The biggest lesson we’ve learned while upgrading our little cabin (which we’ve christened The Burrow after the Weasley’s wonky yet magical abode) is to be flexible in our expectations. We always start with a big picture but the end never ends up looking like what we had originally envisioned. Every step of the way needs to be evaluated because something new pops up that we weren’t anticipating – the slanted floor, stairs that are in a really awkward spot, clearance for the new little woodstove, etc. So we’ve learned that after every step we complete, we need to look with fresh eyes – not with the “big picture” – and decide what works and what still needs to change.
This is because of one very simple reason. This cabin has already been lived in and loved. It already has some wobbles and its character is in those wobbles. We might have an idea of what we want but The Burrow might tell us otherwise. So our cabin will never end up in a magazine or with accolades of any sort. But that’s ok. Because in the end it doesn’t need to be perfect for anyone else. It just needs to be perfect for us.
It’s pretty exciting at our tiny cabin these days. It’s been a lot of work and not very restful but I think we’ve finally reached a point where we can slow down and just enjoy being out “at the cabin” for a while.
In the last post, I described how we had supported the ceiling and removed a wall. We had this plan of removing all the walls and creating one large room. So the next step was to remove the first wall between two of the rooms (the wall between what we called The Third Room and The Bunk Room).
I banished the boys to the cabin the next weekend. (I was swamped with work and I needed to get things done at the house.) They decided they would get started on the next demo and so, down came the next wall.
The following weekend, we went out again. After clearing out all the debris and getting rid of the last few studs from the wall-that-was-no-longer, we stood in the middle of our bigger room and re-evaluated.
There’s a lot of what-if’s and a lot of visualizing happening every step of the way. For example, we have this massive bunk bed that is so heavy and sturdy that it must have been constructed inside the little room that it was in (you can see it in the above photos but also in the post about redecorating The Bunk Room). Soldier Boy was sure that we’d have to take it apart and remove it in order to have enough space for the stove. I agreed but I was sad because it is an incredibly sturdy bed, it sleeps 3 (a double on the bottom, a twin on the top) and bunk beds are a quintessential part of any cottage.
But sitting on the bed, taking a break , all the question marks we had were answered. There was no need to remove any more walls or to get rid of the bunk bed. If we rotated the bunk bed to sit along the “hallway” wall, it became an open-concept room with enough clearance to put the woodstove in the far corner. If we leave the last room as it is (instead of joining it with the bigger room), we can use it as a guest room in the summer and for wood and cold storage in the winter (because it’s not insulated). The bunk bed sleeps three so if we decide to come up in winter with the boy ora guest, they can sleep in the top bunk. There’s also enough room for the dog beds. In winter, we can put down a thick carpet to help insulate as well. There’s even enough room to put a little sitting area in one corner so we can retire early to the warmth of the Big Room instead of relying on the cook stove during cold nights and mornings.
With this open concept, we can now invite friends up in the winter. Once the wood-stove is installed (once the floor has been leveled), we can have space for three on the bunk and another on a single mattress (perhaps a fold-out chair type of bed) along the wall and we can all stay toasty warm.
Not only has that design question been figured out, we were able to finally finish the new window we put in several weeks ago. We had put that on hold when we discovered a bird’s nest above it and we didn’t want to disturb them.
Then it never stopped raining.
FINALLY we had two days with only a little rain and I was able to stain and caulk the new window. I think my least favourite job in all of this reno business is caulking. It seems like such an easy job but no. It so easily looks like total crap. Oh well. It’s clear so you shouldn’t be able to notice it too much.
Because they removed the skylight, it’s quite a bit darker now. But I feel so much more relaxed knowing that with the record rainfall this year, anything we upgrade in our wee cabin is going to stay dry.
So now, I leave the cabin in the hands of Soldier Boy as I travel to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago for a month and then volunteer at a dog rescue for a week. Soldier Boy has his list of jobs that he will putter away at during the summer weekends. If you’d like to follow my walking adventure, you can find me on Instagram, Twitter and on my Facebook page.
Have a great summer!