Thursday, September 20, 2012

Treasure Hunting

As two people who have been trying for nearly a decade to get rid of everything unnecessary in our lives, it boggles our minds to think about all the new really old stuff that we just acquired in the house and outbuildings next door. My best guesstimate is that 75 percent of the contents is one of three things: scrap metal, glass jars and cardboard boxes. You can't really blame the Depression-era former homeowners for hanging onto valuable materials in case the bottom dropped out again, so we're hoping to find gold buried inside the walls. But we won't tell you if we ever find that. 

Most of the contents have made their way to the recycling bin, but the rest we can't quite get ourselves to let go of, just like our predecessors! Some of the better finds we'll keep, some will be sold at an estate sale this fall. It's like our own little time-capsule museum ...more finds will surely follow.

super weighty vacuum and collection of clock radios

1 of 1543 boxes of glass jars

metal inboxes?

wash tub and seeder

awesome old grill, maybe turned into a side table?

rotary dial phone, which I can't figure out how to unplug from the wall. Sophia may otherwise never know what one of these things is!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Round Two

"Buy land, they're not making it anymore." Wise words from Mark Twain.

So, when the property next door to ours went up for sale, we pounced. Well, that's not exactly right. We pined for it for six years and made it known to the daughters of the elderly homeowners that we would be interested in it someday. Then, when they offered it for sale, we tried to get a loan, which turned out to have a terrible 6-percent-rate-with-a-five-year-balloon term, so we backed out. After waiting another year until they had to finally put it on the market, we were fortunate enough to get the first right of refusal. The week it was listed, we went on vacation while they got five offers by the time we returned. Knowing this was our last opportunity, THEN we pounced. If we didn't, there would be a giant HVAC warehouse built right outside our windows.

Back in the day, like before the 1920s, our two properties were one. Consider them reunited. Moreover, the two houses are twins, with almost the exact same floor plan, so we get a second chance to improve upon our previous remodeling experience with our own home, which for better or worse is still undergoing its own renovation projects.

So, why do we need a second home? And why, if we are fortunate enough to own a second home, would it be directly to the north of us instead of in some sunny or mountainous locale? Well, we realized early on that it could be the key to a new lifestyle. With our changing attitudes about life and food and family, we desired a new path for our skills as a writer and an architect. The property next door can be an extension of what we've started here, a way to take our little homesteading project and make it financially sustainable. We're not just growing vegetables anymore, we're growing a dream.

At the heart of the dream is the quaint little vacation rental. Of course, it's only quaint in our minds. Everyone else might use the word 'condemned.' It needs a lot of work, but we're experienced, remember, and we like the labor -- have you never felt the catharsis of demolition? -- and the creative process that ensues from a (semi) blank slate.

We have been gathering ideas, piecing together a look, mulling what we have, repurposing, reusing, rethinking. To read my mind, check out some of my inspirational pins. Mike's are here. Take a look at the ol' place below as it was when we bought it then keep following us on this journey.

west bedroom

east bedroom

kitchen to dining room

"dining" room used as a sewing room

living room

summer porch