I take some pleasure in the way our house looks so radically different from the front and the back. From the street, it looks like the post-colonial 1840 house that its origins make it. It is right on the street as older houses are, and it is surrounded by its newer neighbors: 1850 on one side, 1880 on the other.
From the water on the pond behind it, however, it is hard to recognize it as the same house. The modern casement windows and French doors, the small windows at the top of the cathedral ceiling in Madalene’s studio, and the deck all give the house a contemporary look. The unpainted cedar shakes are both old and modern. The hill, which is mostly covered by the high canopy of maples and elm, slopes steeply to the pond. Stairs and retaining walls, a mix of wild and domestic plants, and the pond and its wildlife connect us with a more natural landscape, fed by the river that feeds the pond through its forested course.
So our Janus house embodies its place, and encourages us to also live in both worlds: the old and the modern, the built and the wild.