Laura and Matt Sanders, Re/Max associate brokers, are helping Marguerite Gonzalez in her quest to preserve the art history of her husband, the late Paul Gonzalez, in the sale of their homestead on Clarkston Road. Photos by Phil Custodio
The late Paul Gonzalez spent decades restoring and making a home of historic barns and outbuildings on Clarkston Road.
The wood sculptor, who passed away in 2012, converted a barn built in 1840 into a unique home for himself and his wife, Marguerite Gonzalez, and they moved in there in 1991.
Marguerite now plans to move to Texas to be closer to family and hopes her home goes to someone who will preserve it.
“We’d like to find someone who would carry the dream on, to find some other use for this piece of art history,” said Matt Sanders, Re/Max associate broker along with his wife, Laura Sanders. “I’d hate to see it disappear.”
Paul’s restoration work was featured in a 1980 edition of the Clarkston News, “Metamorphosis: Sculptor Paul Gonzalez works to transform barn into studios.”
“He started with dirt floors and bare rafters, and built staircases, cat walks, bedrooms, dining room, kitchen – no walls, all open spaces,” Laura said. “Everything is handcrafted.”
“Paul was all about wood, Sycamore wood – he was encased in his own artwork,” said Matt.
The real estate agent lived across the street from the property in 1986, and remembers it was surrounded by farm land.
“This was the boonies, cornfields and a pig farm,” Matt said. “I grew up in Clarkston. I remember it smelled bad.”
Paul’s project seemed an impossible dream at the time, Matt remembers.
“He wanted to make the barn into a studio. It didn’t seem possible. I was amazed,” he said. “I didn’t realize he worked so hard, so long, and accomplished this. I’ve never seen a home like this before. You’re floating up in the rafters. It’s amazing.”
“He had so much passion for this place, it was unbelievable,” Marguerite said. “I thought he would just create an area for his artwork, but he wanted to live here.”
The artist was never finished with his work, she said.
“He would always do more and more,” she said. “I remember him sitting over there working. He was so dedicated to everything he was doing. For hours, he would never move. He was just working. I’d call him for dinner, he’d eat, then go right back to working. He had so much energy. ‘What else can I do,’ he would say. He was so creative.”
The barns are on a two-acre parcel with several out buildings in Independence Township, Lake Orion school district. Paul also designed Italian gardens behind the barn, based on his experiences in Turino, Italy. Interest so far include converting the property into a banquet facility.
Several of Paul’s sculptures and artwork are up for auction at DuMouchelles later this month and in October, and an estate sale is being planned. Check www.dumouchelle. com for more information. Call Matt and Laura Sanders at 248-625-9688.