Monday, June 06, 2011

The Dacha

Ian and I are in the exciting (alarming) earliest stages of really, for realsies, thinking about moving up to Orcas Island. We've been imagining the glory of Living On Orcas for several years now—we maybe purchased the land 6 years ago?—and we have a house design that is millimeters away from being completed—and a heart-stopping amount of cash that we are trying to hold together to accomplish our hopes and dreams, whilst it flits this way and that, dodging us and slipping away on adventures that have nothing whatsoever to do with anything so staid as flooring or windows or most boring as well as most necessary—foundation.

In the meantime, though, we've been given a gift that has opened up the floodgates of our yearning and imaginations . . . and also made me perfectly clear on one thing: there is no way, NONE AT ALL, that I am going to be building this future home myself. A whimsical, half-constructed, 10X12 building is, I think, going to be my limit, much as I really have loved being an integral part of its erection (sorry—couldn't help it).

Those of you who have come here from I Thought I Was Done With This will have seen some pictures of this little cabin in its early stages, but I think I've mostly forgotten to give much information about its whys and wherefores unless you've actually seen me and asked and so, may I present, The Origins of the Dacha*:

The architects of the barn for the neighbors across the street on Orcas, K (whose birth date was exactly 3 years before mine) and C (who has two Hunter/Jumpers and a fancy arena!!!!), decided to design a compact, modular building that could be theoretically used as a non-permit-needing auxiliary dwelling unit (outside guest room). On Orcas at least, if you don't live full-time in a building, and you don't put power or water in it, you can build something as big as 400 square feet. This little project has an inside space of a mere 110 square feet. The architects abandoned their first attempt, however, leaving its dregs disassembled under an aged tarp at K&C's where the pieces weathered hopefully for some seasons, wishing to be whole again. Time passed. Eventually the architects, having found construction assistance on the mainland, and changing their plans a bit, donated the now very soggy stack of (let's face it) shack components to K&C, in whose yard they lay. K&C immediately offered the components to us and we, failing to recognize a huge amount of work and a big time suck when it punched us in the face, jumped at the chance to have this building.

We have not been sorry.

So, full disclosure time: To put the actual basic structure together, all we had to do was screw some ready-built frames together. Okay, not exactly only that; we did have to set pier blocks and screw down the flooring on the first frame. And then the architects were concerned about the strength of the dormers in the shape they'd been left, and so we shored those up on the undersides (the in-the-house sides) with metal strips when we raised the walls and put on the roof. But then, basic structure in place, we were set free with our imaginations!

Ian and I picked out windows and doors from the ReStore in Ballard, then bought flooring from the Habitat for Humanity store just south of the stadia on 99. Memorial Day Weekend we were on the island working, and our friend L became our very first Orcas Estate House Guest (for which she deserves a plaque). Anyway, I'm getting very sleepy now and my words are running out (this is, after all, my third post today), so go here to view The Dacha in all her glory (well, she's still a bit undressed, but she's coming along).

*Russian country home, occasionally just a little shack, often a place where the city dwellers raise small gardens. Russians are evidently world leaders in second home ownership.


Post a Comment

<< Home