Or, The Saga of How the Mobile Home Met Its End.
Welcome again to Saturday Morning Home Repair blogging, where we talk about fixing houses, the things in them that are supposed to work for us, and fixing them up. An ad hoc cadre of building professionals and gifted amateurs attempt to answer questions that arise from readers, and offer encouragement and advice for those inclined to do things for themselves, if they can. We all do a lot of things, collectively, and can probably help out with insights from our vast experience.
Or sometimes, we just gab.
When we bought our farm in 1997, the parcel consisted of 41 acres in a half mile strip of riverbottom field between an old road and the Shenandoah River. It was part of an historic plantation, and happened to be the parcel that the plantation house sat on, and we set about restoring the house and land. Three years later we bought a 27 acre field across the road. This parcel was also long and skinny and stretch the other way between the old road in the main highway. So our property makes a huge L.
One of the reasons we bought the second field was because part of it is on a hill, and gives us about one acre of land that's out of the floodplain. It already had a well and we had a little extra cash, so we thought it would be sensible to put a new septic and grandfather a house site, since when we're old and finished with mucking about in old house stuff we'll have a nice modern passive solar to look forward to.
We thought that grandfathering the house site might prove fortuitous, given how often flood plain maps are redrawn and expanded.* So we bought a secondhand mobile home thirdhand, a 1976 Criterion, 12’ x 60’, renovated at least once, and put it in place. At first we thought we were going to rent it out, but we were having trouble with our tenant house renters just then and didn't want to borrow more trouble, when a relative wanted to clean off her porch and asked us if she could store some of her things in it. Said relative is not quite a hoarder, but rather an assiduous collector of just about everything.
You can probably see where this is going. Yes, the mobile home became a storage unit.
At least, it became a storage unit until last year. That was when we realized that, given the economy, interest rates would probably never again be as low as they are now, and we decided to build our retirement house. It’s a small plan on a small footprint: three bedrooms, two baths, a great room and kitchen, all of it handicapped accessible. We drew it up ourselves, and were eager to get started. There was one thing standing in our way: the old mobile home.
The mobile home in October 2013
* See the Flood Disclaimer at the bottom of the diary.