I’m overdue for an update on the icehouse exterior — from deck, hot tub, and grass court to sunken patio, gardens, and fire pit — at least in part because this summer’s weather has stalled many of these projects to the point of discouraging doldrums. But today I’d like to offer a glimpse at our progress hardscaping an oasis out of a muddy mess.
I’ve made much of the icehouse rehab’s adaptive reuse DNA. Reimagine, recycle, repurpose, reuse,… And from the outset this project has been an opportunity (and challenge) to adapt obsolete, leftover, and salvaged ingredients into a relevant, useful, and contemporary addition to Rosslyn’s menagerie of handsome historic buildings. (Sorry for that super list-y and overly clunky run-on!)
[We’re hardscaping] locally quarried limestone that was salvaged from existing deconstructed foundations and cisterns during our 2006-8 home renovations as well as a more recent discovery of an old stone cistern… In other words, [the icehouse hardscape has been] reimagined out of repurposed materials likely dating to the 1800s when the original homestead was constructed. New hardscape with an old history. (Source: Icehouse Hardscape)
It’s slow going (and a lot of work!), but it’s profoundly fulfilling to transform these artifacts into something at once old and new. Something simultaneously forward functional and retrospectively resonant. Something that conjoins Rosslyn’s past, present, and future.
So, yes, it’s a labor of love. But repurposing salvaged limestone into new garden walls and steps has become the final fulfillment of this ambitious endeavor, definitively reaffirming Rosslyn’s enduring and timeless legacy. And so it is that Tony and I spent the last three days hardscaping an oasis where one year ago an abandoned clay tennis court stood.
For many weeks, actually, for a couple of months, Supi has been working on these stone walls. But on Monday I needed to him down to the boathouse to help Peter install the gangway railings. So Tony and I have picked up where he left off. As of today we’ve managed about 2.5 days, accounting for rain delays, and other pressing punch-list projects. Yesterday and Wednesday were SUPER productive, but today was less so. Rain and clay slowed us, but we were able to make some headway while also squeezing in some forward motion on the icehouse stairway railing.
In this final photo above the southern corner, the conjunction of three walls, is beginning to emerge from the ground. The scale and perspective of this photo distort the whopping dimensions of these limestone blocks. Fortunately the backhoe (and Tony’s immense strength) have been up to the task, maneuvering these colossal chunks of rock into place.
Little by little we’re hardscaping an oasis out of a mountain of debris…