I saw on Pinterest lots of examples of making trees out of wood and Dollar Tree faux tin tiles and thought I would give it a try.
I plan on my trees going on our deck table so they are sturdier than a lot I saw. The need to hold up with wind and rain. The triangles are cut out of leftover pieces of wood from our stash. I made sure they would fit the tile.
After the wood was cut, I traced the shapes off on the tiles and cut them out with scissors. Several sites talked about using hot glue but my things get stored in a super hot space. Hot glue doesn’t hold up so contact cement was the best choice.
Everything got a coat of Kilz Gripper Primer. It is made to stick to slick surfaces.
I used the same paint I used on my mural to paint the trees then dry brushed the high spots with black and white paint. Literally you dip just the tips into the paint then take off most of the paint before lightly dragging it across the surface.
I cut some small blocks for the tree trunks and Mr. Math cut the bases. He then screwed them on. If you are doing something like this for indoor E6000 glue would work fine. We always overdo.
I really like how they turned out.
It is really warm here now and we are spending a lot of time outside so we get to enjoy the trees.
A funny thing happened on the way to the antique store this week.
The Social Planner, her sweet husband, Mr. Math, and I took a quick trip to a town I am falling in love with, Crockett, Texas. The town has some of the most beautiful old homes, a walkable downtown, and great food. It also has some really nice shops, resale, and antique stores.
This was The Social Planner and my second visit in less than a week. I found something that I just had to go back for on our first trip and luckily it was still there when we wrangled the guys into going back and they were troopers. We found several more shops on Goliad Street that we hadn’t visited before and met the nicest people.
The unexpected visit on the trip started when we, four grandparents who looked like exactly what we are, walked out of an antique store to the roar of a chopper pulling out of the garage next door. It was beautiful. It looked like something off television and the rider could have been an actor from easy rider. As we stared at the chopper pulling away a sweet young lady walked out of the garage to tell us hello. She was so welcoming and pleasant we stayed to visit.
Robin and Ronnie own Filthy Gringos. They make custom parts, build custom bikes, laser cut designs in metal, and ship a lot of it to other places. They moved from Houston to this small town because they wanted a simpler life and lower cost of doing business and it didn’t really matter where they are located. I learned they bought the building two years ago that was literally falling down, rebuilt it, and got permission from the city to convert part of the building into living space. We visited long enough that we got to meet their son Oden and see the awesome home they are in the process of creating/finishing. As soon as I saw the space I knew they were my people. Reuse, redesign, reimagine. The building was originally a cotton gin and has 16 inch thick walls, at one time had a huge skylight, and still has the vault for keeping records and money when cotton was bought and sold. They retained as much of the original items as they could.
Welcome to their space: I am so sad I didn’t take more pictures. The entrance to the home is a wide barn door that was original to the building but I was so shocked she invited us in I didn’t get a picture. It takes a lot of courage to let a stranger come into your home with no warning and allow them to take pictures of the home.
The bathroom was my very favorite. They literally turned the vault into the bathroom.
Never pass up the opportunity to meet new folks. We got to see a super cool space and learn new things. if you get the chance, visit Crockett, Texas.
Since we converted an existing building into a guest house we didn’t have a choice about the location. The former greenhouse was never expected to be front and center. It was designed for utility, not beauty.
Once we turned her into a super cute cottage with a sweet little front porch complete with swing, I could see we needed to improve the view.
First I addressed to blank wall that anyone sitting on the swing is looking at with a barn quilt. You can read about the quilt here.
And that helped but the biggest issues were the two metal buildings that set the boundaries for what I think of as the front yard for Sand Creek Cottage.
They weren’t giving me the cozy cottage vibe. They were eyesores that needed to be addressed. So I pulled out the secret weapon, paint.
First thing Mr. Math power washed them both to get the surfaces ready for paint. Both buildings had been painted before and I was fairly sure the smaller building we use as a tool shed had been spray painted, so it got primed first then painted with leftover trim paint we used on the cottage and our house. It is Behr Dove.
Mr. Math cut out a circle from a leftover Hardie panel scrap for me and I turned it into a sign using the main color of the cottage (Behr True Taupewood), barn quilt paint (they were mistint samples) and some black exterior paint I bout for $9.00 at Home Depot. You can read about Operation Courtyard Part 1 here.
The little building looked so much better and I could see the potential for the bigger wall but I didn’t want a solid color, I wanted something that would help us forget that the shop was blocking the view. I immediately thought of a mural. I fell in love with giant wall art in Laurel Mississippi. But they are everywhere now.
I knew I wanted something nature inspired, with no words so I started looking online for ideas.
I found this peel and stick mural that I used for inspiration.
I liked the trees, and the way the colors went from dark at the bottom to light at the top. I wanted my “forest” to look more like our pine trees and I always have enjoyed watching the way the planted trees grow back after timber is cut from a property. The first few years the property looks terrible then all of a sudden the trees start shooting up and you can see that the forest of trees as you drive by. It seems so hopeful.
I picked up the paint for the wall at Lowe’s and Home Depot in their oops section and a gallon of Forest Green from our local ReStore for $16.00. All together I used one gallon of the upper lighter color, one quart of an olive-ish color, and the black paint. The total for the paint came to $47.00. I used the lighter color straight from the can to paint the upper half of the wall with a paint sprayer- Mr. Math had to teach me how to spray large areas.
The top level of trees was one part olive paint and three parts the light color. The next level of trees was one part forest green and two parts of the light color. The third level of trees and the bottom third of the wall was straight forest green. Finally the darkest color is three parts forest green and on part black.
I considered drawing the picture off then projecting it on the wall but honestly that just isn’t me. Trees are imperfect and I decided to just roll with it. I just took off with a paint brush and just hoped for the best. It is only paint. If I hated it, I could always paint over it. I did have to keep telling myself that a lot. Our unofficial motto is “We don’t do easy at our house” and this project was no exception it was over 100 degrees every day I worked on it so it was 6:00 in the morning until 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. until it was too dark to see.
Mr. Math suggested I add in some lighter spots to look like light coming through the trees. It was a great suggestion.
She is a beauty. I am happy with everything about the house except one area. The area is in front of the house and…well…that space is another story. When I sit in the rocker and face south this is what I see:
When I sit on the swing which faces north, this is my view.
It was way worse until we got it cleaned up. I think of that space as a courtyard for the cottage but it was a catch-all space for years.
We live on a property that has been lived on for a long time by people who reuse everything and spend money as a last resort. They are my people!
The tool shed that is front and center in the space is a perfect example of the ingenuity of those who made our property so great. The shed is made from recycled heavy corrugated metal sheets tack welded together. It has some rusted panels and was painted silver at one point. It is not something that we can just replace parts on because it is basically all one piece. It holds things like chemicals and fuel we wouldn’t want in our shops so we need it. It would be a pain to move it so our options are limited.
The wall of the garages isn’t much better. It was owner built, added on to, windows were removed, there is mold along the bottom, and electrical was changed along the way. It isn’t something you want to look at all the time.
Because I think everything looks better painted, the first thing I knocked out was a cleaning and paint job on the garden shed. Primer first of course.
I painted the shed the same color as the trim of the cottage, Behr Dove. as soon as it was painted I tackled a sign for the building. Mr. Math who is a wizard with concrete board cut out a circle from left over concrete backer board. I started looking at forest/country/tree quotes. When I found this one it fit perfectly. My whole life I lived literally a fourth of a mile from I-10 in a city where I could walk to a shopping center. I never thought I would enjoy much less find the peace I have found here in the trees.
Mr. Math also added an old window to the back side that was sitting in my shop after giving it two coats of polyurethane.
It looks so much better painted. Total cost for the shed was a few dollars in bolts to connect the sign and window. Everything else was left over from building the cottage or other projects.
I still have a lot to do but I am excited about my plans.
When you have been planning a project for 8 years you tend to collect a lot of stuff and ideas.
I have had a Guest Shed Pinterest board going a long time (7 years) and if you look at it, you will see that my ideas for the house changed dramatically over time. I love Pinterest. In 2017 I wrote a blog post with my plans for the cottage. A lot has changed because reality set in. At first I thought we would go with a total mid century vibe when I thought the roofline of the building would stay the same, the bathroom would be at the back, and the wood burning stove would stay. It felt low slung and sort of 50’s mid century modern look.
After deciding that we would raise the roof (it was less than 8 feet in about a third of the house so wouldn’t count as square footage on an appraisal) I really took a look at what I wanted, what I gravitate towards, and what items are special to me. When you have years you can finally come to he point where you really are honest with yourself. My husband did an awesome job designing the new roof joist structure so that the electrical for the can lights and ceiling fan run through the collar ties connecting the beams at the top of the ceiling. He had a total vision for what it would look like. I did not.
I realized as I looked though my stash of things collected that I had a lot of sentimental vintage items, antique furniture, and more of a time worn vintage look. Most of my collected things have a story.
I returned to my Pinterest board, and started collecting pictures from pins on Google Sheets. Google Sheets work a lot like PowerPoint but it is free to anyone who has a Google account and they are so easy to share with people who can work on them with you in real time.
The results were that even though our house doesn’t look exactly like the inspiration pages, it has the same feel. I did not link the photos or give credit to the creators but the original information is probably on my Pinterest page if you are interested in something you see.
As I look back at my notes I see that even though there were changes as we moved forward with the build from these inspiration boards the cottage still has the look I was going for. It feels like going back to my great grandma’s house but with air conditioning!
Our guest cottage needs a name. I believe all interesting houses need a name. As much blood sweat and tears we poured into this one sure needs to be called something. For the past seven years we have called the building The Guest Shed because well, it was way more shed than guest friendly even though we I had dreams. My husband has dubbed it Nonnie’s (My grandmother name) Playhouse but I am holding firm that we aren’t going to call it that.
I feel like this little house looks more like a little cottage than a house. It certainly looks more like a cottage than a playhouse!
I literally Googled “The difference between a house and a cottage and there is an actual site called “The Difference Between”. The difference between website says: “A House is a building or structure that serves the purpose of shelter, whereas in today’s reference a cottage is defined as a cozy dwelling, generally in the rural or semi rural areas.”
That settled it. It is a cottage!
Once it was settled that our sweet little place is a cottage, I researched names of cottages. “Choosing a cottage name is a very important endeavor, especially if you want a name to perfectly encapsulate the character of the house. It is about choosing a name that goes out ahead and represents your house properly”.
This site has a long list of names. It even has a cottage name generator. The name it first selected for me was Leafy Greens. I tried a couple more times and it didn’t get better but it was fun trying it out. Since I didn’t think Leafy Greens, Gopher Hollow, or Sage Sands worked for me, I thought about our property. We have a creek that bisects the acreage that actually has a real name you can see on Google Earth, Sand Creek. It has water in it 90% of the time, but right now there are only deep spots with any water. When it overflows we have plenty of water. The garden, the back of the property, and even the mower barn gets water.
Sand Creek Cottage it is.
We really don’t have plans for the cottage except to welcome our friends and family to come enjoy our little slice of heaven, but having it we hope it makes visitors feel like they can invite themselves to come see us and stay a bit longer.
When we decided to make the cottage a place to sleep in overnight we thought about bed sizes and I perused a lot of Air BnB suggestions on Pinterest. (They are a great resource for how to make a guest home work for guests.) We are a really tall family so that factored into the plans. We considered a Murphy bed but the largest they come in is queen and we thought a king would be our best choice. By the way, if you want a room to have lots of functions and a queen, double or twin work for you, Murphy beds are awesome. We installed one in our back bedroom it was a lot of work but we love that we have a comfortable bed or a work/craft space.
Also, I want to be able to use the cottage for more than just a place to sleep. Just this Saturday there was an impromptu dance recital performance by two of my granddaughters that required things to be moved against the wall so the room would be more open. (They were magnificent by the way!). I can see using the space for baby/wedding showers, birthdays, game nights etc. so I didn’t want a quarter of the space to be taken up all the time.
I discovered searching online that there are bed frames that can be bolted and unbolted together and there is a strap and filler made just for the purpose of making two twins a king. That sealed the deal for us. Two twin xl beds were going to be in our future.
I shopped marketplace and found two mattresses and box springs used to stage a home. The guy that bought them thought they could be returned once the house sold but they got a little scuffed on one end moving them in. They were brand new expensive mattresses. I bet he wished he had hired a stager instead of trying to work the system but his loss, our gain. The still wrapped in plastic box springs were donated to Restore. A friend gave us a king sized bed topper that will make it even better.
We now can configure the room several ways.
Daybeds in the corner (this is how it looks most of the time).
Side by side twin beds
The night stands were once a vanity table that had been left in a garage for years. I love how cutting it in two, removing the peeling veneer, and painting the body made the furniture useful again.
We are ready for company. Flushing potty, hot water, beds, and most importantly air conditioning!
Finally, finally, finally we have finished inside of the guest house. It was a project that we will enjoy for years to come and will increase the property value but man it was hard. I don’t recommend 60 years olds to take on this type project in the middle of a pandemic with supply chain issues and a shortage of contractors. Seriously.
We still have the porch ceiling to finish, erosion control, septic for the toilet (but it is happening this week!) and landscaping. It no longer stresses me to walk into the building knowing what we still have to do. Now I just get to enjoy being there.
I am going to link all the projects we have done here, mainly for myself, but if you haven’t followed along it might be something you want to check out. I apologize in advance for all the links!
We now have a functioning 464 square foot house that has the ability to sleep 4. We have on demand hot water, air conditioning, a six foot antique claw foot tub, a 1935 kitchen sink, hardwood floors and a peaceful front porch.
The twin xl beds can be bolted together to create a king and a very cushy topper makes it more comfy than our bed.
Thanks for following along on this year+ long journey.
I am really, really feeling like we are almost finished with the guest house. This past week we got the closet in the building built. It looks so good!
We built the closet on a concrete slab that was once where a wood burning stove sat. The closet is 4 foot by 6 foot and we decided not to add a ceiling. We knew we had to put the closet in this corner because the tankless hot water heater is there and it needs to be out out of sight!
We had a contractor do a terrible job sheet rocking the guest house so we decided we certainly couldn’t do any worse and jumped in. It looks great.
I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures of the mudding and taping but my husband did a good job and I learned to do the screw divots. You can’t find them now!
After we finished the exterior we added shelves to the interior and remote controlled puck lights that can change colors. The add a cool glow out the top when the house is dark.
We saved a lot of money adding this closet by 1. Doing the work ourselves, 2. Buying a clearance pocket door frame that was too tall and cutting it down, 3. Using a door we bought at a garage sale and refinishing it, 4. Instead of priming walls, we used leftover latex paint before using the color we wanted.
We are so happy to have finished this project because it is the last inside project for the house. We are so close to being finished.
We are nearing the end of putting together the bathroom in the guest house! Hooray! At this point I think we have spent about $3,500 on everything that went into turning a covered porch area into a functioning bathroom. Concrete, framing, Sheetrock, electrical, plumbing, window, lighting, tile, pocket door, tub, tub refinishing, and toilet all added up. We have done most of the work ourselves, except the terrible Sheetrock job and exterior siding. I am ever so thankful for a hard working husband.
One thing we didn’t spend much money on was our bathroom vanity thanks to recycling things we already had and materials given to or collected by us. We literally only purchased paint, the water connects, and the drain pipe for this project.
In my mind I wanted a black vanity with a white top. On a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas I saw an antique porcelain legged vanity that I loved in a restaurant bathroom. A quick look online convinced me that the option may be out of reach. I was disappointed but I had so many other things in the bathroom that I loved, an inexpensive vanity would have been fine.
With my heart set on something white and black to go with our floor meant we had to get creative. In our stash of treasures I spotted a white vanity top that my buddy The Social Planner had given me ( I have great friends) and a grooved wood cornice board from the front window of our house that would work for the skirt. I had lots of legs I thought would work, but it sort of felt like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. They were either too damaged, too short, or the wrong style.
Deep into the stash Mr. Math spotted two newell posts that were perfect. I bought them a while back at a garage sale. I can’t even remember why I thought I needed them but they were inexpensive and oak. We already had a medicine cabinet in the guest house from the previous owner. The mirror is pretty aged and may need to be replaced eventually but I sort of think it is cool.
My husband cut the cornice to fit- and did an amazing job, cut the legs t length, attached the legs with giant screws and glue then even spackled the screw heads for me so I could prime then paint the vanity with a semi gloss cabinet and trim black paint. Mr Math attached leveling feet so that we could get the cabinet level.
Just as I was thinking about purchasing a faucet the hubs surprised me with yet another treasure that I honestly have no idea when or where it came from. He found a chrome faucet in the stash with porcelain handles! It was chrome but had was filthy. A good cleaning and tightening all the parts made it exactly what I needed to finish off the sink.
I really like how it is all coming together.
The mirror looks more distressed in photos than it does in person but we may be getting another mirror cut to fit down the road.
Next up we will be installing the faucet, shower ring and drain in the claw foot tub.