A Home with a View

It was after my father's funeral, I was packing my things to go back to Los Angeles and my stepmother came to me and said  "why don't you bring your father's ashes back to The States with you?"

I didn't want to bring it up but it now that we were talking about it, it seemed to be a good idea. Although my father had been ill for some time, his passing came sooner then we thought it would. He was French and had gone back to live in France after my parents had divorced. If I brought the ashes back with me to California, family that was not able to be there could say goodbye in their own way.

Thinking about it, I remember my father saying years ago, that when he died, he didn't want to be in a cemetery or a crematorium. He wanted to be outdoors in a natural setting near trees.

When I got back home, I discussed what would be the best thing to do with the ashes with my husband Chris. My father had been a bit of a real estate enthusiast, buying, fixing up and selling many apartments and houses during the course of his life. Maybe we could meld the two ideas? Make a little treehouse that would house the urn and ashes? After we did a few drawings, Chris (who is a talented sculptor and prop maker) started to build the body of the house that the urn would go inside.

The view from the tree we had chosen to put the structure in would be so fantastic we thought a house that had windows going around 360 degrees would be ideal.

The beginnings of the base that would support the house and the ceramic urn

Sanding and finishing the edges.

Painting the house with primer before giving it two coats of exterior paint.

Chris, filing down a window that would be on the outside of the house. I found the windows and door at a store that supplies scale architectural components for dollhouses. They were the perfect scale, suitable for outdoor use and paintable.

The paint on main body of the house along with the copper paint for the roof both dry, the exterior details can go on.

Putting on the windows

All put together, with a little cupola on top, it's looking rather nice. I just had to find a little French flag for the top and it would be done.

Before the memorial, we had prepared the tree near a flat area on our hillside that had the base secured to it to support the urn and house.

The way Chris built the inside of the house was to attach three braces to the base that would hold the ceramic urn in place (seen here inside a satin outer cover). 

Once in place Chris puts the outer house on the base.

Before we secured the house permanently to its base, family members could put mementos like photos in beforehand.  

After my father was safely settled in his new home, we gathered at the bottom to remember him and just be together. 

My mother wrote and recited a poem in my father's memory, which was lovely.

With a little French flag that I made, it really is a beautiful little house with an amazing panoramic view of the city and mountains. I think my father would have loved it.