Updates on Our Mountain Cabin Fixer-Upper

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I remember the day we drove up that mountain and rounding the corner to see the road filled with rushing creek water.  The water was spilling from a waterfall on the right side of the road, flowing across the road and back to the left side as the rushing creek continued its way.  I may as well have been a little girl again; filled with such wonder at nature and excitement that I would soon be passing through rushing water.  I could hear the water splashing against the tires as we continued through and just as the back tire cleared we turned left into the drive of a mountain cabin that took my breath away.

You may be asking and I wouldn't blame you, "This took your breath away?"
Yes, she did!
Though dirty and in disrepair this ugly duckling that is bordered by two rushing creeks grabbed my heart...but it was over a year before I could call her mine.

I shared the story of how she became ours here (with pictures and videos of the property), but I wanted to share how she looked close up and which projects we tackled first as we began our fixer upper journey.  I will go ahead and warn you that it's not pretty, but sometimes things look bad before they look good; right?!  That's what I keep telling myself so I won't become discouraged!

We were told that no one had lived in the cabin for over two years and it is filthy both inside and out.  Missing siding, missing gutters, peeling paint, wires galore, bird and hornet's nests on the exterior, and the list goes on...it's a mess, but she has good bones and I have high hopes!

There is a bird's nest above the light, peeling paint and it is DIRTY!  Just look at those windows...

Several old hornet's nests here and there...

Birds' nests and wires galore...

Did you catch the part about wires galore?!

The cleanest thing on the property was the garage.  You may remember there is a garage, log cabin and storage building connected?  Here you can see the back wall of the garage is one side of the attached log cabin.

I shared earlier about our decision not to purchase a log cabin as our main mountain retreat but I still got one!  It is a small log cabin moved from the Cataloochee Ranch and I have some ideas floating around in my head as to how we can use it but that decision will be made way, way, down the road.

We have been told that the previous owner was an artist and this was her studio.  She would open the studio to other artists in the community who could come and use the sound and views of the creek as inspiration for their creations...how nice!  She also invited them to leave their mark inside the log cabin...DO WHAT?!?! 

Josh, Riley, Katie, Danielle, and many others left their mark and I have a big mess to clean up!
I am so thankful that ONLY Jessica and A.W. left their mark on the log portion...so thankful!

The cabin was built in 1964 and in such disrepair, we knew it would be a top-to-bottom, inside-and-out remodel and were prepared for the worst so we did not have a home inspection.  We did have a septic inspection.  In homes this old there are usually no septic records on file so it took a while for the guys to locate the septic system.  They knew where the floats and alarm system were located but the rest took a while to find.

Yes, this is what the toilets looked like...winterizing stuff gone yuck!  (You did want to see everything from start to finish...didn't you?! :-)  The painted trim in the bathroom will be replaced as well as the flooring.

Our first plan of attack was to remove the ceiling tiles, remove the vents from the old heating and air vent system which was discarded long ago, remove the carpet from the stairs and hallway, and changing the door locks.

I started removing the ceiling tiles while my mister changed the locks.

Notice the signature in red on the header below?  There were quite a few signatures along the header and each was left by folks who painted the herbs on the kitchen cabinets, installed the tile backslash, installed the sink in the bathroom, etc., and each added their signature to the header.
(I have no words!)

Here my mister is removing some of the old vent system.

Then we began removing the furring strips.  The ceiling is already low and we hope that by removing the ceiling tiles and furring strips we can leave the beams exposed.  Time will tell, but for now that's the plan.

This furring strip had a message:
(Guess someone didn't like their boss?)

All the ceiling tiles, furring strips and vents have been removed and it looks so much better!  I tried painting the terracotta tiles closest to the fireplace to see if I there is anyway to keep these floors...nope!  They've got to go.

We also removed the carpet runner on the stairs and in the upper hallway which helps a lot with the smell...STINKY!  The stairs and upper flooring is pine and I can't wait to have them refinished.

I must say that with each tile removed, vent removed, carpet removed, cobweb removed, birds nest removed, wire removed...things look better and I feel more encouraged.  

When things become overwhelming and I wonder if what I hope for in the end will ever come to be I remember the Elk that pass by...

I sit by the creek to watch and listen to the beauty that surrounds me...

I think of the beautiful snow that was here not too long ago...

And as I watch Ellie-Mae frolic in the snow I am reminded of that little girl wonder I experienced while passing over the rushing creek waters just up the drive.

I hope you will follow along on our Creekside Mountain Cabin Fixer Upper adventure!


  1. This is a pcs of heaven what a beautiful place
    Yo go a way from civilization I live the places I can't way to see wen is finish loved!

  2. Looks like you've got an excellent start! Lots of work ahead but it sounds like you two are up to doing it. I like the snowy picture- very Christmas like!

  3. Oh- I love it- there is nothing more satisfying than to see your work actually show visible signs of improvement. Sometimes you do things that have to be done and there is absolutely no way of measuring the progress by sight. You are moving right along.

    I love projects like this and I think you are going to love every moment when you are done and can sit by that stream and just breathe deep and enjoy each moment.

    I meant to ask. How far from a town are you? xo Diana

  4. Wow, what a cool adventure and what a wonderful place to be......
    Good you are reminding yourself of all the wonderful benefits, and I am sure it will be a dream
    come true.......but it just might take a while but looks like yall have accomplished quite a bit
    Look forward to hearing all about it over the months to come.
    Blessings on your new cabin and adventures.

  5. You have a lot of work ahead of you but its a labor of love. I see the potential and why you know its the right place for you and your husband. You need only to look around...those elk!!!

    Jane x

  6. Cindy, this is definitely not a project for the faint-hearted! But you are making great progress and I know the finished product will be perfect for you! Seeing elk...how amazing!

  7. I can see why the property took your breath away. The setting alone is so peaceful and serene. The house will be fabulous when you are finished with all the ripping out and remodeling. The horse's a** remark is funny...I have worked on projects for a designer and her carpenters would have probably penned something worse...ha! Oh my goodness...elk! I wonder if they eat flowers like the deer.

  8. Congratulations! Beautiful property! Please show us EVERYTHING! This is something I want to do soooo bad but at a much smaller scale! Love! Love! Love! Can just picture a warm fire, candle light & lots of wonderful wood.

  9. It is so interesting to watch your progress towards your dream. It looks like you've had a great start. Whenever I have a seemingly impossibly large project, I just take it a few inches at a time and try not to be intimidated by the whole picture, which can be overwhelming. You will be so happy when your efforts are completed. Don't get discouraged. We're all pulling for and waiting anxiously for the next chapter! Hang it there! You won't regret it when you're sitting outside, relishing the rushing water, and being comforted by the beauty of nature surrounding you. Rosie @ The Magic Hutch


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