I know, I know. I meant to document the entire quarantine from April through May. Because poker was shut down in Texas from mid March until the first part of May, we really didn’t feel the need to stick around, so we loaded up the car and drove the 1100 miles to Virginia, and settled in to the cabin. But, instead of documenting the weeks we spent cuddled up in the mountains, we WORKED.
Scrubbing, raking, painting, cleaning, staining, guttering, latticing.
Every day it wasn’t raining, Rust and I threw on our work clothes and headed outside to do another project on my cabin. Maybe I need to back up from here.
In 2014, my ex-husband and I built this tiny house in the mountains, in Floyd County, Virginia. It’s on my dad’s property, a huge 250 acre site that has lots of trees, fields, a pond, and just the best feelings. I designed it on graphing paper, and all throughout 2014 we worked on it, getting it built, roofed, decked, complete. A few months later, we divorced, and as the cabin is on property owned by my family, I kept the cabin, and he kept the Harley. They cost about the same, and it just made sense. But, I wanted him to still be able to use the cabin to take Seven, and to hunt. So he had full access to it for the past five years. Since I moved to Texas, I only managed to stay 2 nights there in all those years. Things needed to be done, like the siding needed painting, and the decks needed stained. Since he didn’t feel like an owner anymore, he chose not to do either of these things, which I understand. But, still, they needed done so Rust and I decided to spend our quarantine doing this needed maintenance. In the process, we totally fell in love with making it completely our own, and can not wait to spend more time there. We have so many ideas and plans, and are very excited to head back in August and get working again.
Now, the cabin doesn’t have electricity, though it is completely wired for it, and CAN run off of the generator I have out there, nor does it have running water, though again, it’s got all the makings to do it. The pipes are run, there’s just no water actually running. The bathroom? It’s an outhouse, a cute one, but still, it’s an outhouse. There’s also an outdoor shower if you feel like hooking it up, though at the moment, there is a mama bird and babies nesting on the showerhead. We opted NOT to.
So what do we do if staying there for weeks with no water or power?
Well, my folks have their own cabin, fully functional with all the modern conveniences, just a couple minutes by ATV away. Every day we’d go up and join them for breakfast, hang out, shower, run a load of laundry if needed. Then we would head back down to our place and spend our day working. We cranked up the fireplace at night for heat, and occasionally watched TV, which runs off of a marine battery and an inverter. But mostly we just slept, and snuggled, and enjoyed the immense peace.
First up, painting the siding.
The siding is Hardi-Board, a type of cement board that is very sturdy, and quite expensive. My dad gifted it to us when we were building, saving us several thousand dollars. It was mis-matched, all different colors, but I kind of dug the way it looked so artsy. Sadly, it really did need a coat of paint for protection from the elements, especially being so deep in the woods. After a trip to Home Depot, we chose what we call Haint Blue – a color we learned about on a trip to Savannah. Haint Blue is the color painted on many doors, windows and porches in the Voodoo South, as it was thought that this color blue frightened away evil spirits. I mean, who wants evil spirits? Not us. So Haint Blue now clads the cabin, after scrubbing the boards down to make sure they were nice and clean. The color led us to name the cabin Maison Voodoo Bleu, because a house so sweet needs a name. I made this little graphic, and in August, we will get to hang it by the front door in the form of a plaque, and hang a little custom garden flag out by the porch featuring it as well. So excited to see it come together! As for the upper end of the cabin, we went with a marine blue, just to break it up. The front porch was stained that same dark blue, and the intent was to paint the ginormous back deck that blue as well.
But I couldn’t. After sitting inside and looking out the glass door at the back deck, I just couldn’t bear the idea of that rich blue breaking up the forest view I loved so much. Therefore, after a trip back to the paint store, I picked the perfect shade of bark to really complement the deck and forest. It’s perfect. Before I could stain the deck, we had to clean it, and trust me, you never want to have to hand scrub a deck without running water or electricity. No Pressure Washer. Just muscle and a stiff scrub brush, bleach, soap, and pain. It actually took longer to clean the deck (it had never been cleaned in 5 years) than it did to stain it. Ouch.
The trim of the cabin is all white – around the windows, the corners, around the doors. The front door got painted a sunny yellow – so sweet and welcoming. I’ve been told by several people now that it looks like a doll house, which, well, that wasn’t my intention. But, I wanted it to feel like a gift. I mean, how often do you get to really paint fun colors on something so huge, like a house? It’s artsy, it’s something that makes me smile. And that’s the exact gift I wanted to give myself and Rust, and anyone who comes to visit.
Another project we did was adding guttering. We also bought a rain barrel, to collect the rain water so that when we are ready, we can pump it into the house. The goal is to have four 55 gallon barrels when it is all said and done, but getting that all complete will take us a little more time. But it’s coming!
A project I didn’t expect to tackle was adding a large front porch step. We did have a small step on the side of the porch, kind of precarious, and one rainy day as I stepped down on to it, it broke and exposed lots of crazy nails. So, we ripped that off and built a huge step across the front, with stepping stones in front, and even some landscaping! I love how it turned out, and I’m so glad we did it.
One last outdoor project was adding lattice to the base of the cabin. It really helped it to look finished, versus being able to see under the house. Eventually we will add some bushes and shrubs, just to pretty it up a little more. The lattice was a quick job and not expensive, but really made an impact. It also ties into the white of the trim.
I am thinking about that large, empty area on the end of the cabin, opposite the window. I’m not sure if they are popular anywhere else in America, but in this area, Barn Quilts are a thing. So, I feel like I’ll be creating a Barn Quilt to hang there that will tie all the colors of the cabin together, and break up that expanse of house. If you’re reading this and have photos or links to a barn quilt you love, share it with me! I am always looking for ideas!
Whew. I thought I would be able to cover both the inside changes and the outside changes in the same post, but I think the inside needs its own post! Stay tuned for that, I will get it up faster than I did this one. Hopefully you got a little joy out of peeking into our world. I know I love reading about things like this, so maybe you do too. And, if there’s anything you want to share, or ask, or anything, just let me know! I’ll try to help if I can!