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7/14/14

Modern Prefab Houses And 150 Year Old Farm House Woes!

R1 Residential, a modern prefab house from Green Modern Kits

At work, in the green prefab passive solar house kit business, where do I start? While three (yes, not one, not two, but three modern prefab house projects, all different prefab models, in different states, make their way down the pipe...) prefab homes are in the initial stages of planning, I am on the Chesapeake Bay with not our modern prefab house but a broken down beloved 150 year old farmhouse- The In-Town Ramshackle.

150 Year Old Leaky Farm House:
The In-Town Ramshackle!


I apologize for the summer hiatus of my own prefab modern house- like our Amish friends who visit after the harvest is done in winter, for OUR family, summer is when we visit cousins and friends on the bay, back and forth, back and forth, ironically running back and forth from a modern off grid prefab house to a rickety 150 year old leaky farm house.

An early pic of our own modern prefab house!
Normally I don't like to talk about work too much here, but each of these new projects are SO exciting- and I will go into one at a time vs. the official news releases I put out in the prefab house "news" blogs.

Each house site / location scenario and each prefab client is so different!

So out of my hat, because it's the one that has needed thought on zoning and input from the architect this week, I am going to mention The R1 In Moss Beach California.

I will go into more detail, later, on all of these gems. But the reason I mention this one is that the zoning has a few things to navigate, namely, a garage "attached" to the house. The lot also meant we had to adjust dimensions slightly,  thus combining spaces, rethinking a few things for the client's lifestyle...
A cool R1 Residential for a Technology Client In California is exciiiiiiting... 
However, I am here, on the (wonderful) Chesapeake Bay, not living it up in one of our prefab passive solar homes BUT navigating a 150 Year Old  In-Town Raaaaamshackle House.
Our beloved In-Town Ramshackle.

Saving a 150 Year Old Ramshackle on the bay is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because you try, try, TRY to save it, but also don't want to dump all your money into A Money Pit. As much as you want to steward, you also can't kill yourself... figuratively, psychologically... literally.

I miss our modern prefab house's energy efficiency / strength / sturdiness / healthy indoor air...! It's not the In-Town Ramshackle's fault, it just wasn't shored up over time, in elements (and it's not past elderly owners' faults, because they had neither stamina nor income to throw at her).  Good news is that every year we improve the situation; but it will take lots of time... and money.
Our In-Town Ramshackle...
about 100 years ago...!
From a video on 1929 Deltaville.

She's painting the porch
to protect the wood...

The reality of loving a 150 year old home is, right when you think things are better and you can rearrange furniture, invite guests down and throw parties, that suddenly the Chesapeake Bay throws you 110 degree days where you CLOSE UP half the rooms in that 150 year old house for a window unit to take the edge off -or- it rains hot and humid and suddenly-
your throat burns
your eyes water
you seek shelter at your parent's cottage.
CAN WE SAVE THE 150 YEAR OLD IN-TOWN RAMSHACKLE?
After this week... I... don't... know.
So when people call me and talk about their environmental sensitivity to toxins, etc. in regards to our modern prefab homes, believe me, I get it. It's not the poor 150 year old farm house's fault. But stuff happened. It sunk, over time, allowing moisture to trap underneath. Bushes became overgrown against her walls. The roof leaked, and no one could fix it...

Can we fix this old gal?
I hope so, I really do.
We fled to my parents when we smelled the first sign of musty spore-filled anything, and there we will stay, whenever it smells like that.

That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to fix any leaky anything the second you see it. One second it's a pipe in your bathroom, next your roof, then the whole house is gone. It is ridiculous to lose a house. It is always part of caretaking to not let anything slide.

Flirtatious girl that the Ramshackle is, the next day I headed tentatively back and found not a mold spore to sniff. I don't get it.
So... one day, I flee. The next, I embrace.
A lover, I have become, of This Grand Gal. Will it continue in romance... or heartbreak?
Sometimes I think, "OH MY GaWWWWWWSH if I could *snap* my fingers and transform this 150 year old lady, the proud but decrepit In-Town Ramshackle into one of my cool energy efficient made-for-the-next-200-years passive solar homes...!"
But then she'd be different. 
This old gal is beautiful.
I believe in preservation. I believe this is a farm house that should be saved.
As I type this, it is dark, cicadas sing, a bay breeze blows, and there is not a WHIFF of mildew in the In-Town Ramshackle. 
Fickle lady... Please smooth out yer skirts and stay.
 
To distract us all from restoration woes, here's a recipe!
Mo' Molasses Slaw
Think: In descending order of amounts: cabbage / carrots / onion / tad of garlic / dash of: lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil / and then drizzle it all with (not too much) molasses, cut as fine or chunky as you like.
Because I am a geek I wondered what it would look like if I mowed the Deltaville lawn on MapMyWalk. I didn't do the "back yard" within the chicken fencing, and there's big trees & sheds. But... Here ya go, geekdomnesss. So far 2.63 miles, WHO KNEW, lawnmower?!?
(I might have missed a few spots...)

And here's some pictures of the Pipsqueaks and their Regatta Lemonade Stand:
Sailors were taking selfies with them, lol...
She's showing her back so her friend can get
a selfie with her boat's logo showing, ha!

The Pips had their first babysitting excursion. 
Like the World Cup, it matched formidable opponents:
A 10 and 11 yr old 
vs.
a 2 and 3 year old.
In the end, ALL were worn OUT.
They fell asleep that night under a gorgeous gorgeous moon.

If you enjoyed that old peek at a younger In-Town Ramshackle, here's the 1929 video of Deltaville and life there:

And for something new? Check out Den Mate.

In the meantime, if you're looking for me, I'll be on the dock.

Aw, someone needs a HUG!!!!

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