Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Beginning

Every cabin has a story, and ours is no exception.  While the final version is a far cry from the original vision, we couldn't be happier with our place.  Magically, it is everything to everyone.  It fulfills my wishes for a tiny cabin, it completes Jon's dream of owning a fish house, and it's a place for Chloe to play as she grows up.  It's the perfect getaway from our crazy lives, only two hours north of the cities.  Located at a resort across the street from Lake Mille Lacs, there is a restaurant and a meeting center withing walking distance.  The charming town of Isle is about 5 miles down the road, and boasts several gift shops, a yoga studio, a bakery, a soda shop, a hardware store, a thrift store, a grocery store and a Co-op, and most importantly, a knitting shop.  There's also a shop called Portside, which sells gas, bait, and snacks, halfway between the resort and the town.  We always seem to stop in here on the way to our house!

How did it all begin though?  I got the idea into my head about two years ago to start saving for a cabin, with nostalgic notions of  lakeside properties, stone fireplaces, and lofted ceilings.  Unfortunately, these sorts of places come with  hefty price-tags, which we could never justify.  While on the search for affordable cabins, we discovered the "Tiny house" movement.  These portable postage-stamp sized houses that people are very happily living in, looked high-end and lovely, maximizing space with clever storage solutions.  We started downloading photos of the ones we liked, while searching for a parcel of land to purchase. 

During the summer of 2012, we spent a week in my Mother and Father in-law's fish house, and it was so relaxing and delightful.  Jon and his dad went fishing, I got some alone-time to wander the town, knit and read, and Chloe was a little beach bunny, spending most of her time near the water.  Jon made the astute observation that we should use our cabin fund to buy a fish house, but I wasn't on board with that idea yet.  A year later, everything was different.  We were going up to Mille Lacs almost every weekend, there were 5 or 6 girls at the resort that Chloe could play with, and all of a sudden Jon's idea made a lot of sense to me. 

Naturally, once we decided that we wanted to buy a fish house, we wanted one immediately.  We looked at several over-priced, run-down beaters before we found our beauty.  We had almost given up looking in October, when we saw a Craig's List ad featuring exactly what we wanted, at a different resort.  Amazingly, we were the first to answer, and I was able to take a weekday off to go up north to look at it with my Father-in-law.  The seller was a bit surprised at the amount of interest, telling us that he had gotten 15 calls about it, with 4 other parties scheduled to come see it that weekend.  Even while we were there, he took a call from someone who was requesting that he hold the house for them.  When it got the stamp of approval from my Father-in-law, I told him that we'd take it!

The booth, the bunks, and the bathroom
Luckily, a spot opened up at my in-law's resort that same week, so our house is situated right across the street from them.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect!  I wish I could have been there to see it get moved, but by the following Monday afternoon, our house had been delivered to our resort.  That gave us the rest of the season to fix it up a bit. 

The heater, the kitchenette, and the booth
After buying quilts for the beds, we definitely wanted to install blinds on the windows and the door, make curtains, and replace all the brass hardware.  Our place looked a bit bare, especially in the beginning, but we're hoping to add some personality to it along the way!

Kelly sewing curtains for the kitchenette
One of the biggest surprises for us is how much we like the booth!  Initially, I had thought that we would sell it immediately, but after living with it for a few weeks, we've decided that we really like it.  It is incredibly useful, and comfortable.  We sit there often, it offers storage under the seats, and it turns into a bed.  

Our bathroom
The only drawback is that the house doesn't have running water.  This is part of it being a fish house, however, we are simply used to living with plumbing. 

Our bathroom has a bucket system, but in the summer, there are bathroom facilities just down the road, which feature modern amenities such as faucets, toilets and showers.  Amen!  We have to "rough it" in the winter, but hand sanitizer abounds, and we can use the restaurant bathrooms too.

But what can I say?  We love it.  The people we've met up here are truly delightful.  The waitresses at the restaurant give Chloe quarters to spend in the toy claw machine (her obsession!), and  people go out of their way to be nice to us.   Our neighbors at the resort are awesome, we are close to our family, and we are giving Chloe the best childhood that we know how to give.  She's still young enough to find joy in the simple things, like riding her bike with her friends, running in the waves, and hanging out with her grandparents.  We just have to remember to save up our quarters all week, because that "Claw Ma-hine" gets expensive!!!