Monday, August 1, 2011

#65 - Less House, More Land

Looking forward to having a cabin in the woods is something that keeps me smiling with anticipation. We've owned our acreage for about ten years and now that we're closer to making the transition to our land in the woods, I am thinking about more things in different ways.

One aspect of our life that I think about are the differences we'll have in our house now to the cabin we'll own in the woods that adjoins our future farm.

Currently, the house I live in is beautiful. But, as usual, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love my house., even though the street is always crowded with parked cars. But, I am tired, so very tired, of living in the city. I am ready to be tucked inside a rustic cabin sheltered by a canopy of trees in the lush forest. I am ready to enjoy FREE environmental shading so that we can enjoy protection from the blaring Texas heat. As you can see below, our house is exposed to the full sun and our air-conditioning bill is astronomical.

I'm ready to be surrounded by shade loving plants instead of having to find heat tolerant varieties.

The picture above is our living room downstairs. The living room furniture was our first leather group, and I am sold on leather from here on out. It has held up miraculously through a hurricane, big dogs, teenagers and excessive daily use. But, another favorite thing in my living room is the cow-hide rug which was a special purchase that my husband made for me several years ago. Even though we live in Texas, this large rug is an import from Brazil and is a long-hair hide. My neighbors love my rug. They asked, "Do you guys actually WALK on it?"

I wanted to say, "No, we make gigantic leaps to make sure we don't touch a hair it."

The truth is...we walk on it, the dogs lay on it and it is durable. I discovered that I can carefully vacuum this rug and any spills clean up surprisingly well. The hair doesn't absorb spills like a normal synthetic rug. I guess animal hides are very durable, after all, that animal lived a lifetime with this hide protecting it...until it ended up as a floor covering in my house.  

In the picture above, you'll also see my treasured wooden bowl on the coffee table. This was another gift from my husband; it is hand-carved with a signature and number on the bottom. It is one of my most favorite pieces of art. When people come to visit and they absentmindedly toss things into it, I am slightly irritated...this is NOT a catch-all, it is a work of art! We actually purchased two pieces from this artist so that, one day, each of our daughters may have one of their own.

My oldest, Heather, at home in her room. She's nearly 24 years old! But, like my parents always told me...there's always a place at home for you to lay your head.

Below are shots of our upstairs game-room and gathering room. But, I don't want two living rooms in our next only causes everyone to separate.

My upstairs gathering room, as it looks right now.

This is a shot of the upstairs gathering room/game-room, just
before I brought down the cow-hide rug back downstairs.

Upstairs in the gathering combo game room, my husband laid the floating hardwood floors himself. Then, we put three coats of polyurethane over them.

The photo above is of our formal dining room and it has a china cabinet that my husband and I bought when we lived in Germany. It has a built-in tin lined breadbox, a velvet lined silverware drawer, pull-out serving board and built-in canisters. I love this piece of furniture, so our cabin in the woods will have to accommodate this piece of furniture.

The stairway has recently been re-carpeted.
Again, no more white carpet with red Kool-aid stains.
Our stairway has been redone since this photo. It is pretty. However, our next house will not have stairs. The only reason I bought this house with stairs is because the stairway is broken up with four landings as it twists upward. So, if you do happen to fall, you will only go four steps and hit a landing. Since I am rather clumsy, this is necessary. We've owned several houses, but this particular house that we live in currently is the only house we've ever owned that has stairs. It's been nice, but Deputy Dave and I will NOT miss having stairs.

Here is the THIRD table seating area in the house, in the breakfast area of the kitchen. My youngest daughter calls this the "Kindergartner's" table because it is so small. But, we love it.

But, my point in this area is that we do NOT need three areas for table seating.

My conclusion with tables and toilets happens to be...the more there are, the more you have to clean.

The entire first floor has Italian Porcelain flooring that my husband laid by himself. The foyer in this picture has the "tile rug" laid by Deputy Dave and it has a beautiful mosaic trim. I can't even express how proud I am of my husband for his construction abilities and his creativity. He has saved us thousands and thousands of dollars. If he hadn't been able to do this work himself, we would have been stuck with the red kool-aid stained white carpet that was in the house when we bought it as a foreclosure.

Deputy Dave laying the wood floors by himself.
This is his "I am doing this by myself" expression.
We only have carpet in the three bedrooms upstairs and on the stairway to prevent falls. The master bedroom downstairs has the same wood flooring that is in the upstairs main area (four bedrooms). Since we have dogs and we are hard on our flooring, it would not be practical for us to have wall to wall carpeting, but I do have rugs placed strategically throughout the house.

An upstairs spare bedroom. Mostly for my niece.

Even though this house is now much too big for us, it has been so much fun living here. It's been nice having a master bedroom that is so separate from the rest of the house that we are given wonderful quiet privacy. There is nothing but attic space over our master bedroom, so there are no footfalls or other noise from upstairs to bother us. The design of this house is so nice. It's difficult to believe that we've lived here about six years.

It's almost too hard to believe that the time is fast approaching for us to sell our home. Keeping this in mind, lately, we've been doing even more work to our home so that we won't be inundated with an overwhelming Realtor-list of things to do before selling. Staying on top of everything now will make it easier in the long run.

As usual, we buy the yucky house on the block and we revamp and renovate to make it a shiner. It's always been so rewarding and our homes have always sold for top dollar...I guess the love we have for our homes shows through. But, the desire to live in the country so we can live farther from the city congestion is overwhelming.

I am ready to have a smaller home, yet enjoy having a larger "yard." Yesterday, we were looking to buy more seeds, but we must be careful with what we grow because we simply don't have much room here in the yard. However, once we're living on our land, we will have abundant space to grow watermelon and cantaloupe along with different kinds of squash and so many more veggies! It'll be so much fun to throw a ball for my dog and not worry about him hitting a fence in four leaps.

Along our frontage, I will have wildflowers. Bluebonnets for sure. This is a typical-Texas roadside garden.

I can even picture an area that will look like the picture above, but there will be hostas, azaleas, gardenias and ferns planted beneath the trees for a more luxurious appearance.

We have a couple of places on our land that will need bridges. That is a daunting task to consider, but it will be a necessity. Little bridges won't cut it; we'll need bridges large enough to allow our equipment to cross from one side of the land to the other. As the time approaches for us to move, we will start exploring this necessity further.

I love this cabin, but the price tag was fairly expensive. We might go with a cedar-siding cabin. I know I don't want brick...maybe I'll be able to incorporate some kind of natural stone into the design, but I'm going for a more rustic appearance.

Right now, we live in a home that is nearly 3,000 square feet, but I do believe our cabin would be perfect at about 1,900 square us room to enjoy frequent guests and to have ample closet space. I believe we'll build a shell home and finish it out's the affordable way to go. So, the research continues...

The bottom line is that I'm going for a rustic-price point. Yep, that will work just fine. The more rustic, the better.

From this "monster."

To this rustic money-saver.
Well, the girls are fully grown and they may not fit inside anymore.
I take that back, tiny Stefie will fit just fine.


Rae said...

Sure does make a difference, doing as much asmlossible on your own. We did all our own painting and tile, and installed all of our flooring. We build our fences and hang our gates, and cringe when friends go out and spend 100s or 1000s of $ to have someone do it for them. Awesome that Deputy Dave is so capable! Hope you're jumping in to learn. :) I loved doing tile-work, totally dig using the chainsaw or clearing saw, and I'm hoping LJ will teach me basics of framing soon. I can't build a structure to save my life... Not even a shade shelter for the chickens. Not without lots of zipties (zipties are my bestest friends).

LindaG said...

Duck tape is my best friend. ;)
I want to learn how to put that locking wood flooring down. I just hope my knees can take it. Our knees are not the best.
Sorry to see that tropical depression didn't give you very much (if any) rain.

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Rae --- I am the official caulker, painter, sander, primer, etc. Deputy Dave is one of those craftsmen who likes to do his projects by himself. I either get to do the prep work or the clean up work with a little bit of assistance. But, there were times that I've been a full construction partner, like when we were hanging sheetrock - I was standing on a ladder with a huge piece of sheetrock held above my head - the year I had my spine reconstructed. Good thing I have decent upper body strength. Fun times. But, yes, we will be doing much of the farm work ourselves, but we will need to get the right equipment to make real headway. I think Deputy Dave will be hyperventilating when we get a full-sized, multi-purpose tractor. I can't wait until we get to start on our fences and gates. Deputy Dave always builds our fences and gates here in the city and they have to be gapless with strict building guidelines, so it will be nice to put up what we like on the land. Good luck with learning the basics of framing. It will be good to learn to do framing without zipties! haha

Linda --- I don't know about the rest of the nation, but here in Texas, duct tape is man's best friend, next to the dog. As for the knees, my husband always wears a good pair of sports pads for the knees and it works. But, they don't help us to get back up from off the ground! We need a pulley system for that feat! And no, the tropical depression passed us by...we're still crunchy and dry out here!

LindaG said...

Duct tape, dogs and jack knives. :-)
And exactly! I am thinking of a trolley system where the pulley moves through the house to where you need it to grab hold of to get up again. ;-)

I'm wondering how dry the farm will be when we get there, and if the two trees we planted in May survived.

Farm Equipment said...

Its really great all the rooms are looking unique........and everyone has shared their own point of view....its good.Thank you...