I was at The Farm (I talked all about helping design The Big House there with my dad in this post) for Labor Day weekend and thought to myself I should share another project that I designed there - The Bunkhouse. My parents and then eventually just my dad spent summers at The Farm. When my brothers and I were young adults we would visit frequently at the same time. As we aged and had families of our own we would make separate visits because it was hard to comfortably sleep everyone at once. My dad's greatest wish was that The Farm would always be home base for our family and that we could all be there at the same time at least once per year - Thanksgiving, his favorite holiday.
When it became clear that sleeping eight grandchildren and six adults, plus my dad in the three bedroom Big House and the three bedroom (very) Little House (I will take interior pictures of the Little House next time in I am in West Virginia and share it in another post) was really not feasible we started to talk about building a bunkhouse.
The first set of plans was ambitious. We talked about having two loft bedrooms for adult couples and down below open space for bunks, an entry with a stone floor and cabinetry to operate as a mudroom, a large bathroom and a kitchenette area. I sourced spiral stairs for access to the lofts, furniture, and fixtures and my dad talked to a local builder for the structure costs. It was too much and the idea died out. I still have the full file of inspiration pictures and full set of my graph paper interior and exterior designs from the first iteration, since it did not happen though, I will not share it all. These are the first floor and loft floor plans to get a flavor:
Fast forward about a year - John and I were talking with my dad on the screened-in porch of the Big House and the idea of a bunkhouse came up again. I said "I think we went a little over the top last time, we can simplify it and try again" so while there on vacation, I designed a less grandiose version. The basic design elements were the same:
The exterior would be board and batten siding
The space would sleep eight comfortably
A separate "grown-up" bedroom
A good size bathroom
This is what I came up with:
I sourced furniture (from Ikea) and fixtures. My dad decided he wanted the ceilings to be ten feet high to match the Big House (they were nine feet in my design to save on lumber costs) and he got a quote from the local builder. We added it all together and we were a go!
This a picture of the Big House soon after in was built. The future site of the Bunk House is to the left of the house in this picture.
The future sight of the bunkhouse is where this picture was taken from:
The beginning of breaking ground:
After construction began (which my dad was overseeing most of the time since I was in Michigan except for check-in visits) my dad mentioned in passing to me on the phone that he had the builders put the French entry doors in the front to face out to the view (the same as the Big House front door) rather than towards the Big House. "What????? Dad, I said, that changes everything!" He said, "no it doesn't, what's the big deal, Kerry, it's just doors." Well, it did change the floor plan and resulted in us needing an extra window - no big deal, just some revisions! These are the revised plans:
Following are all of the plans for the builders, electricians, etc.
This is the interior wall where the front door is located:
This is the interior wall opposite the entry:
The two sides of the master bedroom wall:
My dad and I really wanted to find a piece of furniture to be used for the vanity in the bathroom and found one at an antique store in Thomas, West Virginia. It was synchronicity because we were just saying that it was time to give up and buy a standard vanity when we walked into the store! These are the plans for the conversion of the furniture to vanity.
Now, it's time to see the graph paper come to life!
I have to say, my dad made the right call moving the French doors, don't you agree? The Bunkhouse turned out to be amazing in every way!
The bunkhouse was completed in October 2013. That same month I did some antique and accessory shopping in Michigan, as well as all of the linen shopping, and then my older daughter and I loaded up every inch of my car and drove down to West Virginia for a weekend to set everything up in time for our first all family Thanksgiving at The Farm with Bunkhouse accommodations! It is hard to believe we have been using the Bunkhouse for eight years now. Harder still to think that my mom never saw it and that this will be our third Thanksgiving without my dad. The Farm is still home base though, Dad.
Here we all are on that first Thanksgiving:
Thank you for visiting today. I will be back tomorrow with my first installment of Furniture Fever. I hope to see you there!