“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built of love and dreams” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve introduced our school house to a lot of new friends. As we continue to tell our story it has really hit home (pun intended) how very much the school house means to our family. Whenever I drive by it Philip says “Mommy’s school house” (and he’s only been there a couple of times). I think we are building a home!

IMG_3772Philip and Gramp at the school house in December, moo!

We’re still not totally sure what we’re going to do with Gramp’s Old School. I may end up living there with my husband, Philip, and two crazy dogs (if I can convince the husband). One of my siblings may live in it (if they’re nice to me) or we might share it with travelers who come to visit the area. We do know we want it to be warm, inviting, and comfortable, in a word “home.”

IMG_20180331_154307.jpgSpring in the northeast is coming; a photo from last Saturday

We’ve Got Love, Dreams….and Art
I started to think about all the things in my house that makes it feel like a home: family photos, heirlooms, and art (I’m also a sucker for a good throw blanket). Then I thought about what we might want to include in the school house to make it feel like a home. I realized how much art, particularly by local artists, that I have in my home.  Washington County is truly rich with talented artists and it hit me that two of them, Jacob Houston and Ritchie Bittner (Wildflower Graphics) live in Center Falls, less than a mile from the school house. It seems only fitting their work would have a place in Gramp’s Old School.

IMG_4575my two signed Lynne Bittner prints, a gift from my Aunt Lily

IMG_20180409_192916.jpgMy cool cutting board also from Wildflower Graphics! p.s my chalkboard says THINK SPRING!

Wildflower Graphics was founded in 1997 by artists Lynne & Richie Bittner. With a love for the natural bounty of Washington County, they concentrated on illustrations of native flowers and plants. Sadly, Lynne passed away in 2016 but Richie has continued and is working with Jody Cutler, an artist and old friend, to bring new illustrations to life. Wildflower Graphics is located on the banks of the beautiful Batten Kill (it’s actually right behind Gramp and Em’s house). Growing up we saw Lynne, Richie and their daughter Dorothy all the time. My memories of Lynne are of a strong and inspirational female figure and I was truly sorry to hear of her passing.

Artist Jacob Houston lives just a stone’s throw from the schoolhouse. He started painting in the elementary grades, and now has progressed to having his art shown in many galleries, including on 5th Avenue in NYC at the Salmagundi. He has always been interested in the Ryan Road schoolhouse, resulting in these two paintings that he did early in his career. Gramp and Em have “Center Falls Schoolhouse.”  Gramp got it as a Mother’s Day present for Em a few years ago! Fate??? We think so!

IMG_20180403_145406.jpg“Center Falls Schoolhouse” by Jacob Houston hanging in Gramp and Em’s house (yes that’s wood paneling, sigh)

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 6.45.43 PM“Center Falls Schoolyard” from Jacob Houston Art website

I also have several of Sarah Tefft’s (my sissy’s) pieces in my home, including this one of my very bad dachshund. I’m hopeful she’ll contribute a piece of art for the schoolhouse!

IMG_20180403_090402.jpg“Buddy” by Sarah Tefft

IMG_20180404_192759.jpgBuddy really likes his picture

Stephen Lack also lives close by and has been a great fan of our project. I have this  piece in my home, “Chrysler with Wolves.”

IMG_20180403_090437.jpgChrysler with Wolves” hangs in my living room and is one of Gramp’s favorites

What makes a house a home?
For me, (and I suspect for most people) what makes a house a home is the people and dogs in it.  I think this is what Ralph is referring to in the title quote. It’s also nice to surround yourself with the things that make you think of people and places that aren’t with you. So…I asked Gramp, Em, Sarah and the rest of the fam to share one of their favorite items from their homes. We’ll be sharing them on a facebook thread on the Gramp’s Old School Page. I’d love for readers to comment below or add a photo of a favorite item in your home to the facebook page.

Want to know more about artists in this post? Check out their spaces on the web!
Wildflower Graphics
Jacob Houston
Sarah Tefft
Stephen Lack

For more about artists living and working in Washington County check out the Open Studio Tour!

Work Site Update
Last weekend we cleaned out the remains of the chimney, removed a partition wall, and Gramp made it his personal mission to save as much shiplap as possible.  Check out the photos below! IMG_20180331_133523.jpgchimney where the stove was connected

IMG_20180331_165656.jpgbye bye wall, hello bathroom

IMG_20180331_161318.jpgGramp’s favorite piece of shiplap 



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