The Start of the Ultimate Before and After

One of my big credos on design work is never to pre-judge anything.  When someone calls me to do work, I never think before hand about the type of job it will be.  You simply cannot do that.  If you do, you will build something wonderful up in your head only to be disappointed; or the opposite will happen when you expect and prepare yourself for the worst, and it becomes a fantastic project.   Today, I broke my rule.

Last week, a client called to ask if I would assist her remodel a “cabin” on her property.  I have known her for years.  She has a lovely home in a picturesque setting by a creek in the middle of 1000’s of acres of farmland.  So romantic it is to drive through and enjoy the views from the road approaching her house.  When she said it was in desperate need of repair, I totally did not believe her.  “There is no way she would own something that was so bad”, I said to myself.  Yesterday, there was a fax in my office with the following inscription, “Wear boots.  It is muddy.”  So I thought, rainy season in East Tennessee, no big deal.  A few puddles never hurt anyone, but prepared I came none the less.

Today, when I rolled up on the “cabin” I was in shock.  It was totally derelect.  Unoccupied for 25 years.  There is now a hole in the kitchen floor where I fell through while taking measurements.  When my car was safely parked….across the road and in another driveway, I met the client.  You needed a tractor to navigate the yard, not a BMW.   She was laughing at my awe that she really was telling me the truth about the condition of the place.  Hysterical with laughter described me.  Attached below are some photographs of the place.  One shows the outside, another the kitchen, including the hole created by moi. 

I typically would not share this much information on the front end of a project, but there is enough completed work in the portfolio section of my website to illustrate my capabilities.  So, here it goes.  You can follow this project through to the completion when her two sons move in for the summer.  The plan is just now in the formative stages, but it will involve a new roof, new logs to replace any rotten ones, a new bathroom addition, enclosing a porch for a sunroom, complete renovation of the kitchen, complete gutting of the interior, and I am sure the list will grow as we proceed.  Work is to start on December 7, so stay tuned.  And, if you are wondering, “why save this dump?” It has sentimental attachment.  Her husband grew up there.  Her sister in law loves it.  There are recipes used by her mother-in-law hand written on the inside of the kitchen cabinet doors.  I am honored to be part of a love affair with a house that will cause someone to be so moved to restore something they love so much; and thankful for their faith in my guidance. 

Front view.  Can anyone say Green Acres?

Front view. Can anyone say Green Acres?

That fabulous kitchen!  Note the large hole on the left side of the cabinets

That fabulous kitchen! Note the large hole on the left side of the cabinets

Those charming recipe doors.  My heart melted.

Those charming recipe doors. My heart melted.