Howard lives in the midst of Mill Valley, beautiful, sunny, moist Northern California.The house fosters intimacy - you are never more than two rooms from anyone. Howard's office, with his computer station, is off of his bedroom, which is in turn the primary entrance to the only bathroom in the house. There is only one floor, though you walk down steps to Howards office and Mamie's room, which is off of the living room, which serves as the foyer as well. There are no walls between the living room and the dining room, which has glass doors leading outside, as well as a doorway into the kitchen. But for Howard's office and Mamie's room, you can walk a circle through the house, traversing five rooms.
His house is smaller than I had imagined, packed with books, curios, brightly painted clay and porcelain, and an occasional psychedlic painting of Howard's. The house virtually swells with the tremendous presence of the three folks who live in it.
Each of the Rheingolds can fill a room on their own, the three of them in that mad house is endearingly overwhelming.
Outside is Howard's pride and joy, his garden. A wood deck with a mesh door to keep their dog from escaping leads down to a wooden decked landing. A few chairs, small plants, bonsai and a statue of Ganesh. Beyond the landing, the lawn, Howard removes his shoes to let the grass play between his toes.
A blue canvas folding chair sits beneath a tree with an orange extension cord tied to a branch - he writes his books here. Bushes and trees are kept healthy, they look stimulated, not pruned.
His garden looks healthy - stimulated, not pruned.
Through a wooden doorway, ducking under lowhanging branches open to a narrow path. There is a branch throne, looks regal, if little used. To the right is a small wood shack, oil paints and gardening tools. The path extends to the left, the foliage seems to have parted a footwide out of courtesy to their tender. Blackberry bushes climb up the walls on one side, small square plots of delectible tomatoes and corn on the other. A compost heap ends the straight path, leading left, through an overgrown overhang, wind through the plants, squash, onions, garlic, a brightly painted doorway looms ahead - Howard's holy space.