When We Get Older

In September we passed the landmark of forty-five years since we started building our house. An amazing feat considering it is still standing despite our lack of building experience and the materials used – mostly scrounged. (For those interested you can see our story here – https://hardtocomebylifestyle.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/beginnings-2/)

The original part of the house was built on posts on un-level ground. One side of the house was almost ground level while the other was three feet off the ground. The house was a hexagonal and the framed foundation looked like a spiders web made from saplings.

Eventually we started to expand, first adding a bedroom, then a bathroom (a big upgrade from the outhouse) and then a living room. In order to accommodate these extensions, the easiest way to add on was to build the extensions below the existing roof line. This meant each new room was about two feet lower than the original floor – two steps down to the bedroom, two steps down to the bathroom, two steps down to the living room. So far, so good.

Forty years or so later I would lie in bed and think about what happens when we get older and can’t manage the steps. We could put ramps everywhere but they would take up the most of the floorspace in our small house. We could also drop the floor in the main house two feet which seemed like a fun and interesting project but wasn’t whole heartedly accepted by others in the house. That is when I thought of our guesthouse. With a bit of alteration and addition it could be turned into the perfect one level retirement home for when we get old (we’re only in our early 70’s right now).

The guesthouse was originally built as a workshop (https://hardtocomebylifestyle.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/hard-to-come-by-b-b/) and evolved into our bed and breakfast cabin which we ran for twelve years. It was two rooms – the bedroom/sitting area and the bathroom. Covid 19 came along and I wasn’t going very far afield and so I decided to tackle the project. The largest part of the venture was adding a bedroom and the remainder was a renovation of the bathroom.

Building the bedroom door
Handmade cabinet with live edge cedar
Shower with galvanized metal roofing
Live edge cedar counter and floating shelves
Handmade cedar French doors. A Cubic Grizzly mini wood stove to the left of the door
The extended ‘kitchen’
Milled board and batten siding from the property

So there it is. The perfect project for these times and a good solution for future times.

Table Project

I thought I would practice my mortise and tenon skills by building a small cedar table. I milled the wood from our property and it is a pleasure to see it go from a storm damaged tree to a quite nice piece of furniture. Mortise, tenons and pegs hold it together. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it when I finished but it became our kitchen table. Mocha the cat is indifferent.