I *Heart* My Architects

2:33 PM Katy 12 Comments

I finally got to sit down with the guys who are drawing my house, and what a difference that makes. I've spent most of my time since they sent me the concepts flipping out over money.

But I had SUCH AN AWESOME TIME! I totally wasted like 4 hours of their Saturday, we talked about anything and everything (unrelated to the house plans) and I showed them pictures of what I'm trying to do. The vintage sink, the retro refrigerator, the surfboard shower, HVAC vs. mini-split, everything. Since the cottage has to be extremely tall and skinny, we were calling it the "Rocket", and I came up with this paint scheme:

muhahahahaa! I don't know if they took me seriously on that part, we'll see.

Do you worry sometimes that you're not worthy of other people's time? I do. I'm a DIYer trying to build a tiny cottage with my tax returns. Normally it feels like an adventure, but sometimes it makes me feel silly. That hit me when I went to the architect's website and looked at his available house plans. Whoa.

I said: "You design very nice mansions - thank you for taking the time to design my little rocket cottage"

he said "I design 'mansions' while I sleep. This might be my only chance to design a rocket pad cottage. I wouldn't miss it for the world."  {very diplomatic of him, ha}

So I feel a little better. Don't you?


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Single Parenting & A Brief Display of My Total Fickleness

8:42 AM Katy 6 Comments

Madeline @ Mutant Supermodel is posting a series on single parents. She asked me if I'd contribute my story, including "3 things I've learned since becoming a single parent". 

So if you want to read my (brief) story and my personal discoveries on this crappy road, you can find that HERE. With a picture too, woo hoo

Also, I feel compelled to mention that my viewpoint may be different from others, because I don't come from a place of striving to make everyone view my family as "just as whole" as the 2-parent homes. I am not insulted if you think we are handicapped. Because we are.

I believe God can overcome any handicap, however. Someday when my sons fall in love, I want those women to be totally blessed by it. Don't you? If you're raising a little girl, don't you want her to marry a man who is wise, mature, and full of love for others?
I think we all want that for our daughters and sons.

On the good days I know that it's all going to be okay & I feel hopeful. On the really hard days I've cried for the heartache my kids have had to endure at such a young age and I've been angry and told God that I am





(I mean after the beach house is done, 'kay?)


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A Low Country Playhouse

10:50 AM Katy 8 Comments

This blog has a secondary theme: a showcase of all of my dad's work.

This is the playhouse he built for all (6) grandkids...

I learn from the best. :)


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The Beach-Shack-Turned-Fancy-House Plans: Decisions!

8:41 AM Katy 8 Comments

I scrutinized different house plans based on using my footprint the most efficiently, and what would cost the least amount of cash. Originally I wanted to use a house plan from Tumbleweed. I had several reasons for this, including:
#1. It was one of the few house plans I could find that was tiny enough (sq footage)
#2. The footprints were small enough. (This is NOT the same thing as tiny sq footage! This is an important distinction & really constrained my project big time.)
#3. The architecture is super cute
#4. The plans were cheap and I wanted to avoid having to hire an architect.

Now here are the reasons why this did not work out:

#1. The plans call for the ceiling height on the second floor to be too low. Building codes don't allow for this in my location. So the plans need to be altered anyway. Plus the building department requires drainage plans and engineering calculations to be submitted with the house plans. Plus FEMA requires that I build on a very high and deep foundation in this area.
#3. The floor plans are actually not the best use of space in my situation, since I need the staircase to take up less space, I need to cram 2 toilets into the house, and I am not a fan of being able to brush my teeth over the sink while sitting on the toilet.

So I was considering that Cottage Company in North Carolina, since they had floor plans that would work better, and they could deliver it to my coastal location.

This is their Slant model, which is what I based my original cost estimates on. (Plus the FEMA foundation)

They seem like a friendly, awesome group of guys and I would love to have gone that route. I can't say enough about them - if you live in North Carolina and want a tiny house, give them a call! But once we tried to work out all of the logistics of pulling permits with out-of-state companies & this very uncooperative building department, things started to look bleak.

So I had to hire an architect, design the house to fit my needs, and hire a local contractor to put up the shell. There's simply no way around it this time.

I know, I know. From the way that I had a flipping meltdown on my blog over this, you'd think he designed the palace of Versailles instead of the shack I asked for. It wasn't a big exaggeration in my eyes though. This is still a tiny house, but it is much more expensive than the Compact Cottage company's design.

And then he sent me this second option, which is even more expensive:

and although it is more square footage and even more fabulous, I will not be doing it. I want to build a house before the next century, and this one is a bridge too far.

Anyway. This is my long-winded explanation of how I got to this point. My meeting with the architect is this weekend, so hopefully I will have finished house plans to share very soon!


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Le Potager, The Dangling Watermelon, and Possible Mass Poisoning

7:04 AM Katy 12 Comments

I spend every day zooming from one obsession to the other, with no stops in between or "breaks", except for when the engineering manager's wife sends a cake to work for someone's birthday. Then I stop thinking for the 3 seconds it takes for me to inhale cake.

This week somehow I ended up obsessively thinking about potager gardens and free range chickens. Google "potager" if you don't know what that is. My daughter and I had to dig out the Crooked Garden from the 3 inches of mud that have accumulated due to our 50,000 rainstorms this summer.

Let me tell you how evil landscape fabric is. Stupid stupid. I wish I had not bothered with this stuff, all the mud washed underneath it, and then we couldn't get the door open or closed. Finally i used my box cutter and tore it all out.
 So my next bright idea was to buy some bags of pea gravel and make this less of a mud pit and more of a fancy garden. lolz

which is fine and dandy, except this crap is expensive (ok it's $3.48 per bag) so we only took it this far for now:

Then I got this wild hair that we should try to make this whole backyard into a potager garden! Mostly because the backyard is a mudpit so I would have to buy sod, and neither sod nor mowing more grass really appeals to me right now. Because beach house.

Not because we actually got much produce from our garden. (Do 12 strawberries and a quart of cherry tomatoes count? See how all the flowers in those hanging plants died? We're pretty good at this gardening crap. At least we hatched some butterflies from the parsley plant. )

Behold! The first box in our potager garden! Did you notice that I just dragged some leftover deckboards out from under the deck and threw this together? That it's treated wood and I totally forgot about that in my potager fever?

So I am scared to plant anything. Will it poison us all if we eat stuff grown in there? We've got some carrot seedlings and we ordered German Chamomile seeds, because me and my daughter started feverishly googling medicinal herbs and decided we needed some of that too. (That decision took only 10 minutes and a Visa. Online shopping WOOT!)

And now. The dangling watermelon. It just didn't get any bigger so we picked it, let it sit on the counter for a week, and then decided to crack it open.
It was delicious!!

(I need a nap.)


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Dawn's Built-Ins: Pocket Doors or Not?

8:59 AM Katy 9 Comments

We started this project without a decision on what kind of doors (if any) would cover the TV.
 The base cabinets are installed, so last weekend I built the main cabinet box that will house the TV and halfway through I realized: doh!  I can't finish this until we decide on pocket doors!
This was my original inspiration picture. You see how those giant doors are on regular hinges? Dawn and I knew this wasn't the way to go, because imagine those things swung open and hanging in the middle of a traffic pattern in the living room. It eats up a lot of real estate and we were trying to FREE UP floor space in here.
So originally I was thinking pocket doors:
But then I realized how much space they eat up inside the cabinet! And while Dawn's TV will fit in there no problem, I worried that I was making the cabinet a little too tight. I had already set the overall width of that bookcase/cabinet box at the beginning.
Plus: Dawn and I talked about how much these pocket hinge systems cost. It would set us back another month just for the darn hinges.
Then I said "let's build bifold doors!" which doesn't sound very exciting, but when they are used on furniture like this:

This seems like the perfect, cheaper solution right?

Nevermind that I've never built closet doors before, I'm sure we can do this. *fingers crossed*

Do any of you have doors like this covering your TV? Is it just as convenient as pocket doors?


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Hatching Butterflies

10:23 AM Katy 3 Comments

This was so unexpected:
 When I built the kids' garden, I did briefly muse that it would make an excellent butterfly enclosure. Then I promptly forgot all about that and moved on to building cabinets. It turns out that the herbs we planted (dill and parsley) are very yummy to Swallowtail butterflies.

My daughter found the caterpillars all over our (pathetic looking) parsely plant. We googled this like crazy and figured out what to do. This is an empty milk jug that I filled with water. Then I cut a strawberry carton in half, cut a hole in the middle of it and slid it over the jug opening.
 Then we crammed a couple sticks and a whole bunch of parsely into the top, hopefully so the parsely will stay fresh longer. (I should have flipped that lid upside down so the edges were facing up.)
 We only have 4 caterpillars left. I think the rest died from the shock of being handled. At least that's what I would do if I were one of them!

 Then they spun their cocoons and we moved the stick into a butterfly cage.
In the end only two of them hatched, but they were gorgeous!

I'm not sure what the overall lesson is: most of us are meant to be bird food, but the lucky few get to be gorgeous and fly?

Okay, I'm soooo negative. ;)


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