Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Inspired Chaos is…
A Smelly, Muddy Dog, Laughter Flowing with the River and a Tiny House Becoming a Home…
A few months back, I shared that I purchased my first home – a tiny cottage by the Cacapon River. Several folks have asked for some updates since my first blog (check that one out for more "before" photos!) The moment I saw the house, I knew it had to be mine. What I didn’t know at the time was what a gift it would become – a peaceful place of solitude in a world full of confusion.
I knew going into the purchase that the house would need some work. I knew I would have an endless list of things I’d want to add/change to make it mine. I also knew it would be a gathering place for friends and family to find our way back to each other; somewhere we could share moments together instead of just “following” each other on social media.
Percy Renovations (Dustin Percy), our go-to general contractor and team, replaced the roof with new shingles (that took me 30 minutes to pick out) called “Williamsburg Slate,” put a metal roof over the screened porch and added gutters to direct rainwater. After taking a careful look at the screened porch (my favorite part of the property), Dustin found that the support beams were rotting (as well as most of the wood) making it unsafe, so he replaced the entire porch. His crew patched the drywall and ceilings, and we painted the bedrooms and bathroom brighter colors. Blue Flame Propane took out the old wood stove that was a little big for the space and installed a sweet enamel propane stove in case the power goes out... and because I LOVE the ambiance of fire flames! We had to have nine trees cut down to protect the structure (OMG, I’m SO glad we went ahead and did that with all of these storms!). “Uncle Greg” hung shelves in the kitchen that I’m going to paint and helped clean up the dropped trees from the yard.
Once all the “musts” were finished, the fun stuff could start. Friends gifted me with the perfect pieces; things that remind me of them as I continue to make the cottage more mine. Patti and Leslie parted with my favorite piece of theirs, an antique teal jelly cabinet that now houses my Great-Grandma Violet’s tiny pitcher/vase collection. Tom and Johnny gave me a futon chair so I’d have another place for friends to crash, and my friend Jan picked out the perfect funky reading chair. My friend Nancy gave me some of her antique dining chairs that are the perfect size for the eat-in kitchen, and I’m working on staining other antique chairs to join them. My mama completed my Fiestaware collection so I would have a full colorful set to feed all the company I plan to host and gave me the rest of my furniture. On top of all of that she helped me put together the new stuff without even looking at the directions!
I’ve hung some of my favorite watercolors, added some family photographs and things that make me smile – because that’s what a home, a retreat, should do. It shouldn’t be what anyone else wants – not what will get the most Insta likes or people swooning – it should be what fills your heart with peace and contentment.
There’s a whole lot left that I want (and will need) to do. I’ve picked out the perfect paint color to brighten up the outside and am dying for an outdoor shower. The gardens could use a little TLC and I’m leaning toward removing the old outhouse. I’ve got boxes of artwork and photos I’m working on switching out for others and I’m hoping to paint the plywood ceilings in the living/dining space to create more light.
Fern thinks I bought this house just for her. She believes the river is the best thing on the whole planet and dives underwater “fishing” for rocks. She usually smells like the river and makes me laugh so hard that sometimes my stomach hurts. Family has used the cottage as a refuge during crazy Covid times and to escape their busy towns/cities. Friends have used it to “disconnect” from the outside world and to reconnect to each other.
The BS Brewing craft beers in the fridge are always cold, the campfire is usually smoking and the s’mores are perfectly toasted. The laughter echoes in the valley between the mountain and river, and the realization of what really matters in life is never more crystal clear.
The wood from the screened porch fell apart in our hands, the roof grew a variety of mosses and had a bullet hole that was shot from the inside (don't even ask).
The porch was totally removed, the roof repaired with my new shingles, and the screened porch was rebuilt!
"Oh hey, cutie. Where you been hiding?"
Life is better on the porch.
Yay! You're here!
My Happiest Place
Shelves and brackets are being painted/stained next. Should I paint the kitchen cabinets? What do you guys think?
A Desk for Sketching, Propane Stove for Ambiance (and Heat) and my Fave Jelly Cabinet
Bedroom # 1
A Brighter Bathroom
Bedroom # 2
And there it is. 575 Square Feet - A Sweet Tiny Retreat and Lots of BIG Love and Laughter.