Making Peace with The Beast

The Beast
I thought I was crazy when I only had two places of residence. Adding a third house to the mix of my already spread-thin life has only intensified the sense of never being where I should be for maximized productivity and efficiency. Let me explain.

Late last fall My Baby and I undertook the huge project of rejuvenating a gorgeous, interesting house in a beautiful neighborhood in our nearest-by town. The house had been his part-time bachelor pad/ part time home to four active children for the 20 years before acquiring the house in the country five years ago. In the time that has passed, the house has been lightly lived in and somewhat overlooked. Our early love affair created a bit of a distraction, so the house needed, let's just say, a bit of work. Besides, every house needs a little makeover every 20 years or so, right?

Allow me to describe this wonderful house: A spaceship crashed into the side of a mountain and turned into a modern, multi-level structure built on an exo-skeleton of enormous exposed fir beams, bolted together, straddling triangular picture windows looking out over wooded hills.

I should mention that the house also has a full sized 1979-vintage Wolf range. Not the made-for-home variety, but the real commercial deal.  Griddle, salamander, two ovens, six untamed gazillion-BTU gas burners. 48 inches and 2 tons of unbridled power in electronics-free black steel. She will from henceforth be called La Bête.

 Rib Eye and Sauteed Wild Mushrooms on The Beast
My experience cooking on The Beast so far has been limited to a pot of soup and a chicken casserole, prepared to keep our small crew of two or three going on construction afternoons.  I'll just say that with all that unrestrained heat, it was the fastest-cooking pot of curried lentils I've ever made.

Master Bath, Before
The contractors recently completed foundation repairs, new roofing and deck structures. Our own elbow grease now takes over with deck paving, painting, bathroom and kitchen updating. And my biggest job of all; to make peace with The Beast.

 In Need of a Little Updating
Last week, after months of arduous work, we spent our first night back at the city house. My Baby made a little ceremony out of it. He brought provisions for a commemorative meal, our favorite Reidel wine glasses, and a bottle of our favorite Cabernet (Black Coyote, Napa Valley 2006, in case you're wondering.)
We sat amongst the ladders and patches of experimental paint colors, eating rib eyes grilled on the Wolf, in front of the fire and toasted to our crazy, three-house life, and the ensuing adventures with La Bête.


  1. Oh boy Pam. Must be nice to be young and excited about redoing a house. I do understand loving it so much that it is worth it. Now, to the Beast. I know you can do it!
    Aunt Juanita

    1. Well, not sooo young and not sooo excited. This falls more into the category of "it must be done." It really is coming along nicely, the return to her original glory is even more dramatic than I'd imagined.
      Great to hear from you!

  2. Good for you though! I've moved so many times and done so much painting and remodeling that I'm ready to just stay put and enjoy where I'm at for the time being!

  3. I had a cat named Bête Noir once so your range's name made me smile (not to mention incredibly jealous of it in general).

    That glimpse out the picture window is enough to see why this renovation is so worth while (well, that and The Beast). Looking forward to following the progress!


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