by Lisa Black
Admit it. We all have them.
Houses that exist only in our wildest dreams. Exotic mansions in Barbados. Cozy bungalows in Bar Harbor. Renovated lofts in Manhattan. The place we’ll live once we retire or win the lottery or dump the spouse or have an empty nest or fulfill our dream of starting a restaurant franchised in eight countries or hit the NYT Bestsellers list with a fully executed movie contract. Places we can escape to when we need a short mental vacation from real life. Places we can see ourselves, fulfilled, at peace, and truly happy.
It’s not important they be luxurious or famous. Maybe you watch HGTV 24/7 and want a four- bedroom century home you can renovate from attic to cellar. Maybe you want a boathouse in Key West that’s decorated with conch shells. Maybe your dream is a grass shack on a desert island. What’s important is that it’s you
I have three.
First is the castle on the seaside cliff. It’s not truly a castle, per se, just really big with high ceilings and a lot of marble. I’m not fussy about what sea it overlooks, either, as long as there’s crashing surf and winding stone steps down to the beach. My brain gets a little stuck after that, because I don’t want huge
—it has to be manageable without a personal staff. Consequently I picture only the bedroom (don’t read anything into that), which faces the water with one wall completely open to a wide terrace of the type commonly seen in Disney movies. This open wall will, of course, have floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains that wave in the ocean breeze because apparently there are no bugs at my fantasy house. Or burglars.
I visit this house the least, actually.
The second is the cabin in West Virginia. It is high on a mountain and I have no idea where my nearest neighbor is, but I have good view of Hawk’s Nest State Park and the New River bridge. I have never been to the Hawk’s Nest State Park, but I have had a postcard of it pinned to my bulletin board for nearly thirty years, bought while driving through the state. My WV cabin is not huge (in all my houses, I live alone…let’s not read anything into that, either) but roomy, with a cavernous fireplace and of course a wide deck for watching the sun set over the trees. Or rise. I’m not sure in what direction the New River flows.
This is the real fantasy house, the one I really would get if I fulfilled all or most of the requirements in the first paragraph. Especially the lottery one.
The third is the ranch in Wyoming, in Absaroka County where Walt Longmire is the sheriff. This one was left to me by a long-lost uncle right as my husband walked out, so, sight unseen, I packed everything into a U-Haul and drove across seven states. It’s the smallest and simplest of the houses, one bedroom and a galley kitchen…I go back and forth on whether it has a basement. I’ve seen too many horror movies to think a lone woman in the middle of nowhere with a basement is a good idea. But I’ll need storage, so there will
be a barn, a number of cats, and two German Shepherds. The place needs of a lot of work, since good old Uncle Whoever wasn’t much of a housekeeper, so that I spend the first year in total seclusion as I renovate. Then, just as the town is buzzing about the hermit lady, Walt will come by to ask my help with some fingerprints and I will finally grab a drink at the Red Pony and meet my soulmate and all-around cutie Henry Standing Bear.
The only flaw in this scenario is that, while I have a large family, I’m aware of all of my uncles and none live in Wyoming.
But a girl can dream, can’t she?
Come on, tell me—what’s your fantasy house?