Michele Thomas

The house we purchased in January is finally starting to feel comfortable. Like a pair of shoes bought to match an outfit, our house was purchased because it met certain criteria. My original list of andquot;must havesandquot; that included an updated kitchen, spa bath and fully landscaped yard, eroded over the house-hunting process to just a few necessities: location near my office and the beach, and a dining area large enough to accommodate gatherings of friends and family.

Like shoes that have been broken in, our house, that still needs so much work, is finally starting to fit and feel good.

Our home was built in 1960. So was my last home in Brookings. I've learned from watching Home and Garden Television that I no longer have to apologize for the shortcomings of a nearly 50-year-old house. Instead, I can boast that my current home of choice is andquot;California mid-century architecture.andquot; I believe this new hip terminology to describe an aging home should extend to its owners!


With five floor-to-ceiling windows in the front, our house definitely has that 60s beachy look. We've replaced the windows and reupholstered a couple of our favorite comfy chairs so we can sit and have our morning coffee as we watch the flowers we've planted grow, and are entertained by the birds.

My mornings begin early. The gas fireplace in the living room is on a thermostat set to come on at 5 a.m. By the warmth of the fire, facing the expanse of windows, I look east and await the sunrise. As the light hits the front yard, birds arrive and the show begins. We have several feeders and bird baths. We also now own two reference books to help us identify our new friends as they stop by for breakfast and a bath.

A yard bouquet

Last week I added another favorite summer morning activity to my routine. The flowers we planted in spring, in a yard where there were no flowers, are beginning to bloom. In my robe, with scissors in hand, I went into the back yard questing for flowers. For the first time in who knows how long, this property produced a bouquet. I placed it at the center of my large dining table. Lavender, hollyhocks, snapdragons, coreopsis, Shasta daisies and roses!

Since we purchased this home, I've been critical of the yard covered in grass. andquot;How could people have lived here for 50 years without flowers?andquot; During my search for cutting flowers the other morning, I discovered a little secret about our mid-century home. On the north side of the house, next to an old wooden fence in a narrow space where the propane tank is tucked away, I could see something shiny on the ground. As I pushed away dirt with my shoe, I realized I was walking on a beautiful slate path. To my right, bright green ferns were poking through moist earth. To my left a gnarled trunk I thought was the stump of a dead tree had transformed itself into a huge fuchsia bush with hanging flowers the size of golf balls.

I am relieved that my California mid-century architecture home does, in fact, have a past that includes flowers. Who knows what else I might discover as the seasons change and the house and grounds take shape around us?

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate's publisher, at mthomas@, 464-2141, or stop by 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.