Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wanna See the Beach House Part II

Part I found here.

Tree House found here.

...And linking up with Cari for Theme Thursday: Out, because that's what I do!

These are after pictures that really are going to show like before pictures. You see, this place was a wreck. The dear priest who serves at the church on this barrier island in Southwest Florida dubbed this island, "Home of the million dollar shacks." Because that is precisely what they are. This house was built in 1932, and is probably one of the oldest still standing homes on the island, the others lost to old fashioned Florida decay and oh!, hurricanes.

The land this house is built on is its only value, and we have the luxury of renting it because the overseas company who bought it several years ago for an obscene amount of money are waiting to either demolish and rebuild, or simply sell to someone else who will.  

And while the inside of the cottage is in fairly nice condition, the outside has basically been ignored time out of mind.

clean. shell.

Let's start at what I call the back and what Joseph calls the front, in a very heavy and not friendly ongoing argument. Originally, the wood stairs and doorway you see above did not exist, and were added later because we moderns enjoy easy car to home convenience. Obi, peaceful mediator and also carrying the architect card, says that architecturally speaking, the front of the house is Gulf side, but practically speaking, the driveway is on the road side and could therefore be classified as the front. Whatever, I'm right.

Up until several weeks ago, the front yard was a wild mess of weed, dirt, dirt, weed, sticks, dirt, leaves from the past ten years, weeds, and dirt. 

This is how the girls spent their summer 

We discovered through raking, digging, and whining, that there is an actual concrete curbed driveway, which we excavated. Obi payed someone with a some kind of machinery (a digger?) to level the dirt patch out front. The management company agreed to pay for a load of shell to be delivered if we would install it. So we did! Before, really, it was simply a long mud pit, fun for pigs and certain members of the Family Es, but not so good for my long lost friend, Sanity.

Isaac watching the dumping of the shell, he actually shouted,
"Let's do this!" to the driver.

I chose, much to my family's chagrin, to close off the "new door" and only use the original ones. Because I'm crazy. And it also helps with crowd/dirt control. And we also are using that interior space as a lovely pantry. 

Baby Bear's bike. And Baby Bear's Baby brother's bike, too.

Also in the dirt patch/back/front is their amazing tree house, featured here. The tire swing is new, in place of the rope of death. Joseph spent three Unschooling days mastering knots to make this.  He also came up with the brilliant board in the tire idea which really works beautifully.

We will be planting grass here. That's planting it. Not sure it will grow, so it still isn't really safe/clean for your kids to come and play.

Moving around to the Gulf side...

Joseph also built this lovely path, and this weekend we plan on finishing it with more shell underneath and stepping stones. Now that will be nice and clean delivery to our doorstep!

Shade and privacy are offered to the front door by way of this beautiful cluster of sea grape trees/bushes? I don't know. But guess what? They produce sea grapes, and what a mess!  They have almost all dropped, but it was a constant mush out there. Obi has saved a bunch and will be making sea grape wine. I can't make this stuff up, Web Log, even if I tried.

The house is on stilts, of course, and the stilts are hidden by the beautiful brick wall and absolutely charming doorways all around the bottom. Makes you feel like you are in some enchanted place, when really you are going down to a frog-infested basement to spray for bugs. It's the little things.

Obi built this enclosure around the outdoor shower for privacy. Really, you can't get sand out  of your suit unless you take the suit off, let's be real.  We will be painting it white to match. Oh, someday.

I can just feel the sea grapes squishing under my feet.
As the pictures attest, it has rained and rained. This is hurricane season. We bleached those stairs above when we first moved in. Time to do it again.

Obi fixed our ill-fated gazebo so that it won't fly away, and we are just waiting to get some use of it.  The bank of windows above was originally a front porch. It must have been lovely, really. But with it enclosed the home is so much bigger, and the view from our living room is quite literally worth more than a million bucks. Regularly we watch dolphins playing in the waves from our couch, their fins pointing skyward, and ever so often they leap in pure bliss. That is happiness. And so much better than Arrested Development Season 4.

The Beach House is separated from the water by about a 200 meter dash, with the beautiful sea oats and vegetation in between. Not twenty years ago, high tide came to the very sea wall of this house. But man and nature have conspired to lengthen the island at this point. I believe the shore line of barrier islands is ever-evolving, which makes it all the more interesting.

Thanks for stopping by! Just a few more projects inside and we are on to showing the Web Log the interior of this little shack, the House of Es. 


  1. Oh my gosh. Best out ever. You have a shell driveway. I love every detail about your out. The Baby Bear bike? That just warms my heart.

  2. Life there is entirely different from life here. Which is stupid to say, but everyone thinks it without realizing it. Like, shell driveways. And bleaching the stairs. And an outdoor shower simply as a matter of course. Sea grapes! Sea oats! High tide coming to your front door! Dolphins!

    So interesting, and, since I don't have to clean up the sand, so beautiful.

  3. In the words of crazy Molly Shannon from old Saturday Night Live, as she sits all over the couch while stretching her legs in the air... "I love it I love it I love it I love it!!"

    1. I don't know what to say, the first Molly Shannon quote on the Web Log, "I love it I love it I love it!"

  4. Wonderful!! Very excited to see the inside!!
    BTW quite the diplomat that Obi.

  5. A-Maz-ing! So incredibly wonderful! Thanks for sharing your world with us. : )

  6. I can't believe you get to live there! I think I'd be willing to live in a port-a-potty if it was on that land with that tree!

  7. Beautiful! I love the FL gulf coast and will have to be dragged kicking and screaming when we inevitably move.

  8. In the words of Peg, "Where do I get to stay"

  9. Love it. Such amazing shots. Especially loved the up-close of the shell driveway!

  10. This was a great read and great shots. I grew up in New Zealand in a time when everyone had a 'bach' on the beach and the sea only a few meters away. I miss those times.

  11. This is absolutely lovely. What an awesome experience for you all. Can't wait to see the inside.

  12. Shell driveway..awesome! Actually your whole house/yard in awesome...and watching dolphins from your couch! So cool!

  13. Wow, I just love the place and your priest cracks me up - million dollar shacks, haha! Your kids are going to have amazing memories there. Unschooling has been happening these past few weeks here as well, travel to CA provided lots of unschool/but real learning opportunties, I'm rolling with it.

  14. Your house has so much character... Actually it looks sweet, like the way you personality comes across online I think.

  15. Wow, talk about absolutely lovely!!
    So, this is the Gulf side? I just love the Gulf beaches. So happy I found you at the link ups...I think it was Cari's and subsc! I so enjoy your posts and your writing style. Lovely!!

    Ok, that was my break. Thank you...We are back to rational numbers and vocab now: I needed this.

    Have a lovely day!!.

    1. Well thank you, Chris! Glad to have found your blog through Cari also, your family has wonderful adventures.

  16. I'm in love! Seriously, that's the kind of thing I dream of for a winter vacation. Your pictures make me feel the tropics. So when you want to rent it out let me know! And it reminds me so much of Key Largo...I just love it...

  17. You should have seen Peggy trying to understand this post. And, as she continued to scroll, she wondered why on earth we were looking at $20 dishes!!!!

    1. 1) it's incredibly confusing

      2) They were half price!


I heart comments!