At a time when many 60-somethings are considering downsizing their homes or moving from a traditional house to a more compact apartment or condominium—Michael Maude decided to think outside the box in a big way. He’s now living out his “Third Chapter” with a renewed vitality and by embracing all kinds of new challenges, including remarriage and a brand new home in Lawrence, Kansas.
“As I approached my 65th birthday,” says Maude, “a friend gave me a copy of sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot’s book, Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50. It proves that there is still life—lots of it—to experience after adulthood and middle age.
“I’m having a great time.”
Maude’s Tuscan-inspired dwelling—designed by Dan and Nicole Sabatini and built by Huston Homes—is a solid structure constructed of locally quarried limestone. Maude and his husband, Randall Wallace, even gave the house a fitting name: Mio Macigno, which translates roughly as “My Rock.” (Macigno, pronounced MASS-Eenio, is more of a boulder than a stone.) Asked if the term refers to the strength of the new house or his relationship, Maude said “both.”
Maude, who spent most of his career working in the nonprofit field, knew he wanted the house of his Third Chapter to resonate with the area of Umbria he had fallen in love with in an earlier stage of his life. “I had lived in older homes. I had built a home before. My children are grown. I couldn’t find an existing house with the character that I wanted, so I turned to Dan and Nicole Sabatini and we decided to build what I wanted.”
Even before the first shovel of dirt could be lifted to build the new home’s foundation, Maude—who was raised in a “standard Overland Park tri-level” in Johnson County—had already ordered a shipping crate filled with the unique components he wanted to use in his new dwelling: an antique floor salvaged from an Italian home, ceiling tiles, a wellhead for the courtyard, a 19th-century wood mantelpiece. Majolica tiles for the kitchen. Marble sinks.
“When the materials arrived,” says Maude, “not a single thing was broken. The masonry expert we hired to work with all the stuff scratched his head at first, but once he got into it, he had so much fun with the project. It was a real collaborative affair. I stained the beams and did the plastering myself. I like having a part of myself in the house.”
Maude says the thing that he and Wallace “absolutely required” for their new home was “the patina of old age…of having been lived-in for some time already.
“When people step into the house, I want them to feel immediately at ease. It’s a space filled with warmth and light. There’s no formal dining room in this house. I wanted a kitchen big enough to cook and to entertain in.”
Maude calls Mio Macigno a “perfectly imperfect” house.
“A lot of things are not perfectly done. To me, that just becomes part of the character of the house. The house is on a third of an acre, but doesn’t face the road. It’s in a little valley. We have three full baths, a kitchen, a library, and a studio where I work with glass and jewelry and make prints.
“It’s the best house in the world for celebrating the third chapter of a wonderful life.”
Seen and Noted
Antique architectural elements give the new home a patina of age.
Sabatini Architects Inc.
Elmwood Reclaimed Timber