Monday, June 30, 2014

225 Steps

Last week I had lunch with my friend Gilda, who is one of the most thought-full people I know (she's also "thoughtful," but that's an entirely different trait). She just has a way of looking at life and getting right to the heart of the things that matter.

She was asking me about our beach cottage, and when I told her how much we were enjoying it now that it's mostly done, she said, "That place has been life changing for you."

I realized she was right.  That $38,000 trashed trailer on a little plot of reclaimed marshland in a sleepy place called Kitts Hummock has indeed been life changing for me in so many ways.

It's given me a front-row seat to sunrises like this:

It's given me a place to get away from my home in a vibrant, busy college town and just enjoy the sounds of the marsh birds.

It's given me a beautiful place to walk my dog any time I want:

It's given me a fun place to putter around and decorate:

Doug just bought this vintage wagon at Brandywine View Antiques, and I couldn't wait to get it down to the beach house and figure out where to use it:

Recently, I've been captivated by the work of Jane Coslick, who is an amazingly talented designer and decorator in Savannah, Georgia. Jane has saved more than 30 sad little cottages and fishing shacks on Tybee Island. I love Jane's style because, like us, she loves and respects old things, and she has a knack for repurposing things in quirky ways. I think Jane would like what we've done to our "beach shack."

Jane named the first house she renovated on Tybee "99 Steps" because that's how far it is to the beach.

That got me curious as to how far it is to the beach from our little cottage, so I counted the steps yesterday.


And it takes me less than two minutes to walk there.

That is truly life changing for a person who loves the beach, and I never dreamed I would be able to say I owned a place that's a two-minute walk to the beach.

225 life-changing steps.

One of the other ways our little cottage was life changing for me was the experience of getting it to the point where it could be called life changing. (Yeah, I know that sounds kind of circular.)

But it was such a mess when we bought it that we weren't anywhere near ready to count steps.  We were counting gallons of paint and numbers of 2x4s.

We were so busy digging out from under moldy carpet, filthy bedding, and bad plumbing that we hardly saw the beach that first year.

But Doug and I did see each other--in a way that we really hadn't before. Some of my fondest memories from two summers ago are of us jumping into Doug's pickup truck at 7:30 in the morning with a load of tools and supplies, stopping at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast sandwiches, and heading south for another day of mucking out and rebuilding. 

And it wasn't too long before Doug's thumbs-up to the Dumpster:

turned into a thumbs-up for comfy furniture, clean white walls, plumbing that works, and cable TV:

So I want to thank Doug for helping my dream come true and Gilda for reminding me that it doesn't take a million-dollar beach house to change your life.

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