The Simple Farmhouse Cabin that Exposed my Hidden Courage

Late Fall of 2000, I bought my first house in Gunnison, CO. Palisades rock formation in the far right background.
More of a farmhouse cabin, really. It had Yellow painted log siding, cinder block and brick exterior base walls, screened in porch, mud room, 3 bed 1 bath.
Dreary looking when I first got my hands on it. But it had some good potential and I was aching to fix it up!
The house sat on 2 lots, giving me some out buildings, stables and corral, a detached garage, a large garden area and tons of extra space.
Corral and stables beyond the yard.
The detached garage had a couple small windows, which I later enlarged and turned the garage into a studio. I rented out all the rooms in the house and moved myself into the studio.
Next door is a historic old school house.
The interior had Oak floors. My 2 cats Dutch (Tabby) and Camille (calico), were given to me by Susie as a house warming gift.
Pine tongue and groove paneling throughout, a wood burning fireplace.
Original built in cabinets. The ceiling was some kind of paneling without the standard aluminum grid.
Living area near the front door.
Largest bedroom
The kitchen and bathroom were outdated, so my then-boyfriend, Kurt helped me do a very basic remodel on a very limited budget.
Apparently, I had enough wine corks to do a back splash behind the original farmhouse sink.
I tiled the counter top, painted over the residual adhesive on the bottom half of the back splash, added some shelves, painted the original cabinets and added Black hardware to make this old kitchen feel brighter and cleaner.
Super rustic and super inexpensive to do!
I painted the foundation rustic Red, added a rooster weather vane, took down old metal fencing around the house, cut down weeds and took the screen off the porch to open it up.
1 year after moving in, I got a new puppy, Foxy Girl. My roommate got one of Foxy’s sister’s at the same time and named her Mariposa. This is THAT day and we are both so happy!
Spring time in Gunnison is potentially more exciting than in other places. When you live in an area that gets as cold as 30 below zero and snows crazy amounts that sticks around until June, a reprieve is so very welcome! The city turns on a water ditch that flow through the town, but until it’s turned on late May or June, we hand water.
Green begins to show up. This deck was already there and gets used through out the whole year.
Mature trees and gardens appear.
A simple sitting area against the house, protected from wind and out of view from the street.
Colorado summers are the best!
I set up some seating spots in the yard for entertaining friends when they stop by.
Beautiful old Aspen tree with flowers in the garden below.
With the city ditch turned on, Poppies bloom in a cluster. I also added some trees for privacy and shade. The rock to the right of the pic is a piece of petrified wood.
Foxy Girl enjoying the beautiful summer day on the grass
After taking the screen off the upper part of the porch, its seems breezy and welcoming. A perfect place to park your bicycle.
A Progressive Bicycle Party, ending at my house. All my girlfriends gathered to celebrate another summer in Colorado!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. -H.D. Thoreau

Taking a break and sitting in the sun on the back patio! This is Nice!
Rocco has his own sofa, of course.
So exciting! I got a delivery on Saturday morning. My new outdoor furniture!
Although I know I’m putting this thing together, I look a bit tentative in this pic.
Rocco is also checking things out, very closely.
OK! I can do this!
Here’s my station, under the umbrella, on my new patio!
It only took 4.5 hours, but I got it done and think it’s perfect! There are sure to be more moves, but the pieces are modular so I can move them around, how they best fit for different uses.
Plus, I love looking at this from the kitchen!
Yesterday, while assembling the group, I learned how valuable the umbrella is in this space. I almost feel like a Cedar arbor overheard would be nice. But for now, I’ll try it this way.
This is the view from the new sitting area. Not to bad!
This space is also more private and protected with the shed, fence and house surrounding it. It feels intimate and It’s the first space you see when you walk into the back yard.
The shed provides shade in the afternoon, but the umbrella keeps the space usable all day.
This is the accent pillow fabric I bought for all the outdoor furniture. It adds some fun color to an otherwise pretty neutral palette. The pattern is sophisticated, bright and casual.
In order to move this behemoth, I had to take most of the dirt out and roll it. It’s big and heavy empty! It’ll go in the back yard once the landscapers finish the Breeze.
I used up all the materials that were being stored in the middle of the yard. Now you can see straight through to the back of the yard when you walk into the back. This is your view.
My landscaper will be back for the last visit (I hope) to finish up the irrigation and some details. The border around the back patio and around the whole back yard will be gone, with a few steppers along the patio and walkways. I’ll lose 2 of these 4×8 Cedar planters, leaving me more space to move around. I so appreciate a clean, low maintenance yard!
There are 2 shrubs that I planted several years ago, growing along the back patio. They’ve been abused over the years and especially during this project but are showing signs they will be back.
I love the deep Burgundy leaves they produce. I’ve trimmed them back and look forward to seeing how they evolve this year.
This project has been healing and energizing for me. This being the first house I bought when I moved to Denver, I can’t help but think about my life then, now, and all the years in between. I’m grateful everyday, that I can wake up, hear the birds chirp and smell the earth begin to wake up and grow again. This is my therapy and I’m so glad to be able to share it with you!
Happy Easter!

Spring is welcome to visit me anyday!

Susie was in town last week to help me get my yard cleaned up for spring! It’s a tradition we look forward to, celebrating all the tiny miracles that happen, this time of year. We took my brother, Michael to lunch for his birthday.
I got my outdoor curtains up and the patio furniture rearranged. Luckily, I have plenty of rugs to use on the concrete pad. I’m thinking abut tiling the whole patio to clean it up and add some fun style to the space.
The curtains add a lot of charm and privacy to the space. I can open or close them to create more intimate sitting areas.
Here, I’m using a curtain to create a backdrop for the floating chair. And we finally moved all the garden tools from the outside of the shed. Now I can use this door to access the shed.
Susie dug all the volunteer grass out of the planter and we raked up old tree branches and leaves on the Breeze, leaving the yard cleaner, but aching for some foliage.
This vintage paned glass door was recycled from the cottage on the back of the lot. I love it as a decorative focal point and practical door to the shed. All the windows were also recycled from another house which I had the original windows replaced.
This tree and shrub were salvaged during the remodel. The shrub isn’t looking so good, but I hope they both survive the project. Shade and foliage is what this house is missing right now.
This is what you see when you come in the side gate, which has become my actual entry to the house. At this point, every pic I post has a lingering project that I need to address. In this pic, it’s the Blue tarp covering mulch, potting soil and bulbs from last fall. I just need to do it!
The side yard is clean with Breeze. Although this isn’t a part of the yard people see, I love how clean and low maintenance it is! These curtains give me and my neighbor privacy while I’m on the back patio, which is more and more often!
The pile of flagstone behind the door will be used in the front and back yards for steppers near the sliding patio door and as you walk off the patio slab of the back porch.
The garden boxes are overgrown with only a couple plants worth saving. Susie dug out clumps of grass and found a healthy Chive and a Strawberry plant! More proof that miracles happen everyday in the garden!
Susie and I moved this rustic garden bench to this area to accommodate all the pots that will come in handy in a month, or so.  This valuable space is now the gardening area.  A place to work and store my outdoor projects!  The 4×4 planter will be removed.
I‘m meeting with my landscaper to discuss removing a couple of these planters. I’ll have 2 large and 1 small planter to use.  That’ll give me more room for my fire pit, on this end, and the garden work space at the other end. Sprinklers will get turned on for the season at the end of April.
I’ve been shopping for outdoor patio furniture for this space. Now that I use it for my entrance everyday, I need to make it welcoming and comfortable. So far, I hung a window planter with metal shudders, added a couple chaise lounge chairs and I moved an outdoor bakers/garden rack near the shed door. The pots will get moved after I dig some of the dirt out of them to make them lighter. 2 part project! I still need more foliage and soft cushioned furniture!
More window planters on this side. I also have some metal art I’ll add to this side of the shed.
This cluttered corner will be a focal point of the yard. Motivation to do what I need to do! Nice extension cord leading to the heat tape on the shed roof!
I added a couple hanging baskets on the front arbor and have a couple smaller projects planned for the front yard. I’ll make the garden with the Aspen tree a bit bigger and taller- like a burm, with some perennial flowers. Also add a second burm style garden on the other piece of grass near the driveway with the windmill, shrub or tree and perennial flowers too!
My fabulous sister, Susie! Loving the early vegetation at O’Toole’s garden shop! I find my way here throughout the winter, when it’s cold and snowy outside and spring is only a distant memory. See how happy she is?
Spring is such an inspiring time for everyone! The anticipation of each pastey white face as we visit the garden shop to see what treasures are just in!
Even the yard cat in the video below is inspired, although cats don’t really show emotion, I can see she’s happy to have the fresh adventure!

This is actually ready to spotlight now!

The siding crew got all the siding done and are waiting for the new patio door to arrive before they finish this area.
Finally, the slider came in and David is installing it today!
This is the inside wall where the new door is going.
The plastic will help keep everything cleaner.

The refrigerator temporarily in the middle of the kitchen. This was expected to take 1 day to complete, but it took 3 days in reality. The door was installed in 1 day, but the plaster, sanding and details took longer. Luckily, this house has a loop layout. I can walk through the bedrooms to get to the kitchen from the living room while this door goes in. I feel like I’m camping, sort of.

The mud needs to dry overnight before sanding, so we left the taped plastic up.
We had good weather while they worked on the door. Better for the guys and better for me while the wall is opened up!
It took most of the day, but I can see how open and bright this door will make my kitchen.
The new door creates so much more light. You see it right as you walk in the front door!
Wow, I love this new slider door! It’s much brighter and makes my small kitchen feel bigger.
This is now a view. I want to clean it up and make it nice to look at.
The back porch is looking so much better too! No utilities on the back wall and all the battens are now up. I’m getting used to the Green primer on the exterior walls, but the actual color will be off White, once painted.

The concrete pad expansion is done, tongue and groove panels are installed on the underside of the roof and the patio is now full size. I ‘m considering a fresh layer of concrete poured over the whole pad to cover any nicks or flaws in the concrete. But right now, I’m trying to finish the big stuff.

Although the exterior paint isn’t done, I’m anxious to get my patio organized so I can use it!
The patio roof has been prepped for the metal roofing, which has been ordered. However, we got snow and the roof leaked onto the patio below.
Right outside my back door. What a mess!
Ricky, my electrician is installing the exterior lights.
New exterior lights.
I found these tiled house numbers locally, but I think I need something more modern. I ordered a different one online and think it’ll be better.
The lights at night. I’ll change the bulbs to dimmer bulbs so I can adjust the amount of light they put out.

I expect the siding crew to be back next week to finish the siding around the new patio slider. I already have a painter lined up to paint the siding, and my gutter guy will be here to attach the gutters next. The last big thing is the metal roof on the back patio. Hopefully in 2 weeks this part of the project will be done.

Starting is actually scary and wonderfully intimidating…

I’ve done 20+ remodels and each time I get excited and nervous as I plan and schedule. What is my goal? What style do I want? How much money can I spend?… the list of considerations is long!

Built in 1934, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 893 finished square feet upstairs, 310 unfinished square feet basement.  There is an original carriage house on the back part of the lot.

This house has always been in need of some TLC, and I picked away at the upgrades while I had tenants living here. In 2012, I remodeled some of the interior and took down the garage. I removed the dead juniper trees, planted an Aspen tree and threw down some grass seed in the front yard.

The garage (on the left) was in poor shape and I had it taken down in 2012, leaving just a concrete slab.

It wasn’t until recently I really thought about what I could do with this house. Once I decided to move in and work on this gem, I began the process of deciding how to proceed. Considering my lifestyle, the neighborhood and budget, I settled on a modern Farmhouse style home.

Dead Juniper trees in the front yard.
Original garage.

You see me convert this awesome bungalow into a charming home this year!

I bought this house in 2005 with long term tenants living here ever since. When the tenants moved out, I got the opportunity to move into this house August 2018 and started the process of renovation, beginning with the exterior. My plan is to create a perfect retirement house!

Its time to update this vintage bungalow.
View from the street. The Aspen tree was planted in 2012.

This is what you see as you park in the driveway and walk to the front door.
Old front door.
North side looking toward the walkway. Chain link fence between me and the neighbors.
South side driveway and garden boxes.
Overgrown garden boxes, volunteer trees and weeds.
Covered back porch with iron scroll and white painted 2×4 posts.
Original concrete slab once had a garage sitting on top.
Overgrown garden boxes and weeds.
Sprinkler system was installed in 2017.
North view of back yard.
North side of house walkway.
I like the tongue and groove cedar paneling on the ceiling, the florescent light fixtures
not so much.
Back porch looking South.
South view of the back porch.
The original back door with utilities mounted in full view!

Now, to make the exterior interesting!

The first thing I had to do was to take out the concrete porch and walkway from the city sidewalk to the front of the house.
Where the concrete walkway used to be.
My awesome neighbor split the cost of a new cedar fence with me. We both are happy to see the chain link fence gone!
The new fence looks clean and tidy.
I also had the walkway made wider, 4′.
Garden boxes are removed and a stubborn tree stump dug out.
This whole landing, where the concrete porch was, sat higher than the rest of the yard.
This is just ugly and beat up. I can’t wait to turn this space into a feature instead of an eyesore outside my kitchen window!

The old slab where the garage once stood is badly cracked. I used about half the slab (on the right) as a base for a garden shed with an added concrete ramp for my wheel barrow! The rest of the concrete will come out and be replaced with Breeze, my wonder material!

These guys work hard! Landscaping and construction is physical work and I appreciate the help getting these projects knocked out!

The jackhammer was super loud, so I took this pic through the window (and screen). These are the guy’s at Spartan Landscaping breaking up the concrete. Perfect way to start my morning…

Then weed barrier and Breeze.
The yard is a rubik’s cube right now until I get everything done and can start the fun part of decorating and setting up!

Temporarily using this space for all my big planter pots and fire pit until the siding is up on the house. Then, I’ll place the pots around the front and side yard of the house under the arbor.

I took an opportunity to get away from all the construction to go look for flagstone. I bought this 1/2 pallet of flagstone steppers.
And a 5′ x 18″ x 6″ step for the front door. The step was $275, but worth it to make the front door look more welcoming. It turns out, I’ll need a 2nd step for the front.
Once the concrete was removed, we discovered there was no foundation under the entry. That’s not what you want to find!
The excavation shows things previously unknown. I like to say ” Everything takes longer and costs more than expected” And this project reinforces my theory.

David poured concrete with wood footers to support the front entry. Once it cured, he added wood supports between the entry and the concrete footer, then wrapped it with moisture barrier. In the 2 days the entry had no support, my wood floors inside were falling through the bottom of the porch inside. Geez!

Reinforced entry with moisture barrier. You can see the original wood siding at the side and bottom of the entry.

They got the breeze laid down and I didn’t like how the area where the concrete was taken out was higher than the rest of the space. Kinda like a bubble outside the front door. So the landscaper had to scrape the Breeze off of the weed barrier and take out a lot more dirt to make it level in front of the door. Then they put the barrier and Breeze back down. I used pieces of flagstone to make a walkway around the front and sides of the house. All the upside down recycling bins are covering big holes where the arbor posts will go.

After they removed more dirt, the whole front and side are level. The 2nd flagstone step is on order.

Because we removed so much dirt from in front of the door, I had to buy another Flagstone step, which I had to order and wait for delivery. This shows the landing where the 2nd step will sit, just outside the front door to the house on top of the first flagstone step.

Placing 6×6 cedar posts for the arbor.

David had a great trick to pour dry concrete mix and water into a tarp. 2 guys would stand on both sides of the tarp and “mix” the powder and water by swishing it around in the tarp then pour it into the holes. Pretty smart!

Once the posts were in, they built supports to keep them straight until the concrete cured- overnight.
It already looks so much cleaner!
When the siding is removed you can see the back of the lathe and plaster interior walls. Very cool to see the way houses were built in the 1930’s.

Headers for the arbor will be attached directly to the support studs of the house. When they removed the old siding we discovered very old and limited insulation in the walls. Another unexpected expense!

Once the headers where up, David began installing the rafters on the arbor.
All the hardware and brackets had to be sprayed Black as they were galvanized originally.
Finally, the space is fresh! It feels like a place to hang out. No more concrete pad, just breeze and cedar. Love it!
The arbor and landscaping are done in the front! Can’t wait for new siding!