Friday, June 22, 2007

Cabin of Our Dreams

My husband and I are building a cabin at our lake place in East Texas. This is where we plan to retire, so we are thinking ahead, including some modifications such as 36" wide doors, so that even if we become less nimble as we age, we can continue to live here for as long as possible.
We are also paying for the costs as we go along, spending what we can afford each month, so that when it is finished, we won't owe anything on it. Wick is doing most of the work himself, with help from our son Scott, who is devoting a lot of his summer to working on the cabin.
In our campaign to save money as we build, we decided to avail ourselves of the refurbished appliances at a small appliance store in a Dallas suburb.
The owner's son is a former student of Wick's, from when he was teaching shop classes some years ago. The father and son have been very good to us, searching out appropriate appliances, and reconditioning them.
So far, we have bought a wall oven, a dish washer, and an ice maker from them, at a total cost of approximately $500. In addition, we lucked out and found a cook top for $15 at a local church rummage sale--and it not only matches the wall oven, it actually works!
Since we are going for a rustic look, we are not overly concerned with buying the flashiest or most currently stylish materials. Most of the money has gone into the structural integrity of the cabin, for a sturdy foundation, strong beams, appropriate wiring. Cost saving materials include corrugated metal, weathered wood, recycled cabinets, and shopping clearance or surplus sales.
We want a sturdy, low maintenance home, economical to heat and cool, and easy to keep clean. The downstairs is about the size of a one bedroom apartment--bedroom, bath/laundry room, and a combined kitchen/living area. The upstairs is one big open room, with a bath, for the use of our children and grandchildren. They will be encouraged to furnish and decorate the space to suit their needs and tastes.
The staircase is enclosed, with a door downstairs. This enables us to heat and cool only the downstairs, when no one else is visiting, and also provides a rainy-day play area for the grandchildren, insulated from the downstairs area where adults may be trying to have a quiet conversation or take a nap.
Roughly 1200 square feet, it will not be the large, spacious, palatial house many people dream of. It will, however, be a refuge for us as we age, a welcoming space for our family to gather, and we hope it will provide the backdrop for many precious memories over the years.