Friday, October 5, 2007

We're talkin' RUSTIC!

We’re talking RUSTIC. When people say “rustic” it conjures up lots of different ideas. To us it means “primitive”, using things from nature (sticks/trees, animal skins, rocks, etc.). I’m not certain yet to what extreme we will take this “rustic” design idea but I do know that most of the creature comforts that we know now won’t be what we will be living with in the cabin. We want to make the cabin a place that is uniquely ours… not furnished with stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart (on the low end) or say, Williams & Sonoma (on the high end). We want our cabin to be a place that we not only feel safe & comfortable in, but a place where others would feel at home as well. Isn’t that really what all of us want our homes to be like?
Our “plan” is to recycle old building materials as much as we can in an effort to save money and kill as few trees as possible. We’re not tree-huggers… just trying to be a little bit environmentally conscious! We’ve rummaged around my parents’ farm & there are some things that we may be able to use: windows, doors, a propane refrigerator, the old cast iron kitchen sink & the like. If these items prove to be reusable, we will do our best to incorporate them. I have already gone thru mom’s “cold room” and reclaimed / recycled several large canning jars to use for storage.
No self-respecting cabin would be complete without wood floors… but have you priced wood flooring lately? Holy cow! The cost is very prohibitive! Thanks to my friend, Becky - you don’t mind if I use your name, do you? - (and the HGTV Rate My Space website – there are lots of ideas for budget-minded people!) we believe we have found an affordable way to have wood floors without the huge expense. Imagine if you will – ¾” or 1” plywood, sanded, then routing about an 1/8” groove the length of the board at random widths (to make it look like tongue & groove boards). The plywood is then stained & varnished… and voila! Wood floors!! Sounds crazy, huh? Looked great in the pictures on the website & for a fraction of the cost of “real” wood flooring we’ll try it! Also on Rate My Space someone recycled dog-eared privacy fence – making it into a bathroom closet door. What a great idea! I thought it would be cool to use this same concept – only as a shower door!
Here’s another “ for instance”. Since we will be short on space (we’re talking very cozy!) storage will be a huge issue. Nearly everything we will have in the cabin will have to be multi-functional! Instead of a standard bed (head/foot, metal frame), we’re thinking a “Captain’s bed” of sorts would be more functional… you know, a wood platform with cubbies underneath to store baskets or tubs of clothes. Mattress on top, clothes storage on the bottom! No dressers or closets allowed! No room! Ok… maybe the old ugly wardrobe we have can come too.
We, being somewhat unconventional, have no desire to have built-in kitchen cabinets. Instead, we’d like to use furniture (again – recycling stuff!) we already have to create our kitchen. We already have a dry sink (this sucker is heavy! – but hey, it was FREE!), a Hoosier-type cabinet, an old pine pantry cupboard, and an enamel top kitchen table (another freebie!) that will most likely serve as our kitchen furniture. Using furniture will serve three purposes: 1] the usual function of a kitchen (storage &counter/work space), 2] reusing things we already have, and 3] my desire to be able to rearrange furniture! Heh heh! It makes Jerry crazy when I do that. Lani & I used to make bets on how long it will take him to notice when I had redecorated or moved furniture… it just makes life a little more interesting! J
Speaking of reusing & recycling stuff… we have come across quite a few old fruit crates with the original labels. I am currently using them to house books… and will probably continue to do so in the cabin in one way or another. They’re just neat, rustic and utilitarian! Exactly what we’re looking for!
Some ideas we’ve seen for incorporating nature into the home: We had the opportunity a few years ago to look at a log home that was for sale near Westcliffe, Colorado. The fireplace had been made using different types of quartz that are native to the area. It was really unique… not to mention making good use of something that was “found”. This cabin also had part of a tree standing in the corner – the limbs had been sawn to about 6” each & it was used as a “coat tree”! I like the ever-popular tree stump end table & twig furniture! NO dead animals heads (or other parts) sticking out of walls! Ick!! I could do an animal skin rug… maybe. We did see a group of stuffed ground squirrels playing cards once in a shop & they were pretty cute. But otherwise… um… NO!!


plantinthings said...

I love the idea of you living off the grid and going rustic. I too would love to do this but hubby is not all for up the TV and electricity is like dying for may be rough at times but I think in time you'd get use to it. All my neighbors are amish and they do it with no problems at all.
The only thing I would personally have a problem with is not listening to music...but I guess I could start singing....EKKS! where are the ear plugs?
We too live in a log cabin in the NW corner of PA (when we bought it, it was partially done and what was done wasn't done right) so were fixin' it up. We tore down a rundown building they had on the property.....and are reusing all the wood that was salavageable. We built one of the bathrooms from it. The second bathroom were still in the process of fixin' up....I'm for all the rusticness too....we use rocks hauled in from the creeks, cut down saplings from the amish for towel racks....just about anything we find. Even found a toilet outside someone's house for's now in our bathroom.
I prefectly agree about stuff.....when we moved to PA from TX....we had to downsize to get it all up here. I hate having alot of things around...I don't like to clean or I figured I'd eliminate the source as much as possible...well hubby likes to have family pictures hanging on the wall....well ya sure don't see him in there dusting them the rest are going to get packed up as far as I'm concerned. I just don't like that clutter look and nor do I have to have pictures hanging on my walls.
Don't get me wrong I do have a few sentimental items that I hang on too.
I too have thought about getting a wood burning stove for cooking but I think that would heat up the house too much during the summer months. We do have 2 wood stoves to keep things warm in winter and if I really wanted to I could cook on them, but haven't yet.
Not sure if you have checked these out but 'Countryside' and 'Backwoods Home' are magazines that have very interesting articles in them for living off the grid and being self sufficient.
I would love to see this article on the wood flooring done with plywood as were trying to figure out what to do about the flooring....and I don't want to spend the cost on flooring.
Have enjoyed reading your blog. Would like to keep in touch and see how things are going with you and your new life adventures.
Tina (

Marcy said...

Tina...thank you for your kind comments! I will send you an email so you'll have my email addy too! I'll have to write down the info for my pictures & get that to you... they're on Yahoo I think? I'd love to see your home!! We're looking for ideas... and ANYTHING helps!!!
(My brother just moved to Mechanicsburg, PA in May so I may have opportunity to visit the area!)
Marcy <><