Monday, August 20, 2007

Next Step: Living off the Fatta the Land

When was the last time I pimped something I've written elsewhere? I thought so! Far too long!

If you're new around these parts, you might not know that last summer, Rusty and I got sick of the insane housing bubble that has held this city in its thrall for the past few years. We may be living in the only place on earth where housing prices and property crime are both rising at EXACTLY THE SAME RATE. So we decided to stay in the shitty (but character-filled! And did I also mention cheap!) house we've been renting for the past ten years. We like it here. Also, we'll never find enough boxes to move all our crap. Some decisions just make themselves.

But we're wilful types. If we're going to compromise, we want to dictate at least some of the terms. And so we decided that, in lieu of spending half a million bucks on a shoddily constructed shoebox with used crack pipes all over the lawn, we'd spend considerably less than that on a chunk of land outside the city and build a little place to get away from our urban cares on weekends and during the summers. And so we did. Sort of. We bought the land, a five-acre parcel with a kickass view of the ocean and mountains, on a nearby island. Now we're working on building a cabin. This is where things get interesting. Did I mention that, when it comes to construction, we're the kind of people who tend to approach home fix-it projects with furrowed brows and a roll of duct tape?

Skills? We have not many of those. But ideas! Oho, the ideas... they flow thick and fast. And don't even get us started on the grandiose overarching philosophies. If we could build a cabin with the speed and confidence with which we construct a manifesto, this thing would have been up months ago, and would already be festooned with ivy. And turrets.

And so, because our motto seems to be, But if we don't blog about it, what's the point of doing it? we started a blog to document both our thinking and the ambling approach we laughingly refer to as "our process". The blog is called The Cabin. This seems like a good, optimistic title. If we use the word "cabin" on the internet, one is bound to appear on the land eventually, right? (Right?) We've been posting sporadically for a while, but lately we've picked up the pace. This, coincidentally, is in keeping with the fact that we seem to actually be moving forward with a design and build plan.

It all comes back to books, I swear.

So, I recently posted a sort-of review of a book called
Cabins and Beach Houses, which has had some influence on our thinking. If, like me, you're into modernism, vintage design books, and recreational property, well, first of all, WHY AREN'T YOU HERE? We have so much to catch up on! I'll make sandwiches! Or if that's not a possibility on such short notice, you may just prefer to read the post.

Also, if you have any practical words of advice, please, forthwith.


tuckova said...

Good luck. And it's not really advice, but an observation from my own cabin experiences: It is better to take a longer time and get what you want than to rush and get less than what you want. The only regrets I have are the decisions that were born from "Oh, I don't CARE, just get it DONE!"

JMC said...

No advice, but I looked at the pictures you have posted on your cabin blog, and the location is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Gazetteer said...


I think we bought the shoebox you all passed up.


Charlie said...

Put down the pen and pick up the hammer. Pitter patter lets get at her.

A Proud Indian said...

Good blog.

Karen said...

You know, there is actually a book by Michael Pollan called A Place of My Own. He is city-dweller building his own cabin in the woods. Well, really its in his backyard. And at this time in his life, he is really not in the city. But the point is, he has lots of ideas but lacks skillz. I read it because I am an armchair planner and I found it quite inspirational. Another book, again armchair planning, on architectural theory (its totally hippy-like and accessible) is A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. The book is chunky but made of up of very short articles that are cross-referenced all over the book. Talks about window placement, cubby holes for kids and stuff. Gets the juices flowing. . . .

I am so excited about your cabin project. Best of luck.