Thursday, December 27, 2012

Doors - A Highly Over-rated Commodity!

Our family had the wonderful good fortune of spending Christmas with my parents in the highlands of the remote American Redoubt.  My parents live on the homestead where I was raised, amid glacier-fed creeks, alpine meadows and hundreds of miles of unbroken wilderness.  Their home is one of singular beauty.

When I was growing up, we lived in an older, single-wide mobile home, that to my tastes, lacked character and charm.  Years after I left home, my parents set about building their perfect retreat - a compact cabin with the capacity to house innumerable people should the need arise.  When it is just the two of them, they raise the attic staircase and live comfortably in their two bedroom cabin with stunning views.  When our considerably ample clan arrives, they lower the staircase, double their square footage and make room for a house-full.

My parents home is lovely.  They have composite "hardwood" floors, walls separating rooms and, my children's favorite feature - doors.  Nice floors, walls and doors are all things I have secretly (or not so secretly) coveted since moving into our "shouse".  It is soooo nice to spend time in our own room (complete with walls and a door) and take leisurely baths in a room with a lock!

The first few days spent in my parents home is something akin to staying in a 5 star resort.  And then, the doors begin to get the best of me.  Yes, the doors!  In our home, we have large pieces of furniture separating rooms and curtains coverings the "doorways".  While I often complain about the lacking doors, I have come to appreciate my curtains.  Curtains never slam.  You have no idea when the children go in and out of a room 15 times in a row.  Never, do you have a child on one side of the curtains and a child on the other side, trying to use the curtains as a barrier - it just doesn't work!

The view from my parents front porch

It has been so long since I have lived in a "normal" house, that I have forgotten how stressful it is!  When I lived in a house with hardwood floors and wall to wall carpeting, I worried about the kids coming into the house with snow all over their boots.  Not in a shouse with concrete floors!  When we had nicely painted, sheet-rocked walls, I worried about the kids scraping the walls with toys or wiping dirty hands on them.  Not so in a shouse with no interior walls to worry about!  When we lived in a house with doors, I was careful to make sure we didn't have kids behind closed doors (you never know what can happen!).  In a shouse with no doors - well, it keeps honest kids honest.

A mist rising from the creek

We had a wonderful Christmas spent with our favorite people in the world - my parents.  When all was said and done, I received the unexpected gift of contentment.  I had the opportunity to see my "shouse" through new eyes and appreciate all of the unconventional "character" that I have been blessed with.

And now I know - doors are a highly over-rated commodity!


  1. Enola Gay,

    Door are over-rated! I prefer having a shouse instead of a formal house. The idea of having a concrete is wonderful. If you have a mess, it's so much easier to clean up. You don't have to worry about ruining the floor.
    I'm so happy to hear you, hubby and the kiddos had a great time with your parents.
    I spent most of my holidays down south with my parents too. I just wish it was for the holidays and not in the hospital because Dad is sick.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say the pictures you posted above are beautiful. That part of the country is like living in heaven.

  2. Enola,


    I had my little house in South Texas built in 2005. I chose a south facing lot and double checked magnetic north with a compass I had. No windows on the westside because of the heat from late afternoon sun. Extra insulation, hurricane shutters etc. I really, really regret getting carpet in the bedrooms. Now the carpet has Remlube, Triflow, and Mobil One Synthetic in the carpet of a bedroom that has been turned into a work room of sorts. The master bedroom has carpet has pathways warn into it (I have ceramic tile in the kitchen, living room, hallways)
    I figure that I will just replace the carpet when I sell the house and move. On the doorways thing, I don't mind doors, with a few kids, well that may be different. If I have teenagers one day, them doors will be armored, and I can lock them up until they grow up:)

  3. So beautiful. It looks so peaceful to live there.

  4. We bought a new house 5 years ago, nice home in a nice community. I replaced the master bedroom door with a heavy duty reinforced door with three hinges and a stronger lock. Suprisingly inexpensive and now suprisingly strong. That is our last defense in the event of break-in and a convenient way to secure things we don't want anyone to get to when we are not at home.

  5. It's such an encouragement to see your contentment. We live rather differently than most and sometimes I think I must be weird for not wanting cell phones,t.v.'s and a McMansion house but then I come hear for a shot of support...Thanks!

    Also I wanted to add that I have the feeling your blog won't be here for much longer and we live several states away which means that when the SHTF (which is coming soon I believe)we might never meet this side of heaven but I want you to know how much your blog has encouraged and informed our family and promoted a lifestyle that must be retained if there be any hope for this once great nation.

    So thank you and good luck in these coming years and storms ahead. May God bless you folks and give you the strength and perseverance to follow Him no matter what comes your way. Take care and hope ya'll have a Happy New Year!

  6. Old army blankets or moving pads and clothesline make good impromptu "doors", and bookshelves(loaded with books) make fair walls. Stunning view from your parents' place. I've lived out in the country, but the views tended to be other trailers, a junkyard(which can be kinda cool, and always convenient), cattle, or a partially submerged houseboat. The Shouse sounds kinda cool-think of it as a house with a variable geometry interior..
    Captain Crunch-right out of high school, I lived with an aunt and uncle for a while, in a desolate part of the Rust Belt-a Ford 300 Six hung from the ceiling of the dining room on chains for the whole winter-my bed was an old bedframe sitting on 16 inch rims...

    1. Hey Anon,


      that sounds cool. gives me and idea for my next "Extreme Redneck Bedroom Makeover" A mattress sitting on 16 inch rims!

      that is so cool.

      When I was in the military, I shared a condo with two other roommates and we had two 318 Dodge engine blocks were the kitchen table should be. I don't know about them Mopar people, they ain't right. I will maybe adopt a homeless 12 valve Cummins diesel (engine) inside my house. Maybe put it where the TV was.

      I love the smell of Rotella diesel oil jn the morning, smells like Redneck!

      I have a friend that has a Primer Grey 1966 Chevy Pickup truck, with a 1995 Emerald green Chevy truck bed (yeah it really exist) It has no engine and maybe I could mount a 12 valve cummins "Adopted diesel" somehow under the hood and make it work.

      I'd call it, "Frankentruck"

  7. What do you mean when you say shouse? I read your posts and have no idea what you are referring to except that it is how you describe your home.
    Our home has lots of doors. I like closing doors.

    1. shop+house=shouse
      A shop converted to a house, at least living quarters.

  8. My parents also live in a shouse. My mom got tired of yucky concrete floors so one day she took a sponge, cut some grooves in it and used it to stamp "woodgrain" onto the concrete floor she had just finished painting to resemble wood flooring. Then she took a real crocheted rug from her mother in law, sopped the back of it in different colors of paint and set it in front of their bedroom doorway, then stomped on it to reproduce a "rug". Every person who has ever walked in the bedroom has "wiped" their feet on the rug, even after years of seeing this fake rug there. She also painted one on the floor in front of the front door. It always make me laugh to see people "wiping" their feet when they walk in. She also painted a red brick floor in the kitchen area. She is not an artist, just decided to try it one day. People always comment on how original her shouse is, and she is finally starting to appreciate it. For Thanksgiving, there were the 3 adults who live there, 4 adults visiting, and 9 of the 11 grandkids staying at Grammy and Grandpa's shouse. And we were cozy but not crowded. I think if I had a choice, I would build a shouse. Very Versatile. My parent's shouse was originally the equipment shop for my dad's parent's heavy construction business. Our first Thanksgiving there, there was still a forklift, welding equipment, and a bunch of tools still inside. Gradually, they have turned it into a great place for a large family. Upstairs holds 2 huge bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a living room. Downstairs is the kitchen, dining area, living room, laundry, mom and dad's room and bathroom, and shop for dad. Probably more information that you wanted to know, but I like to let others know about the possibilities for future commune living options. Anyways, thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures and thoughts on doors!

  9. i live in a ripped out and rebuilt the way i want it doublewide mobile home...nothing mobile about it these days...very few doors to get in the way and quite cozy for the two old retired folks living here. i think a home is whatever you like that works for you and yours.

  10. Love the thought of "doubling the floor space" by lowering the attic stairs.

    I would love to see the floor plan, even if it's just a simple sketch that you drew and took a picture of and posted. We are in the process of drawing up our own floor plan and it would be neat to see that idea. About how many square feet downstairs are we talking about?

    Also, is the house a full two story or just a steep roof that allows for attic living space?

    Thanks and glad you enjoyed Christmas with your parents. You are blessed indeed!

  11. My house is big. I heat with wood and cool with an evaporative (swamp) cooler. One good thing about doors - they help keep the "warm" in where you want it during cold weather and keep it out of where you don't want it during the summer.

    Hangtown Frank