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RS Celebrates Opening of 20K—Geraldine's House

20K Geraldine's House Interior

On Saturday, October 3, Auburn University’s Rural Studio celebrated the grand opening of Geraldine Braxton’s House, the seventeenth iteration of the Rural Studio 20K House, an ongoing research project focused on providing affordable rural housing to those who need it most.

At 5 p.m  a crowd of more than a hundred friends and family converged on Dodge City Road in Newbern. The day was cool and overcast; autumn was in the breeze. The crowd donned sweaters and light jackets. The sweet smell of barbecue perfumed the air as Geraldine and her family smoked Boston butts, ribs and sausages. Everyone gathered around Geraldine’s brand new home—a two bedroom, 920 square foot house with a lustrous metal roof and freshly painted slate-blue siding.

The student team—Kristen Gruhn, Maggie Scott, Adam Grigsby, and Trent Tepool—worked tirelessly in preparation for the big event. Just minutes before show time, they were on site running an air compressor and nail gun, fastening the last of the interior finishes into place, careful not to crease their dresses and button downs. The team began the design of Geraldine’s House in August 2014 and since mid-May, have been on the construction site bringing the drawings to fruition.

Andrew Freear, Director of Rural Studio, stood atop the front porch and introduced the audience to Geraldine and her son Patrick. The student team was called to stage and, after a brief heckling by Andrew, expressed their thanks and gratitude to the clients, collaborators, friends, and families that made the project possible. They invited their families to the porch, and together with Geraldine and Patrick, they cut through the ribbon. Amid much applause, Geraldine unlocked the front door of her new home and stepped inside.

A warm meal of barbecue and sides was provided thanks to the Braxton family and Rural Studio Chef Catherine Tabb. As darkness fell, the crowd slowly dispersed and went off into the cool night, while on Dodge City Road, a soft golden light glowed from the windows of Geraldine’s new home.