So we have this place in my town. It is certainly interesting to look at. You could probably make a bingo game of the weird stuff on the lawn. Chickens, cactus, tipi, giant bike, little free library, turtle....
“We have a possum, two bluebirds, a small flock of birds, six chickens, two cats, baby squirrels and adult squirrels, a variety of bugs and insects, fish and microbial communities.”
“No one knows what’s going on with the design,” de la Fava said. “It is obvious that the Turtle House is unmanageable. But in a house where there are just four people it’s less obvious that it is unmanageable, so people cling to the illusion that they can control every aspect of their area. It’s nice here because it is so in-your-face.”
For de la Fava, the house has been a practice in his submission to what he cannot control. To explain this, he recited a Serenity Prayer to me that he had memorized:
“God grant me the serenity of the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can,” de la Fava said. “Even though I don’t have control in the overall design and the house itself, I can still have fun, small, creative projects that are actually really rewarding. It’s a weird balance — I can’t have it exactly the way I want it, but I can have it pretty close, and I can make a big difference if specifically I am willing to make the difference.”
What makes the house communal is the design as well. Since there is no dictation over design, the design itself becomes a canvas for spontaneity."