I have just spent far too much time reading
so all I can do is join in – what an inspired idea AnNicole!
I had moved very reluctantly from England to California (am I losing you already?) and hated renting. Demolition and rebuilding has been a big part of my life since my husband gave me a sledgehammer as a gift when we bought our first house, years ago.
So I started looking, here where houses are made of particleboard and seemed to me as insubstantial and individual as marshmallows – the endless granite kitchens only emphasised that! I imagined post-Apocolypse hillsides littered only with slabs of polished stone…
Marin is expensive, but one evening I found an affordable listing on www.bareis.com, with a photo of a dirty blue fence and termite-eaten entrance – not a hint it was on the water, but I vaguely recognised the area. We drove over and checked it out, peering through the fence, and viewed it the next day.
Entrance four feet away from the road, leading straight into the living room – what that did to my British sense of privacy! Obvious termite damage in the porch. The third bedroom was accessed through the laundry, which really made our son feel cherished. Grubby condo carpet, awful greasy kitchen, hideous, rotting bathroom, popcorn ceilings, fake Masonite boarding in odd places – but the setting! And the views – from a deck only four foot wide…
The upside was that no-one else wanted it. So we haggled, and we won.
My sledgehammer has been busy, and so have we. Most of all I love this neighbourhood, a point surrounded by water, with a funky little enclave of old duck-hunting shacks (that’s us!) as its starting point.
The whole focus of the house is the water, and it prompted me to learn about nautical flags, then I started to sew them, in linen because I am a linen freak – love the texture, the way it blows in the breeze, its strength and provenance. Even my teatowels are monogrammed linen! I made curtains, pillows, then bedlinens, other people wanted them too and suddenly my business was born – www.roughlinen.com and www.coastal-cushions.com. All from falling in love with a house!
http://www.completely-coastal.com/2010/04/artisans-driftwood-home.html links to Maya’s lovely article on my cabin, so see the photos there.