Where the deer and the…other deer play

The Hardaway Cottage is one of five private properties on the grounds of the Roosevelt Rehabilitation Institute. It is surrounded by the Roosevelt State Park. The state park is home to about 300 deer. This is “home base.” They are not hunted here. Therefore, we named the front bedroom the “Deer Dreams Bedroom.” We also see deer wondering our property almost every day. It is a delight to see the new families as they graze through our front yard. One morning I was coming up to the house and I had to stop. There was a 10 point buck standing in the driveway near the front porch. It just looked at me for some time then slowly went on across the front yard. I almost forgot. I am the visitor here not the deer.

I was working on the kitchen during the remodel one evening. I looked out the window to see a doe standing 10 feet from the window in the back. It nibbled on various things as it slowly took its time. Eventually it moved on to somewhere else on the property. We are amazed at the deer’s ability to hide. They do not have to move far into the trees to disappear. They are truly the stealth animals.

This year we have a set of twin fawns that we started to see about 2 weeks ago. Mama and the twins were out in the front yard eating grass when I went outside to sit on the deck. The babies were unstable on their feet and had all of their spots. They eventually moved on into the trees. Today, we returned to the Hardaway around 5:30pm. We were just in time to catch mama and the twins eating in the yard under the trees. This is a great place.

So What Happened?

After 15 months, the Hardaway Cottage is finally ready. We purchased the house in March of 2017 and it is ready to rent June 13, 2018. Last year posts were regular and steady. Then…nothing. Everything stopped. Life is what happens while we are making other plans. I had a contract that occupied my time leaving only 2-3 days each month to work from January through March. Our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters came to help kick start the final stage in April. That help allowed us to “see the end” and move on to complete the project. I ended up living in the house for 8 weeks to complete everything. Beth came down after school was out and stayed for 2 weeks.’

While there is a small punch list left, our first guests arrived on June 13. My granddaughters came down to gift them a tour and history of the house. Then went home and collapsed. The Hardaway has become a special place to us. Beth has done her magic again and decorated perfectly in a combination of Art Deco features and modern comfort. I ended up doing a good bit of building to customize rooms and furniture. I enjoy it. Here are some pictures of some of my favorite features.

The Curved Front Porch

While the porch as the largest building project it created the most visual impact. The porch made the old “creepy” house into a welcoming home. The curved corners were difficult to make but worth every bit of effort.

The Kitchen

The kitchen was the largest internal project. We gutted everything in the room to reveal old termite damage. Then we repaired the damage, removed old flooring, refinished the hardwood floor, reconfigured and rebuilt the cabinets, and cut a hole into the adjoining bathroom for access.

The Living Room Ceiling

This is one of those “no glory” projects. We had to do it but no one will ever see the work behind it. The ceiling we bought was badly textured with tens of failing patches. We had to either remove the texture or cover it with drywall. The texture was done with plaster not compound. Beth worked for 5 days with a razor blade window scraper to remove everything. I worked another 4 days to patch, skim-coat, and repaint. Beautiful in the end.

The Alexander Headboard

The Alexander Headboard was a custom designed headboard. I found a set of mirrors with an art deco etched design for $25. The base has curved corners and uses moulding from the dining room to tie it into the house.