Every house has a story. Every home, a voice. Every day I am in contact with families with the urge to move. Sometimes up in size, sometimes to something cozier, less time-consuming.

Some people are drawn to the history of a place. Some are in search of something brand new. But over time, even those become worn and weathered by voices and footsteps carved by those who inhabited them.

I watched from the sidelines as Nikka McCool took what was once an old fraternity house and made it a place for her boys to live while here in college, shooting squatters from beneath the hundred-year-old porches. She got the renovation bug. Many of you may recognize her as the name behind the newly enhanced Drish House, which she took on shortly after both her sons were here and that first project completed.

Nikka acquired a building with a history. This one, with a history of fire being seen from the cupola, stories of eery death and heartbreak love.

It was built in 1837 as a former plantation when Dr. John Drish had it erected with massive Doric porticoes.  Here we are 180 years later, with hopeful brides basking in the sunlight beneath the massive Ionic porticoes that were placed there by a home renovator who had a taste for Italianate architecture when he inhabited the space.

Yes, even on historical homes, families want to make their mark. Nikka chose to remove the additions and let the original integrity speak. Hundreds are flocking to be a part of the revival at parties and reunions that are sure to please all of the past inhabitants.

Does your home speak? What does it say to you? What does it speak to those who visit? Do you savor the tired floors that were marked with tiny feet that are now size twelve?

Magazines beg us to buy into the glamour and glitz of the home. But after a long day, the greatest gift is to walk into the place you have made for love and for your family. It is the comfort within the walls, not the decor that soothes a broken heart or fixes a scrape with a band-aid and kisses.

I am embarking on my own revival in a home that had so many memories packed into the eaves I wonder how they will ever get their things moved.  My home on the lake, I am passing to a family with five little ones who will soon be splashing off the deck and making memories, not unlike those my now grown children experienced.

Home should be about the experience. A magnificent stairwell will not raise a child to be a kind person. Marble floors will not build a foundation for integrity. The hearts that beat within the walls are all that matter.

 Blessings and go mess up your house a bit this weekend with some memory opportunities you saw on Pinterest!

This story was written for Lake Living in The Druid City Living – The ONLY community paper for all of Tuscaloosa and Northport 

Photo/collage painting by Allison of the Drish House in former and present glory.


  1. 08/30/2017 / 7:48 PM

    Hi Allison, I live sort of just across the street from you and have met Chad twice. The first time I met him we had a huge tree limb that had fallen across our driveway and a car my granddaughter drives when she’s here in school and he came over to help move the limbs!!! The second time I met Chad I had stopped by to say welcome but you weren’t home. I’d like to come Friday at 11:00 to your house because I’d like to meet you and the book sounds intriguing. Welcome to Riverchase! And I love reading your blog!

    • 08/30/2017 / 8:31 PM

      Hey Pat this is ALlison! We aren’t going to start the group until the 8th, but I can still catch up with you this Friday if you would like to meet! So glad you love the blog. We will be posting more regularly now that we have finally gotten the house organized. Looking forward to meeting you!

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