The Boonville Cottage…Clearing the Lot, Felling the Tree and shopping for ADA Compliant Products

We are still preparing our lot in Boonville and getting ready to build our new ADA compliant cottage.  The building and planning departments have just sent back our plans with a few more requests and some hoops to jump through.  Most of the issues have to do with the ADA .  That’s OK…it’s all part of the process.  I only hope that we can get everything approved soon so that we can get the main shell of the house up before the rains come.  Once winter sets in, we’ll be unable to continue working outside.

The land was recently dozed and smoothed out and the rose garden area had a rough tilling.  My husband felled a huge tree that was in the way and was rotting from the inside out.  It’s a big relief to have that done.  We were worried that the tree would fall on to the neighbor’s motor home at any moment.  The roses and hydrangeas for the gardens have arrived.  I’ve replanted them all in larger pots and given them a dash of fertilizer.  I’m afraid that we’ve lost a couple of plants while we were away on vacation, but the rest are thriving on my porch steps, just waiting for the cooler, fall weather.

I’m now shopping for chic, ADA compliant bathroom and kitchen fixtures.  Easier said than done!  I’m finding a few sites in the UK, such as Wheel Chic Home that have some great ideas, but sadly, many of the products they suggest are just not available in the USA.  Americans are way behind when it comes to designing fashionable homes that are handicapped friendly.  It’s sad, really.  Most of the images that I’ve found from the US look very industrial, like something out of a hospital ward.  Who wants a house that looks like that?  However, I’m bound and determined to change that…at least in my little corner of the world.  I really want this little cottage to be absolutely beautiful, restful and easy for the disabled guest to stay and get around in.  I’ve started a, “wish list for the disabled,” of less obvious items to help me with picking out the right products.  While these are not on the ADA required list, they are still excellent ideas.

  • kitchen sink with side faucets that are easier to reach
  • microwave/coffee center in a low cabinet
  • door levers, not knobs
  • high contrast fixtures and furniture for the seeing impaired
  • a place to store wheelchair, or crutches
  • slightly higher toilet
  • slightly lower sinks/counters, with knee space
  • no vessel sinks
  • pretty grab rails where needed.
  • towel bar/grab bar on back side of bathroom door
  • roll-in shower with chic, teak, fold-down seat
  • shower controls outside the spray area
  • no rugs
  • recliner chair that’s easy getting to up and out of
  • no super low furniture
  • high shelves: decorative, low shelves/drawers: storage
  • low, or no thresh holds in doorways
  • wheelchair friendly garden paths
  • wheelchair parking areas in garden
  • fire alert  and security system with lights and siren

That’s my starter list.  I’m sure that I’ll come up with some more thoughts along the way.  If you have any good ideas, I’d love to hear them.



Designing and Decorating the Boonville Cottage and Gardens

So…OK…we don’t even have our plans approved yet, but I’m already chomping at the bit and ready to sink my teeth into this new project.  After all, one can never start too early with creative endeavours… I’m so excited!

I’m really hoping that the entire, “Boonville Cottage,” project will reflect a sense of place and history.  Even though it is going to  be a new building, I want it to feel like it’s been there forever. It’s important that it has that, “Anderson Valley,” vibe, and not look like it came out of some showroom in NYC.  On top of everything else, it has to be welcoming.

I’ve decided to decorate the cottage in a similar way that my own home is done…simple, used, vintage items that have lots of soul and casual comfort.  Nothing too fancy, frivolous, nor overly trendy; just a, “feel-good,” kind of decorating.  I’ve been completely inspired by designer, Molly Hyde English’s style and her book, “Camps and Cottages.”  Her style is so similar to mine and I’ll love looking through her website and reading her newsletter for new ideas and products.

I already have several furniture pieces that I have in mind to use. They’ll all need refurbishing…that will keep me busy for awhile.  I’ll definitely be heading over to Miss Mustard Seed’s  for her wonderful milk paints and new ideas. I’d also really like to create my own fabrics for some of the upholstery projects.  Spoonflower is a fabulous resource for doing that. If I don’t have time for that, then it’s Brick House Fabrics for their amazing collection of traditional prints and yardage.

It’s also time to get out my paints and create some wall art.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious painting.  My DIL is a very talented artist and I hope to get her involved in this project.  but, if her schedule doesn’t permit that, then I’ll have to wing it on my own.  The DH is willing to make me some custom, art frames out of old growth redwood and knotty madrone.  (He’s also willing to make a unique dining table for the cottage. Boy…am I’m a lucky girl!)

The gardens will be trickier.  It’s plants will need time to grow and mature, so the first year, or two, will look a little stark, I’m afraid.  I’m going to have to come up with some strategies for filling in the bare spots until the foundation plantings take over.  There’s nothing a few packets of flower seeds can’t solve.

Building a new garden can also be an expensive venture.  I’m hoping that I can clone as many hedge plants as possible over the next couple of months to save on plant costs. I’m always on the lookout for little snips and cuttings of plants as I walk my dog, “Lucy,” through town.  (I never take anything that is in their yard, only what is growing on the public parkway.)

I can also draw from my own collection of plants that have been lovingly passed down through the generations, such as a Clivia plant from my late mom’s house, giant callas from Gramma’s, scented geraniums from a friend’s yard and several plants that were gifts from my son and daughter.  All of these can be divided and multiplied to be used in the new place.  Spread, err…plant the love, I say.

As far as the roses go, I’m certainly not going to scrimp, or cut corners here.  They are the center pieces of the garden.  I will only order from a company that I trust to give me superior plants and that’s David Austin Roses. Over the years, I’ve tried several companies for ordering roses online for my own, personal residence I have to say, and David Austin is by far the best in their selection and quality of products and service.  Even today, as we approach the winter months, my David Austin roses are still lush, green and still blooming, while the other roses look tired, leafless and weak.  There’s just no comparison.

There will be other garden elements needed. I’ll be hunting for free compost, garden benches, birdbaths, etc.  You never know what we’ll find.  I’ll be making my own planters for the deck out of old, used redwood, downed logs, or possibly clay or cement.

All in all, I’ll have my hands full.  I love it all!  I just hope that my energy level can keep up with my imagination.  My fingers are crossed!

I’ve decided to add a new category in the index just for the Boonville cottage, which will be where I’ll be continuing the writings on this project, so please look for that when you revisit.

~ C