We’ve been adding little things to our FirstDay Cottage over the years: a bathroom upstairs became a reality last summer, and things like shelves and furniture have slowly been taking shape. Here’s a view of one clutter killing shelf that I recently built for the house:
While our original plans called for two bathrooms, we originally went with just one (large and downstairs), as we wanted to preserve as many open spaces in the house as possible. Over the years, though, we’ve come to realize that a second bathroom sure, would, be, nice.
So this summer we added a half-bath upstairs. The project took us about a week, and here’s a video of what we did.
This is a simple walkthrough of our house. The lion’s share of the work on this house was completed in the summer of 2013 — which you can (obviously) read about here on our blog.
This summer, I took to the woods to build a simple shelter. While my backwoods shelter looks a bit remote in this video, it’s actually in eye-shot of one of our kitchen windows (though a good ways off). It was a simple construction project involving very little measurement and just three or four days. It was a lot of fun and a rich reminder of those high days of house building on our farm!
A view of the house from out in the fields — the winter wheat is starting to take off.
Living in a house that you built yourself, as we were told before we built it, is an experience all its own. Things that might seem utterly fixed, like windows and doors, seem entirely moveable to us. Since we put them in one place, why not move them to another? Doing something simple like putting up a shelf triggers knowledge and memories of every layer of wood, insulation, wire, and pipe in that immediate area of the structure. We may have built it, but it feels a bit like we birthed it.
And then the whole structure speaks to us with memories of that summer: the pounding sounds of nails, the wetness from the time(s) the rain poured in, and how quiet and dark it was on all those nights we spent in the tents. At one moment, the house can look to us like a fully constructed dwelling and like the pile of raw materials that rolled down our driveway early that summer.
Here are a few pics celebrating the house as it gets a bit more lived in. The heater we’ve huddled around and slept beside many times now, and the kitchen we’ve eaten so many delicious meals in. There’s been laughter and music in every room of our house, and dogs, and dirty wet children.
It took a few days, but I finally got the boat barn wired up: lights inside and out on one circuit, and then receptacles on another circuit. It glows nicely in the dark, now, and the porch has plenty of light for nighttime carpentry. The light by the barn doors is on a sensor, while all the others are switched.
Inside, I have a few “electronic kitties” running to give the mice something to listen to.
As I mentioned on the blog last summer, I took a few months to build a small pole barn (I call it the “boat barn”) near the house. It was a fun project, and I took a picture from the house after each day’s work.
Here’s a video compilation of those pictures, including my best effort at a how-to voice over.
From L’s bro the photographer, comes this pic at sunset. The grass is coming in pretty well after two summers, and you can see the boat barn there on the left.
(pic from JL)
At some point, farms need barns. A mower, some kayaks, various tools — all of these things needed a home, so we set out to build a pole barn. I did most of the work early on, but L came through in the end for many of the finishing touches. The requirements (self imposed) were that the structure match the house, at least somewhat, and include some percentage of repurposed barn wood from L’s Dad’s old barn, which we pulled down four or five years ago. So after some sketching, this is what we have: