Letters to the Architect
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The Architect
Bob Harper
Monday, 5 June 2006
Return to the Mountain -- May 10, 2006

Dear friends and family

It does pain me that these Letters to the Architect no longer begin "Dear Bob and Patty"....Bob Harper, FAIA, esteemed friend and architect, gave me three pages of drawings that have generated the exterior and structure of our tiny non-electric camp in Vermont. Before his death, we had many conversations clarifying details as we went along, but except for the kitchen-on-casters, my drawings for which he reviewed and approved, we really never got to detailing the interior of the camp. (an aside: I googled "Lulu's Kitchen" and said kitchen on casters came up the 11th of 161,000 listings..... if you follow the link at google, you have to scroll down a bit through the blog to find the pictures).

So, as we begin the articulation of the interior, the only architect I can refer to is the Bob Harper who lives on in my spirit and imagination. I don't claim to be a worthy channel for what he might have come up with, and while working in my studio on a desk/ grandchild's climber/ sofa side table all combined, to be taken North and installed on our first visit of the season, I fell apart. Loneliness. Insecurity. No architect to confirm ideas with. A few sobs of self pity and then I heard a rustle behind me, the unmistakable crinkle sound of the velum I had done the drawing on. Solace for the spirit, but I will not commit to type any interpretation.

We went North to open the season with a truck load, leaving via New London ferry at 7:00 a.m. Saturday. We had to do a few windows worth of extension jambs and install four sheets of Baltic birch ply, which is our wall finish, and then we got this multi-functional structure installed. Both Lulu and I like the contrast of mahogany with the birch, a bucket load of exposed stainless steel screws thrown in, and we feel like we are on the way to understanding the interior program for the camp.

This was a nice project for a first visit, but the unfinished exterior does remain to be done, so it will probably be awhile before we start the second floor railing system which I sketched yesterday, and which will also be birch and mahogany.

We had frost on Sunday morning. Worked 14 hours on the day of rest, and had Monday off as well. Hiked to the top of the hill looking for the elusive glade of the Mother of All Cherries, but didn't find it. I have stumbled upon this place twice, so I don't think this four foot plus diameter tree is a hallucination, but she does keep herself hidden from those who are known to wield a chainsaw. Left about noon and got to the Riverhead Toyota dealer in time to order a Scion Hatchback, manual five speed, and fog lights. 37 mpg versus 15 mpg for the truck (going downhill). I feel guilty driving to work in that behemoth carrying only my lunch pail. We will keep the truck, but only drive it when truck specific tasks are at hand. The additional $10,000 to buy a hybrid didn't work out in the numbers, even with the tax credit for alternate energy vehicles.

We opened last years construction season putting in windows for the grandchild's loft, and we started this year by completing the two ladder climb to get up there. Nice view. Good place to watch birds and chipmunks. One can also watch the rocks and trees as they journey through time. Photos by LMB.

Love to all.... BSB

Posted by Bennett at 8:40 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 June 2006 8:43 PM EDT

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