in Waynesville, North Carolina. When I found it, this tiny 900 square foot cottage was covered in Emerald green painted cedar shakes and had a dreadful green asphalt shingle roof. The cottage had been on the market for some time, patiently waiting for someone with vision and love to sweep it off the real estate market.
The moment I stepped into Chestnut Cottage it was love at first sight! If one believes in karma with houses (and I do!), I had to own this house. It had to be my own little “nest”. It was situated on almost an acre of land, which meant plenty of room for gardening. Opening the heavy wooden door, the cottage revealed that it was full of Wormy Chestnut everywhere…top to bottom-ceilings, walls, moldings, windows and doors.
The gentleman that built Chestnut Cottage was a forester, and had access to plenty of wormy chestnut. He lovingly filled the home with tongue and groove chestnut boards. The first time I visited Chestnut Cottage, I was fascinated with this wood, but not sure I could live with it all over this tiny home.
The kitchen was thankfully done in pine, so instantly I knew my kitchen would be a classic all white kitchen when I was finished with my painting. Luckily I was saved from myself by two close male friends, one an architect and the other a general contractor, who threatened me within an inch of my life if I came near any chestnut board with a paint brush!
“But the chestnut is so dark from years of smoker’s stains!” I cried.
“Then get started cleaning it, dear” was not the reply I was ready for, but it was a unanimous response!
So clean it I did, with gallons and gallons of Murphy’s Oil Soap . Daily, the lovely patina revealed itself and provided me with endless design opportunities and challenges. The results have been beautiful!
Stay tuned to my blog for more posts about the Chestnut Cottage and the efforts to repopulate Western North Carolina with this Chestnut tree, this once historical giant.