Is is true? Am I dreaming? Pinch me!

Growth and change.

Those two words more than any others have defined the past twelve years of my life. Make that thirty years. I was in my forties when I began to consciously focus on figuring out who I was and what I wanted.

I bungled it big time at first.

Because, at forty, I had deeply ingrained beliefs that worked against me. Identifying those subconscious dictators and changing the stories took a very long time.

Growth and change will always be my modus operandi, and the most recent development in that neverending saga happened on Valentine’s Day. I moved into my new home.

Gwen, W, and I loaded my earthly belongings into the back of the ‘Gator’ and bumped through the trees, a distance of about half a city block, from their house to mine. In moments, we had created an insignificant little pile of stuff on the floor just inside my door. I was home.

The house was far from finished but I knew I’d get more accomplished faster if I was living with the inconveniences day after day. Cabinet doors were painted but not hung. I didn’t have countertops. There was no cooktop or oven. I did have a microwave, a refrigerator, a Mr. Coffee, and massive motivation to get the rest done!

There were hurdles.

The countertop I ordered through Home Depot arrived broken in half. I reordered. Again it arrived, in their words, damanged beyond use. Three times I waited for a whole one to come. The third also arrived in pieces. I gave up and bought an unfinished birch butcher block slab. After immersing myself in DIY videos, I sanded, sealed, stained, and polyurethaned it hoping my inexperience wouldn’t be too obvious.

Cabinet doors went on fairly easily. The handles didn’t! I measured, leveled, drilled, and agonized. In the end, they looked great. Nobody ever needs to know where wood putty and paint mask the mistakes.

Then, the stove arrived. Don’t get me started! It was a brand new Kitchenaid range and I nearly burned the house down trying to convert it from natural gas to LP. It took Shanna, a brilliant technician from S & D Appliance in Brainerd, to whip it into working order.

………

Today, as I sit at my dining island writing this, every nook and cranny has a tale to tell. I know this house from the outside in. My sweat and blood stain its 2 x 4s. Choice expletives still echo from the rafters, reminding me that demoralizing setbacks are momentary and dogged determination yields bounteous rewards.

When there were things I couldn’t do myself (and there were many) Gwen and W came with the tools and expertise to make it happen. They have at least as much time, energy, and frustration invested in my home as I have. They remain an essential, much loved, and deeply appreciated part of my new life.

I wish I could give you an in-person tour of my sanctuary. But I’m here and you, my friends, are scattered all over the world. So photos will have to suffice for now. Here is my tiny home with industrial farmhouse decor at Granny’s Landing on the shores of Fantasy Bay.

Please, come in…

To the right of the front door, a black hall tree serves as a place to hang guests’ coats, with additional storage below the seat. Between that and the sofa is a forced-air furnace that keeps me toasty and oh so happy these cold, winter days.

My walls, ceilings, and draperies are white. The floor is weathered gray. A monster sofa with sleeper bed tucked inside is the color of oatmeal. That monochromatic palette gives me the opportunity to accent with bright colors. I love the handmade braided rug from India and the two throw pillows from Mexico. The black mining cart coffee table and the wire ceiling fan lend themselves to an industrial theme. The bamboo runner on the dining island is from Bali, as is the bowl with batik wooden balls on the chest. The hand-embroidered wool runner was my very first purchase in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I bought it at the Tuesday Market from the woman who made it. I treasure these collected bits and pieces.

Continuing around the room, we arrive at the kitchen. It’s a compact space adequate for my needs. I wanted a counter-height dining table and this set checked all the boxes. I chose the rich, mahogany stain for the cabinet countertops to mimic the dark wooden surface of the dining island.

The refrigerator cubby accommodates a rolling metal shelf unit for additional storage. Part of the yet-to-be-completed task list is a cabinet over the refrigerator. Patience! Good things come to those who wait I’m told. And note the container suspended from the wire rack. That’s a space-saving hanging trash can I found on the Temu shopping website. Hiding under the shelves is a bucket for compost. My recyclables go into separate bags stashed out of sight.

As we turn the corner, a magnificent, 7-foot handmade oak chest holds the TV, all my clothing, and miscellaneous necessities like drawing tablets, magic markers, paint, glue, you know…stuff. The chest was made by the father of a dear friend and has been sitting, abandoned, in Gwen and W’s unheated storage barn for ten or more years. It’s impeccably made. Nancy’s father was a gifted craftsman, and this chest withstood freezing and thawing, freezing and thawing over and over again to emerge in my home, unscathed.

Let’s swing momentarily past the bathroom door to the red chest. I found it on Facebook Marketplace for $25. It was a TV cabinet but now it holds my winter jackets, mittens, hats, a yoga mat, and a sewing machine. Anywhere my eyes come to rest, there are gifts from friends and family and tokens of remembrance from travels.

Everything delights me.

At the onset, I promised myself I’d have nothing in my home that made me cringe. At first, the glaring proof of my mudding, taping, and sheetrocking ineptitude embarrassed me. Now when people say, “You could cover that up with texture…” I say, “That IS texture.” It gets a laugh. And now, it feels intentional, part of the magic of a derelict hunting shack transformed but still hinting at what it once was.

Let’s proceed through the bathroom door…

This room is just plain fun. All of my plumbing drains live under the shower. That required some wild creativity. Fortunately, the ceilings in this tiny house are 8 1/2 feet high – not the standard 8 feet – so we had an extra 6 inches to work with. The shower tower soars a lofty 20 inches off the floor. To access it, I needed a large, sturdy platform and steps.

The black metal and wood staircase slides under the platform when not in use. I made the cushion and the shade from a quilt set purchased from Ophelia and Company through the Wayfair website. The two throw pillows came with it!

I’m equally thrilled and dumbfounded by the ease of shopping online. The towel bars, TP holder, and the hangers supporting the shade, are industrial pipes. A thin, black metal frame around the mirror and black wire cages for the old-fashioned exposed light bulbs add to the edgy-ness that is softened by the Parisian print fabrics. The Eiffel Tower is the epitome of industry. A wrought iron lattice structure on the Champ de Mars, “…it was the symbol of technological prowess at the end of the 19th Century…a defining moment of the industrial era.” (https://www.toureiffel.paris).

There is a caveat to shopping online, however. 99.9999% of the time the products require assembly.

Gwen helped me with the sliding barn door for the bathroom and the island table and stools.

When the hall tree came in boxes weighing more than we could lift together, we attacked that project with the confidence borne of ignorance and two successful prequels. Gwen can figure anything out. Really. But anyone watching us fight with that massive cabinet would have doubted it would ever hold together. W offered his help and we nearly bit his head off. He disappeared for the rest of the afternoon. As you can see from the photos, we did it. But no more. Neither of us wants to tackle anything like that again. Ever.

In the meantime, I was remembering how to sew.

The bathroom accessories were a great way to engage with the machine and practice. Gwen said it was like riding a bike – you never forget. Ummm, well, sort of. I was super happy that the instruction booklet was included.

When I first moved into the house, I tiptoed around feeling light-headed and giddy in the space, not quite believing it was my home, wondering what to do now that the major jobs were done. I didn’t know how I fit…where would I sit to write? Which side of the sink would hold dirty dishes? How many people could I comfortably entertain? I felt guilty curling up on my luxurious couch with a book. Surely there must be something I should be doing…

Those feelings weren’t surprising after ten months of constant, often back-breaking labor.

One morning about a week ago, I woke up grounded. Since then I’ve been my old self, journaling, yoga-ing, meditating, drawing, and daydreaming. Ah, yes. Daydreaming. Not of new vistas or grand schemes. I’m dreaming of a simple life in this community of old friends. Of planting and harvesting. Of being present with the seasons. Of contemplating death, not in a morbid sense, but with curiousity, aware that it awaits, and knowing that when it comes I’ll be ready. I have lived…I am living…fully and joyfully!

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lindaharris1948
    Mar 30, 2023 @ 10:07:33

    Beautiful new home! Enjoy every relaxing moment!

    Linda

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. suejeanko
    Mar 30, 2023 @ 10:26:38

    Congratulations! Love those big windows!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. stevecastley
    Mar 30, 2023 @ 12:06:40

    Loved this – the journey- the life to come. Enjoy. I return to Bali and my loves in 10 days. The 2 years has flown. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. rickerw
    Mar 30, 2023 @ 19:10:54

    Very happy for you and totally respect your search for self knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. S. Lyon
    Mar 30, 2023 @ 19:14:15

    You’re in your lovely new home. Welcome and well done! It’s cozy and beautiful. The windows will reward and affirm you daily!! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Marlys Gall
    Mar 30, 2023 @ 22:20:22

    looks wonderful! definitely not Bali but so happy youre loving your new chapter in life!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Mar 31, 2023 @ 07:20:51

      You’re so right…definitely NOT Bali. Two years of isolated lockdown there gave me a different perspective. It became very clear that my time in Indonesia, as precious and healing as it was, had come to a close.

      Like

      Reply

  7. Diane Struble
    Mar 31, 2023 @ 00:29:12

    It is lovely, but then, I was always sure that it would be. Congratulations to the building team. Superb job.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. Gail Brown
    Mar 31, 2023 @ 04:12:26

    It looks absolutely wonderful, Sherry. Congratulations – to the three of you!🤣. Just out of curiosity, do you have a bedroom or use the sofa bed in the main living area? You are truly an inspiration. Enjoy your beautiful new home.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. Gail Brown
    May 26, 2023 @ 17:37:26

    Hi Sherry,
    We have last night arrived home from a holiday in Sri Lanka (fantastic!) and I am lying in bed with the electric blanket on, contemplating getting up and unpacking😫.
    I have just re-read your piece about being back home and it really resonates.
    Home is wonderful and you sound so happy!
    Enjoy it🙏🙏
    Love, Gail

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      May 27, 2023 @ 06:52:49

      Home always feels amazing after you’ve been away. I’m glad you enjoyed Sri Lanka. Are you unpacked? It must be late fall where you are in the southern hemisphere judging from your need of the electric blanket! We’re just warming up and looking forward to summer.

      Like

      Reply

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