Renovation Diary: The House on Gates

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The House on Gates

Many years passed. I worked hard at my profession and grew my business as well as my love of beautiful things and ability to create them. My style would develop to what I think is best expressed as Southern transitional. I learned how to deliberately orchestrate the dreams and desires of my clients into functional and beautifully crafted interiors. And through the process of translating their thoughts into three-dimensional spaces, I learned how to evoke an emotional response. I started to feel accomplished, but then things changed: my husband died.

It would take another eight years before I could put all the puzzle pieces of life back together again. It was now 2014, and my career was moving steadily upward. At a Christmas party, I met the man who would fill my life with love and joy again, my now-husband.

Shortly before we married, the house on Gates, the house that had drawn me in so long ago, came available. It had been owned by the same family for more than 100 years. Now, at the time my life was beginning anew, the house on Gates was also waiting patiently for renewal.

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The House on Gates from the back

I kept finding myself drawn to this house and to the area of Twickenham, just as residents were drawn in some 200 years ago. Historians surmise that some of the founding fathers chose this name after a village in England. Twickenham, England was a place noted for its “cordial society, handsome houses, beautiful gardens and famous residents.” It was the home of the famed English poet Alexander Pope and many other scholars and celebrities of the time. In America, the name Twickenham was a byword among cultivated Virginians for learning creative talent and social polish. It was the embodiment of these 19th-century ideals that lead Leroy Pope, Thomas Bibb (both true Virginians), and other Huntsville founding fathers to choose this name for their new town. They felt it was synonymous with sophistication and announced specific and qualitative aims for a small American town.