My family loves being outdoors…biking, hiking, hunting, fishing, and the list goes on. When my wife and I purchased nearly 600 wooded acres about two hours from our suburban home, there was no there was no doubt we’d be spending many weekends there with our kids, extended family and friends. We have a couple of nice fishing lakes and several trails for hiking and riding ATVs and dirt bikes. On long weekends we invite friends and family to the property for cookouts, swimming, fishing and camping in tents. When the fall hunting season rolls around the place transforms into “deer camp” as my brother and a couple hunting buddies arrive with their pop-up campers. I am certain everyone has enjoyed numerous hours and days of fun at our little piece of the wilderness.
However, my wife and I do have an eye focused on our retirement. This is the place where we’d like to build a home, the place where we will grow old together and spend time with our grand kids. But in the meantime, we are not getting any younger and camping is getting to be a little bit harder on the body. Plus with teenagers now, no trip to the woods is easy. We strategically load the ATV and dirt bikes on the bed of the truck and pack everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) around them until the truck cannot hold one more thing. Then we hitch up the boat and trailer and away we go to our wooded getaway where we will spend at least a few hours unloading and setting up camp before the fun can begin.
It seemed to my wife and I that there had to be a better way. That’s when we decided to build a garage apartment. It was the perfect solution to our packing challenges and it makes spending the night more comfortable. We chose a garage apartment that would accommodate all of our needs. With a large garage area, we now have room to park the truck while we are there and also have a place to store the boat, ATV and dirt bikes safely while we are away. With so much storage space, we’ve expanded out “water toy collection” a little bit. Now we have a canoe and a pair of kayaks that hang from the garage ceiling when not in use. But these aren’t the only things we needed to store. We didn’t want to have to pack up and bring our fishing poles, tackle boxes, life jackets and hunting clothes every time we left suburbia for the woods. With a little research, I was able to find garage organizers for all of these things and now we can just put everything away at the end of the weekend leaving all of it in the country. Better than that, we don’t have to spend hours unloading everything each time we arrive in the country. We just pull up, jump out of the truck and enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods.
The upstairs living quarters of our garage apartment are modest, but comfortable. The compact kitchen allows us to easily cook meals even when an unexpected storm puts the campfire out. Two bedrooms give my wife and I our own space and the kids a place to crash too. A full bath accommodates our needs. If we invite guests to stay with us for the weekend, the open and flexible living area allows room for a pull-out couch and a couple of sleeping bags. The laundry closet is something I thought we could do without, but I am sure glad my wife talked me into it. It is nice to be able to throw a load of towels in after spending an afternoon swimming in the lake or wash and dry some of the basics after hunting in the rain all day.
The garage apartment is a far cry from “roughing it,” be we can still sleep under the stars on a nice night if we want to. Besides, there are other advantages. Some have asked if we plan to build a house here in the future, why didn’t we just build the house to begin with? For starters, we are still saving up for our dream home, and we still don’t know exactly what we want. This gives us time to live with the land and figure out just where we want to build our house to get the best views and take advantage of the landscape. And when the time comes, I’ll feel lucky to have temporary living quarters at the jobsite during construction of our permanent home. It will sure beat sleeping in a tent at age sixty-something or having to drive two hours to check on the progress of construction. And when our dream home is finished, this cozy little garage apartment will be a perfect guest house and no doubt it will still be the storage space for everything it holds now.
Looking forward to living with Mother Nature for many years to come…