Wende, an accomplished artist, poet
and the author of 27 children’s books.
Nick worked as a muralist and
decorative artist for most of his career.
Now semi-retired, he creates primitive
fish sculptures and other works on
commission. His studio is the big red
barn, one of several original buildings
on the property. There are five others: a
toolshed, a smokehouse, a sugar shack, a
distillery and a two-seater outhouse; only
the outhouse still functions in its original
capacity (although the main house is
equipped with 3-½ bathrooms).
The couple repositioned four
of the small buildings so that they
sit opposite one another, forming a
square. Then gradually, they anointed
each with a new function: the sugar
shack now houses the sap they
collect; the smokehouse—once used
for smoking hams—provides storage
for Nick’s many fly-fishing poles.
The fifth building, the distillery—
where the original owners brewed
moonshine—had been transformed
into an all-season outdoor room. It’s
fixed it up and put a fireplace in it,”
says Libby. “We spend an awful lot of
time out there.”
Nick has his own take on the Ruin.
“It’s really a man cave,” he says, “but
when Libby wants to make it her
woman cave, she’ll get some linens
and flower arrangements and the
The Ruin sits alongside a stream
where Nick can indulge in his favorite
pastimes. “We make fires and we
go fishing in the stream,” he says.
“We catch wild brown trout most
Nick and Libby Devlin on
Nick’s prized 1954 Farmall
Cub tractor. Nick built the
fence and crafted the finials from old bowling balls.
The couple escapes to the
natural habitat of the Ruin
virtually year-round. The
Devlins added the Greek
Revival facade to their