I was raised by a second generation builder with the heart of a ski bum.
Conversation at the dinner table alternated between analyzing the newest ski techniques and the placement of the septic tank for dad’s newest construction project. I’m not kidding. My first hikes weren’t up mountains, but bushwhacking around undeveloped parcels of land with my father discussing the path of the sun, water drainage and the ideal placement of a possible home. Beyond the obligatory Barbie obsession, Legos were the toy of choice in my home. After the directions were tossed aside, great structures were built from the depths of my mind. Words like “planned unit development,” “kitchen triangle” and “septic system” were as much as part of my family lexicon as “edging,” “hip angulation” and “counter-rotation.” I was, without a doubt, expected to go into the family business and spend my weekends skiing.
My most favorite science fair project was a home that I designed in sixth grade. I remember my mom shaking her head and bringing us Oreos as Dad and I spent hours using his drafting tools to make blue prints. We then meticulously cut piece after piece of balsa wood and painstakingly glued them together. It was a pretty baller 4000 square foot home that any 1980s kid would have loved to live in, with a double giant staircase in the foyer that would have been right at home on any soap opera. This was the project that convinced me that complicated roof designs and variable angles cause nothing but problems as I spent more time getting all the stupid angles to line up than anything else on that project. When searching for my first home, my biggest requirement was a simple roof design.
Boarding school offered me the opportunity to take semester after semester of architecture and design classes. I studied spacial awareness, ancient architecture and could sit at my drafting table for hours reworking the smallest details in an elevation drawing at the detriment of my calculus homework. When my parents would come up for the weekend to watch my ski races, I would ask my dad for feedback about my latest design project and he would tell how about his current development plans. The car ride to USSA races was filled with analysis of ski wax as well as classic architect - engineer arguments. We made a pretty good team until I got swept away by American History my junior year. After that, I would suffer through dad’s construction musing with snarky comments and rude one liners, as only an ungrateful daughter can so successfully do.
It was only recently, as I sat down to draw architectural renderings of my future home and spent hours scrolling through homes in the Killington Area, that I realized what my life has been missing for the past few years: real estate. Since my dad’s death, there have been no random dinner discussions about what angle the home should be at to catch the winter sun, no talks about the thermodynamics of a building, no more arguments about the size of a grand entrance or the placement of windows as seen from the outside versus the inside. Even though I wasn’t actively involved in his business, I had become a sounding board for ideas and I truly miss those daddy-daughter conversations that began with the unrolling of blueprints. Rolling out a blueprint onto an architect’s table is a feeling that I will forever associate with my father.
This past winter, I made a decision to change my life. When I good friend of mine asked me to join her real estate firm as an agent, I reluctantly said yes. And as I began my real estate classes, I felt at home with the language, the topics and the industry. Here was a place where I could honor my building heritage, not miss a day on the slopes and bring balance to my life. The only decor in my office is an black and white photograph of my father, blueprints in hand, pointing out some feature in his recently finished model home to his mentor, harshest critic: my grandfather. I remember him analyzing plans on his death bed, his two builder sons around him, proud in knowing that not only had he built so many good homes for so many people, but that his sons would continue his mission. As I was studying, I suddenly realized that I had found myself again. Helping people find the perfect home is what I had been raised my whole life to do.