I was given some shocking news yesterday, and I am still in disbelief.
This house took us over ten years to build, and it is the crowning achievement of the 32 years I have been in business. Yesterday, I found out that it is listed for sale – $5.6million.
It started in 1997, when the clients were referred to me by the realtor who sold them the 50 acres upon which the house is now situated.
In my initial interview with the client, he stated that he wanted to build a house capable of lasting 1,000 years, like they do in Europe, where his wife is from (Germany). He said, “I might live five years, ten, twenty, or I might be dead tomorrow, and after I’m gone, I don’t care what happens, but I want to build it ‘Right’.”
“I want to make sure that the materials will last, that the systems can be serviced and maintained.”
“I want to make sure materials are compatible with each other. Make sure ferrous metal never comes in contact with non-ferrous, etc., etc., etc.”
So we embarked upon this odyssey where we met once a week for the entire time, including the architect, interior designer, and a whole host of people – lighting consultants, my subcontractors, my material suppliers, my employees, on and on – once a week for ten years. We talked about every aspect of this house. We didn’t build anything unless we talked about it first. There were times when we built some aspect, and if the owner changed his mind, we tore it out, and built something else.
Now, I imagine you’re saying that these sound like terrible clients. They were not. Eccentric, yes, but they were great people. Throughout the entire project, we never had a single argument, or cross word. We got paid (promptly) every month for every hour spent on the job, every piece of material supplied, and every subcontractor I hired – all marked up with our agreed-upon overhead and profit. Every penny.
Initially the house was supposed to be complete within two years, but the process necessarily made the time expand to ten. The years seemed to fly by.
I became good friends with these people, but in the past few years, sort of got out of touch. So I have no idea why they are selling it – health, financial, divorce – who knows? And I don’t really want to.
I want to remember the years of this relationship, and what a special experience it was.
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