Originally dubbed “the Studio,” the third structure at Camp Davis is, at the moment, little more than a glorified shed. It has a deck, a fair amount of windows, and an amazing wood stove, but it’s completely unfinished on the inside (and only half-finished on the outside). We’re talking bare drywall, no ceiling (think “exposed” beams, only they shouldn’t be), and plywood floors. The space itself is pretty big, split into two levels with two steps in the middle. But it’s a blank slate. Which, for us dreaming renovators, is pretty awesome.
It currently has two functions: 1) Storage for recyclables until we can manage to haul them over to the county recycling center (and at a place like Camp Davis, where we go to – ahem – indulge ourselves, we build up a decent amount of bottles and cans in a short amount of time); and 2) Workshop and tool storage.
In doing our walk-through the realtor generally referred to the structure as “the Studio,” as the previous owner (an artist from Dallas) used it as a space to work on her art. The name sort of stuck, even if it never reflected the vibe or nature of the space as we know it. After two and half years, lots of pondering and some going-with-the-flow, we finally found inspiration for re-naming it.
Perhaps starting as early as this summer (because, you know, we don’t have anything else going on *cough* baby coming *cough*) – we plan to re-invent it. The grand scheme is to convert the Studio into a great big living room area, with couches and daybeds, and plenty of space to host my gigantic immediate family into the same space, at the same time, in a way that is, hopefully, somewhat comfortable. I’m one of five kids, plus significant others, plus our children, plus our parents, and plus a few hangers-on that we’ve informally adopted into the greater Davis tribe – which brings the last count to over 20 people in all.
We all get along really well, our gatherings are usually riotous if not utterly chaotic, so at this point we’re plenty used-to squeezing into the same room for the sake of being in each others’ company. Part of the motivation behind buying Camp Davis was to hopefully have a space big enough where we might all fit together. The dream, now, is that the Tin Can can serve that purpose.
First order of business: finish the outside, protect the structure from weather, seal it up nice so the work we do on the inside isn’t ruined shortly thereafter, and hopefully ensure a bit of longevity. This includes replacing the tin roof that, due to it’s small pitch and poor patching, leaks like a sieve when it rains or the snow melts. We’ll also need to extend the roof on all four sides to create a small overhang beyond the walls, which it’s currently lacking. Again, this is for the purposes of sealing it from weather. A roof that doesn’t over-hang the wall it’s covering isn’t much of a roof at all.
With a new roof in place, the rest of the structure will finally be worth fixing up. Of course, being house-rich and cash-poor, we need to do our best at re-using what we have. The tin roof that we just removed will become the siding on the un-finished portion of the structure, which is what has led us to finally coming up with a proper name for the place: the Tin Can. Before the new siding goes on we’ll need a layer of house wrap, and we’re considering a layer of exterior foam-board insulation. From there I plan to invest a small fortune in caulk, and proceed to make this place air tight. Since the sole source of heat will be the wood stove, the better we insulate the place the more comfortable it will be. Finally, we’ll need to replace the gutters on the outside as they do more harm than good at this point. The covered red-half of the structure will get a new coat of barn paint as well.
As daunting as the exterior renovation feels, each step will mean major progress. It’s not instant gratification, but I’ll be able to see the improvement almost right away. For me, that means continued motivation.
The interior requires some demolition, clean up and hauling away before we can take any steps forward. It’s become the catch-all for junk and garbage, and for tools and materials saved for later projects. It’s getting very hoardery in there. It’s scary. Clearing it out will feel good, but will be a lot of work in itself.
Once we clean the blank slate that is the inside, we’ll work from the top down. The ceiling will get new insulation and drywall, and in all likelihood so too will the walls. Under a leaky roof for so long there will be plenty of mold that needs ripping out from behind the old dry wall. We’ll also tinker with the electrical around the space, most likely adding outlets and switches here and there – a previously over-looked aspect of the construction.
Underfoot we’d like to avoid any short-term solutions. Of course, that sort of permanent fix is expensive (especially when your vision accepts nothing but hardwood in the space). Unfortunately, that means we’ll have to do something cheap before we’re ready to splurge on the material.
Since our trip to California Wine Country I’ve been obsessing over this concept of painted floors with contrasting dripped paint spots throughout.
It’s very old-school, and just rustic enough to fit the design of the Tin Can, and Camp Davis in general. The point of floors like this “back in the day” was to hide imperfections and to make tracked-in dirt less visible between cleanings. That sounds right up my alley. The floors pictured above (at the ranch on MacMurray Vineyard), date back to the property’s original use as a real farmhouse. In researching more painted floors I found that this is something that’s used pretty often in New England, particularly in places near the beach. I’m sure the motivation comes from the same place.
Or maybe something crazy, like this:
In any event, it’s cheap and could look pretty cool. With a little extra effort, this could be done directly onto plywood instead of installing any rough-cut lumber first – saving even more money.
So that’s the rough outline as we currently see it. Of course there will be plenty of little deviations and side-projects thrown in; renovating old spaces never seems to travel in a straight line. And I haven’t really touched the decorating aspect of it. That can wait for another day. First let’s make something worth decorating.
If you’d like to get a peak at our thought process and vision, you can follow the Tin Can @ Camp Davis on Pinterest, where I’m posting all sorts of inspiration for the space. I think I’m finally getting a handle on this whole Pinterest thing, at least for design planning purposes. It’s really quite useful in that department. You can follow the rest of my Camp Davis, DC and other pinning here.