I write about hands. Today I’m writing about ‘hands on’. As springtime refreshes the air, water, and earth and renews the spirit, it’s time to focus on home, health, family, and friendships. A yearly project of mine is to organize all the stuff I’ve accumulated.
One of Joanna’s biggest complaints about me is that I’m a scavenger and a packrat. Since my ‘Guru of Garbage’ days, it’s not been easy for me to let go of anything useful. Even though we donate tons of stuff to yard sales and good causes, I somehow still end up building small sheds with shelves and doors to organize our clutter. They in turn create larger clutter around the property as they consolidate the smaller clutter.
One of my all-time favorite building projects was transforming storage to sanctuary. One spring equinox, several years ago, my shed muse appeared with a substantial supply of free lumber, roofing materials, and windows.
I was on my daily bike ride and stopped to check out a property for sale. There were (14) 4’ X 6’ abandoned sliding glass doors leaning against a barn. I called the broker and offered the owner $100 for all of them. He said yes. I borrowed a friend’s truck to transport them to my future clutter control site. Our neighbor across the road had $1500 worth of left over corrugated metal roofing materials he said I could have for free. Another friend was taking down a large cedar balcony and told me I could salvage anything I wanted. I scavenged enough materials from that balcony to build a 12’ X 24’ platform. The remaining building materials and hardware I purchased at Home Depot.
My friend Orin helped me build, level, and anchor the platform. I constructed the wooden frames for the walls horizontally on the platform. I relied on Orin and the kindness of neighbors to help me lift and hold everything in place while I plumbed and fastened them. I screwed (instead of nailing) the entire structure together, creating a building where everything is connected to everything else. Nothing is freestanding
Realizing I could build up as well as out, I created a second story for our storage and divided the floor space into thirds. I alternated the corrugated metal roofing materials with corrugated translucent fiberglass materials in order to provide more daylight.
I designed an 8’ X 12’ office space within satellite range so we could have internet.
I also fabricated a small combination greenhouse / guestroom within the structure.
One of the sliding doors was dedicated to creating a 4’ X 6’ cold frame attached to the greenhouse. I also built a carport on the back of the building to store our Toyota in the winter. It transforms into a small machine shop for medium size building projects in the spring, summer, and autumn.
There were enough left over building materials from our friend’s balcony to build the third story of our treehouse. It’s been great for meditation and children’s sleepovers.