Friday, September 6, 2013

Where's Waldo, I mean Johanna?

You might be wondering where the heck I am and why did my blog suddenly stop in July?  Why is my Etsy shop on vacation mode so frequently?  Where is the world is Johanna?  ::wink:wink::  Or not.

In any case, let me fill you in on the details.  My husband and I own a 1930's log cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri as our vacation spot.  We purchased her in 2005 and lovingly named her, Moonlight Cocktail Cottage.

The photo above was taken just two weeks ago.

I have a flickr folder with many Moonlight Cocktail Cottage photos that I've taken over the years.

We've done loads of work to this place.  I need to dig out my external hard drive to show you the before-before pictures and believe me, you wouldn't recognize the place.  The entire 3 lots had dirt so every time it rained, everything turned to mud.  We had stones brought in to cover the lots.  I then created the garden spaces by hand-carrying and laying every single flagstone rock from home in my Honda Element.  

The flagstone rock was actually part of a stone fence from my husband's ranch out in Alma, Kansas where he grew up.  We brought lots of it to our Kansas home and built up around our fish pond.  We had a fire in 2005 because the pump in the pond caught on fire, which burned the deck and started to burn the outside wall of the house, so some of the rock is black from the fire. We never put in another fish pond because that was traumatic enough and I don't want another water pump outside, so the rock was sitting in the back yard awaiting a new project.

Digging up new garden spaces in the Missouri Ozarks is NOT easy.  They call all the rocks dug up, Ozark potatoes, and they couldn't be more correct.  You can't place a spade anywhere in the ground without hitting rock, so this garden is always a work in very-slow progress.

I painted every single paintable wall in the interior.  We had our kitchen somewhat remodeled.  My husband and I repainted the exterior, added a shed and painted that, too.  We also had a new roof installed last year.  Over the course of 8 years, Moonlight Cocktail Cottage has evolved into what it is today and still, it's a work in progress.  I always have projects in my mind to tackle.

You'll notice in the next two pictures just a peek of the cottage next to ours (The first picture is much older since it still has the old white roof, which has since been replaced):

Our property includes three lots, so it's nice and spacious.  In the picture above, there are still two open lots to the right of the white vehicle.  To the left is an open space and then the next door cottage.  When we purchased our place in June of 2005, no one came down to the place next door.  Ever.  As the years ticked by, my husband and I looked longingly next door wishing someone would love on the house.  It NEEDED work and loving hands like our place had gotten.  :)

Three years ago, we looked at the county tax records and found the names of the owners who lived Kansas.  My husband called and left a message inquiring if they'd ever want to sell the place because we would be interested.  We never heard back.

A couple of years ago, a local investor bought the property from the owners who didn't call us back.  He's a great guy and can sell ice to an Eskimo, so it's no surprise.  He then brought in a dumpster and cleaned the place out.  It had been sitting vacant for at least 6 years and I'm sure more than that because no one in the neighborhood can remember the last times the owners were down.  

He did the bare minimum to make it sellable and then sold it to a couple who wanted to downsize their lake house.  They came in and completely rewired everything and put in a 220 amp service as well as redid all the plumbing.  The owner's wife really wanted lake front (we're on the 2nd tier), so they sold it back to the investor and he went ahead and had the interior and exterior painted.  A new closet was built in the back bedroom and then it was put back on the market.

The house is close enough to ours that we hoped no one rowdy would buy it.  If they came down from the city and partied late into the night, it would ruin our peace and quiet.  And, having a place in the Missouri Ozarks, you always run the chance of someone buying it and quickly junking it up.  Our neighborhood doesn't have any rules, so anything can be done.  This means my husband and I still really wanted to buy the house.

This year we refinanced our home in Kansas to get in a much lower rate. So much of the year has been spent readying our home for inspection. We closed on our refi August 9th and both of us breathed a huge sigh of relief.  We were scheduled for a lake vac the 3rd week of August, so we met up with the investor and looked over the cottage next door and decided we were finally in a position to take it on.  We closed on the cottage August 24th.  With this added cottage and lot, we now own nearly an acre of land. Who would have ever thought in my lifetime I would be so incredibly blessed beyond belief! God is always good!


Here are all the before pictures:

The house is 720 square feet and includes a glorious screened-in porch, a main room with a wall-to-wall fireplace and kitchen, there's a back bedroom with a door that leads to the landing and then a full bathroom.

Right away, we placed a few things from our cottage inside this cottage to make it homey.  We also bought a new kitchen light fixture at Menard's, my new favorite hardware store.  My Dad was also down visiting, so he installed the light fixture and it looks GREAT!

I love the views out of the side windows:

This is our kitchen window view!  You'll notice yellow paint on the trees.  That's the Ozarks' way of marking property lines!  ;)

The cottage was built in 1950 so there are just a few vintage touches left; this door knob in the bathroom is one.  Isn't it terrific?

And last but not least is the screened in porch.  It has been a lifelong dream to have a screened porch.

So these are the reasons why I haven't been blogging much, if at all, and why my shop has been on vacation more than not. It will take quite some time to do everything that we plan to this cottage but we hope to have it open by next summer for guests.  I'm going to have to work very hard with my Etsy shop because all of my money earned will go towards the cottage and first on the agenda is to buy a new refrigerator and stove.  :)

But I have one last vacation ahead of me this upcoming week.  The shop will remain open, but shipping of items purchased will occur the week after next.  :)  Meanwhile, I'm going to stop by the hardware store to pick up some Benjamin Moore paint and head on down to the cottage for 4-5 days.

Keep watch!  I'll be blogging about the cottage every step of the way!

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