One of the treasures I inherited when buying my house was a falling-down chicken coop/rabbit hutch with (I can say without blushing) a brick shithouse tacked onto the end. It is in the courtyard, and was built in a hurried fashion, with the materials the farmer had at hand – some brick, some stone, concrete block, wood and a steel roof that had come loose at some point and was weighed down with odds and ends of heavy things. The toilet, judging from its style, was in use well into the 1960s, flushed with a bucket.
So, being the sensitive type, this fall I decided to have a go at renovating the ruin; I sought to maintain the fabric, the “built textures of the countryside,” as they say in the more sensitive kinds of house magazines.
I was sitting at the table outside, looking at the building and plotting my…
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