by Cheryl Preston
I am new to the world of living “small” and just joined your group last night. In the next four months, I will be downsizing from a 2000 sq foot farmhouse I’m renting into a 440-sq foot 2-room cottage that I call the Cowboy Cottage.
This little cottage started out as a shed built by its original owner who had a small vineyard and needed a place to make the wine. The second owner decided to build out from the shed and add a living/sleeping space for his visiting grandkids as a playhouse.
I purchased the property (a total of 10 acres with the main house I keep rented out) with my husband in 2005. After he died the following year, I decided to rent the main house out and turn the playhouse into another cabin to rent out. I used the original 1940’s stove (a castoff from the main house) as the inspiration piece and created a vintage western theme and named the guest cottage “The Cowboy Cottage.”
I have some success renting out this little cottage as a vacation getaway, but have now decided to downsize and move into the charming Cowboy Cottage. The drive will be an additional 30 minutes to work, but at last I will be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I took out the closet and had a full-size Murphy bed installed. I had the plywood countertop taken off and had a nice piece of molded countertop added; updated the fixtures, laid down 5″ T&G yellow pine flooring throughout, added a wood stove, and western touches including a 5′ longhorn rack I picked up in Texas. I put in a hot water tank, small septic tank and insulated and sealed off the attic crawlspace over the living area. I also had 2 stables built under the part of the shed that originally housed a tractor.
Unfortunately, I cannot get a CO from the county to put in a separate electric meter because the shed does not have a 3′ required crawlspace so the power and water come through lines connected directly to the main house, 125′ feet away. Since I will be moving out there full time, I’m looking at having a new well drilled and looking into solar power as an option.
I was out there today taking measurements and trying to figure out how I am going to “fit” into it, but I’ve stayed in it many nights while out there for a weekend retreat; very different than actually moving in. But I am bound and determined to be out at my property at last.
Here is what it looked like when I first moved in, before the deck and stables were added (circa 2007) and a couple of before and afters the inside remodel in kitchen. Reduced the double bifold doors that lead into the bathroom down to 1 bifold door and added a new wall where the other bifold door was.