At Home With: Dermot Rooney 

Home renovator

The beautiful thing about this yard is that it's all high walls around three sides and it's sunken below the level of the other garden. It just gives it a secret feel.

It's lined with broken-up headstones. All the headstones that were sold in the building next door [formerly Empire Monument] were displayed here. I bought this warehouse back here, and that is right on the fence of [Hollywood] Cemetery. You can see the monument to the Confederate dead.

The garden is all my wife's doing. She told me to cut down this mulberry tree because it has berries that drop into the garden and they attract flies like crazy a couple of weeks every year. I said, "No, I won't cut it down — it's a tree, it's alive, what are you calling yourself a gardener for if you're killing plants?" [laughs] and she said, "I'll kill it." She got this [wisteria] vine when it was nothing more than a shoot and she planted it there. You can see what it's doing. She is killing the tree with another plant.

The climbing wall — we stuccoed this whole wall and broke down and used very fancy fasteners. I've been in the building business for years and never used anything so nice. It was great to see how it affected the kids. It's really been a point of pride. I never realized why they called them confidence courses, but it really has been amazing.

"At Home With" narratives are transcribed and lightly edited for readability to let people tell their stories in their own words.


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