Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 11)

The bed alcove upstairs.

This update is three and a half months late. Not much has occurred since this visit at the very end of October, because we’ve been on hold waiting for the septic system to be installed. And the reason for this delay was because of a major communication hiccup between contractors. The electrical trench and water pipe were installed right through the area where the septic field was suppose to be. So we all got together and discussed the pros and cons of viable placement options. Meaning… Once we agreed on the new location, new plans had to be redrawn and then permitted. Then the holidays happened, folks got sick, and the weather has been working against us. Long story short, three point five months later, the septic system has now been installed, but we’re waiting on the electrician to provide an electrical outlet in the pump house so we can plug in a heat lamp to keep the water from freezing and bursting pipes.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 10)

This recent photo is more about the sunflowers than it is about the house’s exterior updates.

Here’s the progress as of Friday, September 15. The interiors have now been painted, the stair bannisters and counter tops are now in place, the water pipes are now connected to the well, and the house now has electricity. The tiling of the kitchen backsplash, bathrooms, and hearth had just began on the day I was there, and as of last week, Friday, October 6, all of this had been completed. This week, the light fixtures and door hardware, which are there and waiting, should be installed, and I will also be ordering all the appliances. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to place them until after the floor has been stained. The septic system should also be installed soon. The poor guy who will be doing this had to wait until all the water pipe and electrical trenching had been completed.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 8)

Because the sunlight was so harsh, the garage was the best structure to showcase our chosen paint colors in a photograph.

Here’s the progress as of Thursday, June 29. All the cabinetry had been installed, and the carpenter was informed on how to proceed with the trim work. The painter applied floor stain samples and interior paint colors for our approval. Unfortunately the floor stain was not at all what it was suppose to be, but the selected interior wall, ceiling, and window/door trim colors were perfect. The design and materials for the front steps and the descent down to the driveway were finalized, and one final site survey was done. I know I’m forgetting several somethings, but the following photographs should illustrate how far things have progressed.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 6)

If you’re wondering how to climb up to the front porch, stay tuned for my next post, Tumble Moon (Update 7).

Last week we all met at Tumble Moon to go over wood floor options, exterior colors, and interior paint, tile, and countertop colors. And most importantly to work out the site’s grading and how to develop the approach to the front of the house, which I will cover in a future post.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 5)

The bed alcove on the second floor.

The house is now a structural reality. Charley McKenney and I met the general contractor Pat Fuhrmann today along with his subs to go over the custom cabinetry and the electrical needs for my tiny house. It was perfect spring weather with an incredible cross breeze blowing through the window and door openings. And the views from the windows are even more spectacular than I had imagined. Again, I should have taken my fancy camera with a zoom lens, but instead shot the following photos with my iPhone.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 4)

Just a hint of what views can be seen from the finished house. I will have to take my fancy camera out there on the next visit, so I can zoom in on this view and capture all the lush landscape details of the Red River valley. This photo was taken with my iPhone which doesn’t have much zoom ability.

With the foundation complete, I and my architect, Charley McKenney, took Eco Friends Pest Control out to Tumble Moon to do the first phase of the termite treatment. The second and final treatment will have to wait until after all construction and exterior grading have been completed.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 2)

Paint colors have not been picked for the house, but I felt these drawings could use some pizzazz. The back elevation has changed. The back door has been moved around to the side, and there are now two windows.
Paint colors have not been picked for the house, but I felt these drawings could use some pizzazz. The back elevation has changed. The back door has been moved around to the side, and there are now two windows.

Design Development. We (Charley McKenney and I) have now moved from the schematic phase to the design development phase. Actually we’re further along and are now way into the construction document phase, but this post is about the design development and includes all the interior elevations. You know… the fun stuff. Once you have clicked over to the entire post, please remember that by clicking on an image, you will see a much larger version. While you’re in the large version mode you can click the right arrow which will take you to the next drawing. This way you don’t have to exit this mode in order to get to the next image, but you will need to exit in order to read the captions.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 1)

No paint colors have been picked for the house, but I felt these drawings could use some pizzazz. I do know what color it won’t be, white. The color pallet will come from the natural elements on the property, twigs, bark, leaves, and stone.
No paint colors have been picked for the house, but I felt these drawings could use some pizzazz. I do know what color it won’t be, white. The color pallet will come from the natural elements on the property, twigs, bark, leaves, and stone.

I finally decided on a name for my new piece of heaven, Tumble Moon. It’s the name of a Texas Dude ranch in an old campy film called Lightning Strikes Twice (1951). It seems that all the other name combinations that might describe my property’s uniqueness were already spoken for by multiple apartment complexes.

Landscape & Gardening

Finally! After a Four-Year Wait.

Please click on the photo for a larger version and notice the lacy details of the chain-link fabric. The silver spray paint on the poles around the hinges and fittings will have to be removed. Ggggrrrr...
Please click on the photo for a larger version and notice the lacy details of the chain-link fabric. The silver spray paint on the poles around the hinges and fittings will have to be removed. Ggggrrrr…

My custom designed front gate has finally been installed. It’s been an extremely time consuming and difficult project that began in 2011 with the original sloppy installation. Because it is the front gate, a custom solution was necessary. Since chain-link fencing is no longer as popular as it once was, I could not find a fencing contractor who would give me the time of day on the phone, much less show up for a meeting. They didn’t care if I had created detailed drawings with specifications. The word “custom” caused them too much brain pain. Plus using the traditional galvanized pipes and fittings would make the panels too heavy, causing them sag in the middle. So my architect Charley McKenney took my drawings to the metal artist who had created my fire screen and worked out how to create the two gate panels. It was critical that each frame corner be a sharp 90 degrees and each lace fabric panel be completely inset to the inside of the frame—not merely attached to the frame itself. Eighteen months later, January 2015, the completed gate panels were finally delivered. I had aged considerably since this whole thing started. But wait! There’s more!

Country Retreat

The Tiny House Concept

This exterior design from Max House Plans is ideal for my country retreat.
This exterior design from Max House Plans is ideal for my country retreat.

For my new piece of heaven, I envision a traditional southern vernacular. What I don’t envision is an open floor plan where the ground floor is one room with the kitchen lining one to two walls and all the furniture grouped in the middle. This trend seems to be prevalent for just about all new builds of small houses. In my opinion, an open concept is a cop-out for traditional vernaculars. It’s a lazy approach to space planning and has no appeal or charm, and it certainly isn’t what one would expect to find when viewing the house from the outside. On the other hand, having a lot of walls and interior doors can be claustrophobic in a small house. I believe a compromise is in order.

Since the chosen building site within the 8.5 acreage is a small open meadow, a compact footprint (600 to 800 square feet total) is required with the living and kitchen spaces on the ground level and the bedroom(s) on the second floor. In the last five years, the tiny house movement has really caught on, and there are now numerous online sources where you can download free tiny house plans. I found one particular plan at The small House Catalog that is a great example of how a small home’s interiors can be divided without a lot interior walls and still be open. Click on the link below to see this floor plan.