The House

I bought the Kalavan house in 2018 in a derelict state. At the time, there were holes in the roof, broken windows, missing doors, and a complete lack of plumbing and electricity. It felt a bit like camping out in a big, ugly tent when I moved in in 2019 and began major renovations.

For the last five years, I've been refurbishing it with the help of a few hired neighbors and international volunteers. It is now the most modern, comfortable house in Kalavan, features two full bathrooms, a full kitchen, all-new double-pane windows, whole-house heating with radiators and furnaces, a large library of books, an array of musical instruments and art supplies, internet, television, and video games, and plenty of fenced-in area for my cats, ducks, rabbits, and dog Popoke to run around. 

Kalavan is located less than an hour from Dilijan and Ijevan (about 2.5 hours from Yerevan) in the direction of Chambarak. It is the last village at the end of about 20 minutes of unpaved road, just after Dprabak and Barepat. Its 1,600-meter elevation means that it remains significantly cooler than Yerevan throughout the year. While summer is warm, it's not unbearable, and air conditioning is not required. Winters run slightly longer but are easily managed through a combination of wood and coal furnaces and sun-facing windows to compensate for a lack of natural gas connection. Spring and autumn are dreamy.

When I first moved here, I felt like I was living at the edge of the Earth. There was little unwanted intrusion into my life from the outside world because only people who were very determined to get involved in my life would bother to. I was free to focus on what was most important to me instead of the passing concerns of this or any other culture. The population here is quite small, with only about 150 residents. This lends to its sense of isolation from the cities and towns of Armenia and their overwhelming cultural expectations.  

Original Condition, 2018

Construction Overhaul, 2019 – 2023

Present Condition, 2024 Onward

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