Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Renovate Fox Ridge: Revisiting a project from my past!

You know the saying, "Why you gotta bring up old s%#t?" Well-- maybe you're not familiar, but I'm definitely bringing up something from my past! Here's the backstory...

Almost eight-years-ago to the day, I was just putting the finishing touches on my final project in college, the gut-renovation of a vintage trailer gone-to-seed. The trailer originally belonged to John's parents, but after many years of love and travel, it had been retired to a rarely visited corner of their property in upstate New York. When I first visited their house there, John and I had only been dating for a year or so, but I fell in love with the trailer and somehow convinced John's mom and my school advisors that renovating this trailer would be the perfect "hands-on" addition to my architectural studies. (Evidently, if architecture and interior design didn't pan out, I would also have made an excellent con-man.)

So I chipped away at that project, finished in record time with the help of numerous friends and family members, graduated from Hampshire College, managed to get it featured in The Boston Globe (again with the con-man?) and then parked the trailer back on John's parents' property, with the idea that it could now be used as a guest house.

Fast-forward EIGHT YEARS, and the trailer was lookin' a little woe-begone again. John's parents were not to be blamed... No reasonable person (including me) could be convinced to sleep in the little metal space-ship, however charming, sans toilet/avec mice, when there was a perfectly nice HOUSE to sleep in right next door. Then, when things couldn't get much worse (the mice had re-established a firm strong-hold), a vengeful branch cracked a hole in the roof and things were looking BLEAK for the little-trailer-that-could. Oy.

Fast-forward FURTHER-- to last weekend... John and I are having a ludicrous number of people up to Fox Ridge next weekend, to celebrate a friend's birthday (Yay Mary!) and were trying to figure out how exactly we were going to accommodate all of those people. Suddenly I thought, "What about the trailer?!" Granted, it was a little mouse-infested, the vinyl floor I laid eight years ago was peeling up in every direction, and the hole in the roof had been rather unceremoniously patched with spray-foam-sealant, but all in all, it was totally salvageable. John looked at me like I was crazy. John's mom looked at me like I was crazy.

And then, like a crazy person, I lured a local farmer into towing it onto our lawn, and got cracking! : )

The whole experience was a blast actually (except for vermin and bugs, which obviously weren't...), revisiting a project I had originally completed when I was just a bright-eyed youth (21!). As we were working away at making everything tidy and habitable again, I was truly astounded by the amount of work I had done initially.

I laid a ply-wood sub floor! I replaced wood wall panelling! Mummy made cushion covers and curtains! I stained and sealed the wood wall panelling! John's mom and I ousted the mice! I installed vinyl flooring and removed the old kitchenette! I melted plexi-glass to replace a missing light-fixture cover! Who was that person??? I am so impressed with myself, eight years late. I was so much cooler than I am now. : ) 

Reminiscing aside... We ended up replacing the vinyl flooring with fabulous black-and-white checkerboard flooring ($45.00 @ Lowe's for an 8' X 12' roll!), washing all of the cushion covers and curtains, dragging an abandoned dresser down from the barn and giving that a once over ($34.00 for 2 cans of spray paint and six- jazzy brass knobs!), adding my abundant collection of throw pillows, and lickity-split, in exchange for $79.00 and a day of work, we had ourselves a guest house!

Yee-Hah! Let the festivities begin! 

A couple of additional notes: 
1.) I will try to take some day-photos this weekend, so you can get a better view of things in our new guest house... Sorry the photos above are a little dim. It is a trailer after all, so give us a little lee-way. 
2.) Rumor has it there is going to be a ginger-bread-house-building competition at Fox Ridge this weekend, so check back to see our creative minds at work. Or trying... 
3.) There are lots of other little projects we've completed in Brooklyn, so hopefully I'll have the wherewithal to get those additions posted this week too. Whew! We are beee-zzzeeee! 

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