The Story

Creating the Perfect Refuge

I LOVE puttering in my yard and garden under the watchful eyes of my kids. My goal is to find a way to to be home. To be a full time dog mom.

When my brother and I moved into this place, it had been abandoned for over year. Everything was in rough shape. The grass/weeds were incredibly overgrown.

However, we saw the possibilities. We culled some trees, allowing the remaining trees to get more sun and water and nutrition.

When we first moved to the property, there was a shell of a home that was a reworked large garage.

With me?

So, concrete slab, 2 areas where they were going to put garage doors, and a couple windows. Our immediate goal was to create a bedroom for our dad. Once that was done, we started on the rest of the house.

Now, our goal with that was to create a museum type room where all our parent’s treasures could be displayed so our dad could see it all from time to time, and maybe even sit out there among the stuff.

And another goal was to finish enough of the house to qualify for a regular mortgage, as we had purchased the place with a land loan that was for 5 years.

Still with me?

It was never our intention that anybody but our dad would live there so all decisions were based on ease of access for an elderly person, so a concrete floor was fine. We stained it and moved on. While at the time, our dad was ambulatory with a wheeled walker, we anticipated he would eventually be in a wheelchair. So a concrete floor was even desirable.

However, after a couple years with us, our dad needed to go to a nursing home. The house sat as an uninhabited museum for a while and we finally decided that it would work for me.

I had planned on building a small place close by the house, on the same property, but it never really got started when we had the idea of my moving into the house.

Now, a concrete floor for me was not desirable. I spent far more time on it than we anticipated our dad being on it. And the dogs were uncomfortable. I covered as much as I could with area rugs, but I immediately started thinking about alternatives.

Additionally, the ‘help’ we had to stain it had seriously overstated their skill level and the floor looked like crap AND was never properly sealed, so within a year or so of my moving into the house, higher traffic areas became degraded and never looked clean… ever…

To say that this was FAR from what I would consider a refuge, is putting it mildly.

A couple years ago, I started thinking about how we (me and the kids) could be more comfortable.

As previously stated, the house was built as a museum, so I had a bedroom and the kitchen. I spent a lot of time outside on a deck. I did all my writing and research on my bed.

I developed some back issues. I did NOT view the house as mine or as comfortable for us.

And then I had the idea to change all that. In 2020, I hired a neighbor to build an addition for us. I designed it to have a lot of windows and be a big open space.

The kids and I love it. We are out there every day for hours and hours.

Recently, I decided to do some work on the main house and take control of some of that.

The house was always a bit dark with little light and dark hard concrete floors.

I wanted to lay a fake wood floor over it. Something in my budget would be very simple. And let’s be honest… not a great quality. But I did find one that I thought was very attractive and would lighten the whole house up and make the furniture look great.

I love it. I should say I love the look, but the quality is sketch. I’ve kept my parent’s furniture and many art items, but it is now an addition to our refuge.

We’ll put a lot of the items for sale. Especially things that are breakable and catch dust… which is a lot of stuff.

But all this to say that building an addition increased our happiness score hugely. And reworking the house adding another huge gain.