Mandeville ‘casita’ provides a cozy garden escape
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HOME IMPROVEMENT: The casita isn’t the only home improvement project that Frank and Isabella Smith have completed in the 22 years they have made Mandeville their home. After Hurricane Katrina, there was painting to be done and repairs to make.

Before that, there was a shed to build and a Monet garden to install.

Along the way, there have been offices to convert to bedrooms, glass doors to add to the breakfast area, patios to be bricked and now, an extension of the dining room to be constructed.

But it’s the casita that provides special pleasure for the couple.

Tucked into the far left corner of the back yard, the little cottage is raised off the ground and fronted with a deck where lounge chairs afford a comfortable place to sit. Glass doors make the building semi-transparent, so that even from inside the Smiths can enjoy bird-watching — and listening.

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Here’s a twist on the times: home, unfinished home
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We keep promising ourselves that, soon, we’ll really get serious.

We’ll stop procrastinating, get on the stick and start doing all the things in our home that we’ve been talking about doing.

It’s been nearly a decade that we’ve been talking about redecorating our bedroom. And repainting the kitchen.

But somehow, inertia — or something deeper — keeps us poised at the starting gate without moving an inch.

At least once a week, one of us will mumble something about the “other house” — the one that was really, truly home.

It may be a casual reference to a visual memory — the way the yard looked from the upstairs bedroom window when the first snow fell … the lovely way the sun glinted off the den windows on winter afternoons … the moment the dogwood outside our bedroom window burst into bloom.

Those references, still too frequent, remind us that, no, we haven’t quite gotten over that house we loved so much, and that…………… continues on
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