Ive been meaning to write this post for a while now, but for whatever the reason the spirit has moved me to do so today. Maybe because it's too hot to even go outside. This post is not about buying or selling a home, but instead, about improving it.
A few years back, when my business was doing better, I installed, or I should say contracted out for, a blue stone walkway leading from my driveway to the front door. It's about fifty feet in length, generous in width, curves and widens further as it approaches the front door. In my eyes, it's a thing of beauty. Of all the home improvement projects I have done over the years, this one has unquestionably given me the most joy.
I live in Atlanta where the preferred hard scape material seems to be river stone. Now river stone is beautiful, with its shades of brown, light and dark, but it's not blue, and it's not what I was looking for. There is a local outfit here called Pike Nurseries and they have a special division just devoted to stone. I went there and selected my Pennsylvania bluestone from stacks and stacks of the stuff. Quality, color variation and thickness were all important considerations. The people at Pike connected me with a local stone mason named Alex and they spoke very highly of his work. Local is a relative term, as Alex is originally from Scotland, and once we got past a few dialect issues, we were off and running.
The previous walkway was a simple concrete one installed by the builder when the house was built in 1990. I was thinking that Alex could install the blue stone over the existing concrete base. However he said the rise to the front step would be too low, and the walkway would not transition properly to the driveway, so the existing walk had to be taken out completely and a new base installed several inches lower than the original. Big job and messy too.
I grew up outside of Boston and saw many fine examples of blue stone patios, covered porches, pool surrounds and even indoor installations. There was something about the organization of the stone, the large squares intermixed with rectangles, the shades of blue and gray, and the thickness of the stone that caught my eye and my passion. It was classic and conveyed, at least in my minds eye a sense of quality and permanence that had the rare ability to improve the looks of everything around it. This feeling has stayed with me all these years.
Whether the blue stone walkway will translate into a good return on my investment when I eventually go to sell my home remains to be seen, but it really doesn't matter. The joy and satisfaction it has brought me everyday was worth every penny.
Maybe you're a fan of blue stone too. If so, I'd love to hear your story.