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F A M I L Y   R E C I P E S

The following are excerpts from emails written to family during the Lakehouse remodeling process:

21 Mar 1999

After searching for almost a year, we found the perfect property to buy and build a house on. Itís a west-facing hillside that slopes down to Panther Lake, a 45 acre, no-gas-motor lake, perfect for swimming and fishing.

 

The Lakehouse is a small cabin near the lake that we cleaned up and lived in while we planned and built a house for our family.

 

06 Apr 1999

This place is a complete shambles. We've no water except bottled and no electricity (Grandpa Ken loaned us his generator). Blackberries are growing in through the windows and have completely taken over the back of the house. We're tearing damaged wood out left and right and trying to keep the rain on the outside. We're shopping for a permanent generator to use as our primary power, hoping to stay off-grid for a year.

 

10 May 1999

Things are coming right along at the "new" house. We've done some weeding (if you can call whacking away at blackberries weeding--some of it was in the living room) and we've worked on the kitchen a bit (no more bullet holes in the cabinets--no more cabinets). We're also trying to get the rest of the house in shape for this summer. Our plan is to move in sometime in Augustówish us luck.

 

We've been removing the old damaged (magenta and turquoise) sheetrock and repairing the framing that was water-damaged. The roof was repaired and we're replacing the old steel-framed windows with thermal panes. In many places, the siding was damaged and we've repaired that while trimming out the windows. Once the outside is weather-proofed we'll move on to the inside.

 

 

27 Aug 1999

I bet it seems like we've been living for ages without power and water and many of the other niceties that you're accustomed to. But . . . we've got freshly painted walls now, and they are fabulous. It's amazing how rewarding it can be to work real hard and accomplish something that you're proud of. For the last several months, we've been working on this little cabin several days a week and most every weekend. We tore out mildewed sheetrock and repaired tons of dry rot. We replaced sections of the roof and repaired plumbing and wiring that was long-abandoned. This place was home to carpenter ants, mice, shrews and birds. After relocating most of them, and killing the rest, we insulated where we could get to and replaced damaged sheetrock. Now when it's hot outside, it's cool inside. We're hoping this works in reverse during the winter. We're hoping that we get to the power and water and all the rest pretty soon. We'll keep you posted.

 

15 Sep 1999

We've got the cabinets installed and they look awesome. This kitchen is so small that I can wash dishes and stir the soup without taking a step. But there's more storage here than any kitchen I've ever lived in, so I think it's going to be great. We picked up the wood for our floors, 3" maple t&g. I'm hoping to get that in over the next week or so, along with tile in the shower and "marmoleum" on the floors in the bathroom and laundry.

 

10 Dec 1999

Pictures and words donít really do justice to all that's been going on. We had the road graded and graveled and it's pretty awesome. We can even get up and down it in the worst rain -- although snow will still be questionable. We also worked tons on the underbelly of the house. We've secured all of the plumbing and power, networked and earthquake-proofed (a thousand brackets down there) and we also put several more beams under the joists. So if you jump in the living room you can't really feel it in the rest of the house anymore. The kitchen is looking pretty great too. We've got appliances that work and running water (finally!). And in the bathroom, there's a wonderful tiled shower that uses a Bosch instant hot water heater. Can you image never running out of hot water?

Last weekend, thanks to our awesome friends and expert wood-floor installers Brian and Elizabeth, we started on our floors in the rest of the house. After three intense days it looks great, but my fingers and shoulders are killing me. What an amazing difference it's made in the place. One of our best efforts yet, I think. Now we've got to sand them and work on the finish. We've got laminate to put on the kitchen counters this weekend and we're hoping to build a little porch off the back door for our Christmas Tree to sit out on (so we can keep working on the floors). Timing is everything.

 

01 Jan 2000

We've been at it again, filling our schedule with invented crises to help provoke us into working ourselves to excess. And just to let you know, we did get the porch done enough to put our Christmas tree on, and even a few chairs to sit on. And the last few days were sunny enough to actually do just that. We added a covered porch to our shed. But our biggest accomplishment was sanding and finishing the wood floors throughout the house. See, we wanted to get a puppy for Christmas, but didn't want to get it until the floor finishing was completely done, for obvious puppy reasons. Anyway, we sanded and sanded and sanded (the maple is harder than trig) and finally were able to put the finish on right before Christmas. Second coat went on when we came back from my parent's house and the last coat went on last Thursday. So yesterday we went out and picked up our cute black lab, Millee (in honor of the millenium). She's ten weeks old and pretty funny. The boys are in heaven fighting over her and she's not too overwhelmed with them yet (a good sign). And just an aside on the loving it part of things, did anyone see the winter solstice moon? We had to get up in the middle of the night just to marvel over it.

 

 

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Our dock   //  Panther Lake


Front of cabin   //   Living Room (blackberries in window)


Kitchen (bullet holes in cabinets)   //   Ian hammering damaged walls away


Our windows and doors   //   New windows installed, siding repaired


Bracing and brackets under the house   //   Insulaing


New kitchen cabinets   //   Finished bathroom


Driveway graveled   //   Shed moved from Grandpa's house


Pretty maple floors


The boys love Millee


Solstice