Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Moving House?

Back a few years, there was a movie called 'Nights in Rodanthe', it starred, according to hollywood, Richard Gere and Diane Lane, but to me the star of the movie was the house itself.  The movie was a bit slow and lacklustre, and with a crummy ending.

Now, the house you see in the movie, is an illusion. Oh yes, it was based on a real house, but a real house heavily modified by the production department, all those blue shutters, the big deck, well, they went on for filming, and promptly came off again. I know this because I happened upon a pic on another blog, of the house standing, bereft, and forlorn, all alone on the sands.
Illusory or not, it's just the sort of house I'd like, all those different levels, high up look-out rooms with a view, deck opening out of the bedroom, external stairs... I'd like this house up on a hill, in a forest....
Or by the sea, but on a nice solid promontory, well above the waves. Quite honestly, the only word I can think of for someone who builds something like this on wooden pilings, in dunes, on a hurricane coast, is 'stupid'.

 Not quite as in the movie, but I thought it looked similar.

Lots of shutters and the deck improve it, I think.

 In movie disguise

And now, the real thing.

Battered by storm, and condemned.

The house, which I though looked rather old and quirky, is certainly quirky, but hardly old. It dates back only as far as 1988. 
Back then it did not have its feet in the ocean. Houses here are coming in for vociferous criticism, as some residents of the Outer Banks believe the houses themselves are contributing to erosion of the coast. This one, 'Serendipity', came in for a big share of that criticism, the owners, it was said, had bulldozed dunes in a futile attempt to save it. They put it up for sale, at a pretty steep price, but, surrounded by storm, its sewage tanks destroyed and water and electricity lines severed, it's hardly surprising that the market was not brisk. Local authorities had given it ten days, before it must be either moved, or demolished. However, a couple who were fans of the movie read of its impending doom. They offered a more realistic price, it's said.
And.... rescued it.

We just don't do this here in Britain, uproot and shift buildings. I've seen it in National Geographic, and in TV documentaries. I'm overawed by the teams in the U.S. who have the skills and patience to jack up a building like this, insert a steel girder raft, and wheels, beneath it, and then haul it with a WWII tank transporter to a new home. Amazing.

It has been moved to a new home, a little under a mile from its first one, and is being refurbished, and will, if the new owners have their way, end up internally and externally, pretty much as it appears in the movie. The real house's interiors actually look nothing like the movie, whose interior shots were all done in the studio.  But they will, soon.
You'll be able to rent it for your holiday, at an eye-watering price.
A couple of years from  now, though, who'll remember a less than stellar movie called 'Nights in Rodanthe'?

Here's some background from the Island Free Press.  And more.


  1. I didn't have the good fortune to see that movie. You do see houses being moved a lot, though.

    1. No, YOU do.

      Well, yes. At least when I lived back east. I remember a HUGE house my coach lived in being moved out of town from next to the post office out to a country lot. They had to remove electrical wires along the way and all that, and it barely fit the width of the street. Most houses I've seen were smaller. And then there was just a vacant lot. But it wasn't a terribly unusual site. I guess it has to have a basement. The houses out here are mostly built just on slabs now. A million or so at a time. :)

  2. I can't remember the engineer/illustrator who used to draw those intricate architectural marvels. I keep thinking E.E. Cummings but I don't think it was he. Anyway, you know the one I mean. I think you would like to live in one of his inventions of a house.

    1. Keep thinking, I'd love to know who you're referring to. I like complex buildings, but I'm also drawn to some simple building ideas, one of which is an A-frame cabin, with glazed end wall, balcony and mezzanine bedroom in the apex. I could build that, if I just had the money...
      And the land.

      I just need to come up with some amazingly clever invention first, to make my fortune. Usually I have my best ideas late at night, and fail to properly document them. If only I'd written it down, drawn it, I'm sure I invented something wonderful. Once.

  3. Impossible to move the majority of houses here. But fantastic to see.
    I wish mine was moved to the coast.....

    1. I don't think it's as impossible as we think, it's just unusual, and we don't think of it as a solution. More commonly, we dismantle and rebuild, but in the U.S., stone and masonry buildings are also moved, not just wooden ones. The company which moved 'Serendipity' also moved the Cape Hatteras lighthouse a quarter mile, in 1999.

      "The heaviest building moved intact is the Fu Gang Building at West Bank Road Wuzhou, in the Guangxi Province of China. It was successfully relocated by the Guangzhou Luban Corporation on November 10, 2004.The building weighs 15,140.4 metric tones (33.3 million lb) and is 34 m (111 ft) tall. The building was moved 35.62 metres horizontally and it took eleven days to complete the relocation."

  4. I watched the video and read some of your links. I don't want to insult those fine folks living on Hatteras Island, but if they think they are going to win a land struggle with the Atlantic Ocean with a few bulldozers, they had better take some history lessons; the ocean takes what it wants when it wants and if you live on the coast you must realize the ocean may someday choose to take back your property. My advice is to call your insurance agent and get what you can. The state is not going to build them a new "dune line" - it is just going to move the road further back from the water. What else can you really do? A few hundred people are not exactly a huge tax base. If the ocean decides to change its mind and give your beach back in a few decades, then go for it again.

    1. "Call your insurance agent?" Would any insurer be daft enough to cover a house like this?

      Here in Yorkshire the cliffs crumble a bit more every year. ~Houses that once were safely remote from the sea find the sea coming to visit. Cliffs lose a few more yards in the storms. It's expected.
      But idiots who've bought houses near soft shale cliffs expect sympathy, compensation, and yell loudly when nature takes its course.

    2. Yes, well. If YOU would read your links you would see Serendipity was insured. I think. I was never much on reading comprehension.

    3. I keep telling A. the same things about those houses on the top of the cliffs at Dover but she says they are perfectly safe. Pah indeed. You tell her.

  5. Maybe they should invite some knowledgeable dyke builders from Holland to come do their thing. Heh.

  6. Look, Chinese Porn!!!!!!

    I told you to moderate!

    1. Having come under a storm of disapprobation for my threat to moderate, I held back from doing so, and the storm of spam continues unabated. Most doesn't make it through, because my crack team of edit-trained garden-gnomes deflects it with deft flicks of the trowel.

      However, Kinley43929 made it through the minefield, the barbed wire, past the gnomes, through the killer-slugs, and into the blog.

      As a reward for Kinley's fulsome praise, I am allowing the lovely comment to stand, having disembowelled it, removing its vital organs and the link to whatever it was linking. I trust you clicked through to some website in mandarin?
      Do tell. Damn, if it was porn, maybe I should have looked.
      Just briefly.
      For education reasons only.

    2. Moderation I can tolerate. I don't necessarily like it because I'm fairly hooked on the instant gratification of seeing my comment posted and reading everyone else's. It is the word verification that I hate. I mean I really really love cowboy, but damn sometimes I won't comment just for the very reason that I have to figure out what the screwy picture is ...... blogger is not making this easier.

      With that said, I'm wondering if Kinley43929 truly slipped through your radars or is this a 'plant' to garner sympathy for your cause ???

      In the end, it is your blog - do what is best for you!


    3. Kinlley was doing ok until he she it added "the website taste is perfect..."


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