The Long Journey Home

So, I think we can all agree that 2020 wasn’t what we expected or hoped it would be, and I know that it hasn’t gone unnoticed that it has been over a year since our last post; this may give you an idea of my state of mind over the last year… <sigh>. The benefit of this delay is that there is much to tell and hopefully the anticipation for an update will be rewarded.

Last I wrote it was just after Halloween 2019 and we were coming into the home stretch of completing our “labor of love” project here at 515 Fair Ave. Though we were rounding the corner and could see the light at the end of this long tunnel, November 2019 – February 2020 were trying times as much still needed to be done and we were anxious to cross the finish line. As difficult as things were at this time for us, overall things were going fairly well, with just a couple of eleventh hour delays/complications regarding PG&E doing their final work to hook up our utilities and obtaining our final occupancy sign off by the city. These delays were a bit of a hassle as we had to move out of our West Cliff rental house before we could officially occupy our new home, but we took these in stride and Taylor very generously put us up at the local Dream Inn for a week while we had our movers shift things out of our rental house and storage units in anticipation that we would be able to gain occupancy in short order.

We were excited to be getting close to finishing and were determined not to allow these final hiccups to crush our many dreams and plans for what our new home could be and how we would be able to finally share it with others. We were looking forward to hosting dinner parties around our new large family style dining room table (more on this beautiful feature later) and were making plans for our first party in April in celebration and honor of our contractors who worked so hard on our project. We were even dreaming of hosting intimate events to help raise money for local charities. Then March arrived and the world began to close in very quickly around us all and it felt as if all our our long awaited dreams were coming to a screeching halt overnight.

In the early weeks of March, Doug flew to London to oversee some exciting business ventures and I continued to oversee the final steps to achieve our occupancy permit, which included completing the lap pool, finishing landscaping, outdoor electrical and irrigation elements and managing PG&E issues. Unfortunately, Doug had traveled to London on March 8th, so my first week in the house it was just me, Lulu and very little furniture. Within 24 hours of Doug’s departure to the UK Covid went from being possibly another SARs event to revealing itself as something so much more expansive and frightening. I dug in and began to settle us in and tried not to worry about Doug potentially getting stuck in London as the world came crashing down. We were all glued to the news, praying he was safe and spent the week he was there communicating via text messages, getting more and more concerned he wouldn’t be able to get home due to travel restrictions.

Alas, it all worked out, and though we were seriously stressed out, we gained the occupancy, Doug flew home and we began sheltering in place in our new home. We were thanking our lucky stars and the powers of the universe for bringing us back together safely and allowing us to finish our project in the knick of time. So, here we are, it’s 2021 and I’ve managed to avoid blogging for an entire year. There’s really no excuse for it, I just couldn’t get myself to sit in front of my computer to wrestle with WordPress to get it done.

Since those anxious first weeks of March, as you all know, the world has become a surreal Sci-Fi experience day in and day out with a seemingly never ending stream of “historically unprecedented” experiences and numerous Zoom calls with friends and family. We were grateful every day that we had each other and this amazing home. A fact that was reinforced by the next shock that hit us when the fires in the local Santa Cruz mountains broke out and our friends who had just moved into their own property up in Boulder Creek were evacuated in the middle of the night. We were fortunate to have the studio apartment above our garage here to house them. It was unbelievable. Here we all were afraid of this cursed virus and now this. We ultimately had another friend stay in the house here with us. She, like us, had been religiously sheltering in place with her elderly parents in her home in nearby Scotts Valley. When the smoke and fear of fire spreading closer to them had us all agreeing that they should come to our home. The fires made our air impossible to breath. Talk about sheltering in place! We couldn’t even open our windows, but we continued to be ever grateful to have each other and our new home.

Fast forward to October, I decided to participate in a socially distanced, outdoor art show downtown. It was great to get back out into the world and to push myself to create art, but afterwards Doug and I were concerned that we had risked exposure and we have been sheltering in place ever since with no further ventures out beyond the grocery store, pharmacy and the occasional take out food pick up. Though we are anxiously anticipating rejoining the world, we know we are so fortunate and blessed and remain hopeful for a new tomorrow, even if it does take another year to get all of this madness under control. We hope you are all managing to remain sane and to find your best ways to cope with this insanity while remaining safe. Once again, until next time, we hope you enjoy the pictures attached here that reflect our story.

First up are photos of late 2019 as we headed towards the final days to wrap up our project:

Here are the long awaited “finished” (or mostly) project photos after our move in. These are the early days of Covid shelter in place, the harrowing days of the Santa Cruz Mountain fires and on-going photos as we settle in and make this our home. As we finish setting up our studios in the historic temple we will post pictures of the finished interior of that building:

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Hope C. Elliott says:

    Thank you, Artina, for sharing your dream home. Admiring your stunning photos I can glimpse the incredible scope of your project and I got a real feel sense of your excitement. You have created a lovely place, and I am looking forward to seeing the light show some evening.
    Hope C. Elliott


    1. Thank you, Hope. So glad you found our site and enjoyed seeing the process/journey we took with this property. Do stop by in the evening to see the lights. We’re biased, but we think it’s pretty awesome😉


  2. Jacob says:

    Just moved to SCZ from Colorado and discovered your majestic home on Atlas Obscura. You’re place is as unique as Santa Cruz! I’m taken with joy just looking at the photos!! Congratulations on your dream home 🙂


    1. Thank you, Jacob. It’s was a labor of love and our gift to SC saving these incredible artifacts from ruin. Swing by at night to see the cool lighting.


  3. Len Farr says:

    So pleased to see that you are finally living in your Dream House. Thank you for the wonderful report. Stay well,Len


    1. Thank you, Len. We hope to be able to see you, Yolanda, Kevin and Denise here for a visit in the future when we are safely through this craziness. Be well and stay safe.


  4. mkolota says:

    Thanks for the update, Artina! We think about you guys every now and then and have been wondering how the new home is. The photos look fantastic. We hope to see it in person one day. We’re doing fine in upstate NY and keep busy with work and taking care of our elderly parents (mine are 10 mins away; Doug’s mom is 2 hours away). We’ll finally be getting up to the Adirondack Mtns this weekend to see what’s around us. We miss you and Doug and your cool vibes 😎✌️❤️



    1. So great to hear from you and to know you’re doing well. We’re doing well and hope to get vaccinated in the next month or two. Praying to get to see friends by end of the year. Keeping fingers crossed! We would live for you and Doug to visit when you are out here next, once all this madness is under control. 💕😘


  5. Judi Paap says:

    You’ve done so much thru all the adversity. You should be very proud of all you’ve accomplished. Congratulations and look forward to enjoying the fruits of your labor of love


  6. Doug and Artina
    Wow!!! Your place looks absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Denise and Jeff Sigworth.


    1. Thank you, Denise! Hope to see you and Jeff after we all make it through this madness!


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