It’s 8 p.m. and daylight has withdrawn, leaving a golden twilight to bathe Rocky Peak at the east end of Simi Valley. One or two people wander around Yoga Nook @ Fifth, walking to and from the laundromat or sushi restaurant.
I’m alone in the new studio, the rhythmic sound of sandpaper on wood echoing throughout the empty space. I’m repairing the window frames that will soon be positioned in the partition wall between the vestibule and the yoga studio.
These window frames are old, Victorian probably. They bear the scars of hot California summers, indifferent painters and unskilled glaziers. The distressed wood is pitted from sloppy attempts at repair, yet they are just the right size and shape — and I’m conscious that I’m not the first person to think they are perfect for the setting.
I discovered these frames at an architectural salvage store in Pasadena, a dream playground for anyone with an eye for antiques and the willingness to put a little elbow grease into a project. They specialize in doors, windows and hardware. Need a Victorian hinge, a crystal pull, a 12-foot door? Then this is the place to go. You’ll find aisle after tidy aisle of stained glass, oak doors and objets d’art.
I scrape at the brittle paint with a putty knife — an unusual tool for the job, but one that fits the need. It’s just thin enough to reflect the paint, just flexible enough to avoid gouging the wood. As I peel back time, revealing alternating layers of color, I wonder what kind of house these windows dressed. Who looked out of them? What views are recorded in the photographic memory of the glass?
In sanding the frames, I discover abandoned locks and screw holes where blinds once hung, and I’m curious about the family that lived behind these windows. Perhaps the house faced west and the heat of the afternoon sun was shuttered out. I imagine a dim room filled with antiques, a grandfather clock ticking slow and steady, a grand piano displaying four generations in silver frames.
Stripping away encrusted paint, the well-defined edges of the original frame are revealed, sharp and crisp against the soft blue of the glass. Once, many years ago they looked like this, a statement in yellow.
Perhaps the whole house was yellow. I imagine a beach house with the windows flung wide open, the sound and smell of the ocean invited in. Perhaps children laughed and played here; life emerged, developed and matured here; and now these windows will grace the Yoga Nook studio with light.
Something old, something new, love, passion and dedication — these are the ingredients of Yoga Nook @ Fifth. Many hands have joined in the making of this new space. I send a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported this new and beautiful studio, and I look forward to welcoming you all on Saturday, September 12th.
Image credit: Maia C via Flickr (CC)