Cottage Life

We’ve lived life in 975 square feet for about four months. I expected to give cottage life a definitive thumbs up or down within the first few weeks, but surprised myself when I couldn’t muster a decision. My husband was decisive early on, but only because he didn’t want to move again. So it’s up to me I guess to tell the truth.

There’s not a level floor-wall-door-surface in all 975 square feet. In past years that would have made me nuts. Maybe it’s age, or acceptance, but I actually coached the workers to hang some of the doors out of level so they appeared level to the eye. We’ve done the same thing to shelves, pictures, mirrors. . . you name it. I hardly notice anymore.

The size of the rooms were an adjustment, but there’s a full stop choke point in the center hallway. It’s bad enough if my husband and I happen to be there at the same time, but add Mr. Boggs to the mix and it’s a total impasse.

I guess we’d both agree it’s the bedroom, or more specifically the bed that was the biggest change. Having spent decades in king quarters, a queen’s bed is just shy of enough, especially when one of us is in the middle of menopause. Of course, we’d be fine if not for Bentley (the dog). There’s not enough muscle in the world to move a dog that doesn’t want to move over – no matter how small he may be.

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Our long-term plan is to add a garage, a guest suite, and a proper driveway. We want to paint the dark wood in the living room, upgrade the refrigerator, and bring over our own furniture, including my piano. Every day I debated whether to trade the baby grand piano for an upright so we’d have room for a dining table, or forego a dining table altogether. It was a brutal decision.

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This was the only room in the cottage that could hold my piano, or a dining table. That’s Bentley in the center hall above, and Mr. Boggs in the picture below.

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There’s lots of things that make this little cottage wonderful. It’s cozy, and full of character. When you settle in for the night, or wake up in the morning, it’s almost cocooning. Cleaning is a breeze instead of a chore, and there’s some amount of time spent every day rocking on the front porch. Folks walk by and stop to say hello. They tell us what a transformation the little place has gone through, or how they grew up with the original owner’s kids. And we won’t forget, it sits beside a native garden. It’s like walking into another world.

Then summer arrived.

Lake Junaluska is a beautiful resort that comes to life in the summer. The lake is at the end of our street where there’s canoeing and kayaking, a 3-mile trail around the lake, a gym, fishing, tennis, swimming pool, shuffle board, mini-golf, ice cream stand, coffee shop, a playground for the kids, and a labyrinth for contemplation. Once a week there’s a community bonfire, an outdoor movie, and concerts.

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It’s a pretty nice place to go kayaking.
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A view from the treadmill inside the gym.

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The 4th of July parade shut down Lake Shore Drive followed by a picnic for just $5, and fireworks after dark. There’s half a dozen gardens throughout the resort with guided tours every Tuesday. Bands played in front of the gardens on the 3rd of July tours. Forty-nine people toured the native garden next door to our cottage that day.

I went back to our larger home one morning to water the plants. It was quiet and peaceful. The neighbors are separated by nearly an acre of land. There’s no pending construction, no further renovations, all the furniture is in its rightful place. There’s room for my piano, and a dining table.

I realized I couldn’t bear the thought of living through the construction, and the little cottage couldn’t be perfect without it. I wasn’t sure about the crowds, or whether the entire neighborhood would hear me play the piano, and every wrong note that might ensue.

We moved back home a couple of weeks ago.

I wrote in a previous post that this little cottage has tormented me every day since we met. The torment continues. My husband was ready to live out his days there, “snug as a bug” as he would say. In the end, I was the one that panicked.

When we were settled back comfortably in our larger home, he (once again) declared he would never move again.

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The cottage. That’s Dudley on the porch and Bentley is barely visible at the far left. There were always plants on the porch waiting to be planted, but the rocking chairs were our favorite pastime.

4 thoughts on “Cottage Life

  1. Marcia!!!!! Talk about a surprise ending! I was shocked, you did a good job detailing the events in a way that kept me unsuspecting. Thanks for sharing. I bet you appreciate the ‘old’ home all the more, for what you have been through. So now will you air B&B it? It’s darling!

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    1. We were surprised too. We came home the same day we made the decision, so it all happened kind of fast. Yes, we will put the cottage on the vacation rental circuit and make the improvements over time. It’s been good to be home, and the dogs seem happy to be back as well.

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