ReconsumerEyes - Shire City Sanctuary

Always on the look out for helpful ways to maintain the lifestyle I/we love, while reducing the pile of waste at the end of the day. This weekly column showcases my findings to inspire our collective strive for a diminishing footprint. What do you use, or do, in your life that helps reduce the waste you create in your day? Suggestions Welcome.

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We bought the former Notre Dame Church for a song in 2006. Replacement value over $4 million - pretty certain the skill set/s required to rebuild such a place are long-gone in this day of pre-fab buildings and planned obsolescence.  As the Roman Catholic church continues on a downward spiral, more and more of their lovingly constructed houses of worship are boarded up and for sale.  I am not a religious person in any formal manner but do think we, as humans, owe it to our kids and grandkids, to at least protect such history and the environment while we teach re-use by example.

Seems like this giant project that my hubby and I embarked on in mid 2005 is finally coming together!  7 years is a long time but when I stop and assess all the things we have accomplished in that timeframe it seems like a blink of an eye – all the while sitting on this very expensive investment of history and beauty.

As newly weds we went back and forth about the idea of purchasing the former Notre Dame church and rectory in the heart of Pittsfield.  With all the humming and hawing we decided to take the plunge – in spite of the fact that I was pregnant with our first child.   (My second child - which gave me immeasurable additional prior knowledge to what we were getting into – in the parenting dept.)  I was nervous.

Since then we have had another child – Lucy is now 7, Violet is 6 and 20 year old Ben is off to college.

We have renovated the rectory into four separate living units, lived in each of them as the construction was going on and now live 15 miles up the mountain in paradise – in a old family house that was renovated once we got here. We have lived life and worked hard, traveled, buried both our dads, had fun, bought a new car, had 2 litters of puppies, raised chickens, set up bee hives, rented out our renovated rectory among other things much too numerous to even remember (never mind mention!).

The initial intended use for the building evaporated with my production company in 2008.

Alchemy Initiative has come and gone.

Shire City Sanctuary, as the place has been coined, for now, is under going a metamorphosis.  Once what is underway is completed we will be fully to code and confident to market our space thoroughly.  As we work in the confines of a third of the space we are used to, we understand that it will be worth the cramped quarters and wait!  Makers space, including a collaborative screen printing shop, a commercial kitchen, and event space will be available for rent.  We will have new windows, lights and a wonderful sprinkler system to keep us uber safe in the event of a fire.  Stay tuned here for our unveiling, which, with luck, will likely coincide with our Earthday Shindy April 19-21.

Funny the sheetrock contractor told me it wasn’t THAT dusty when I asked him to be sure to hang a drape to keep dust out of the work area.  Had to ask three times.  Glad I did.