Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Village 'Hood

It's winter!  Hundreds of folks from across our great land travel south seeking the warm sun and relaxation found here in South Texas.

Here at Retama Village we are known affectionately as Winter Texans.  IMO, being dubbed a Winter Texan is far more romantic than being called a Snowbird, after all we don't fly!  To me, being called a Texan's conjured the thought of big, better and beautiful cowboy boots.... the 3 B's!

During the summer, Retama is very quiet .... empty!
Today I jumped onto my trusty ol' golf cart, the mode of transportation within the Village, and armed with my camera I set out to capture what our community has become.  Yes, we have many beautifully outfitted coach houses, the McMansion's of sorts, but we have many new owners this season.  Some of our new owners were renters and have taken the leap to become "lot owners" or Villagers.  Now they begin ambitious remodels -- which is the case of Vicki and Bob.

Cabinet makers set up shop 'on-site'
Vicki and Bob have taken out the original cabinets and contracted a local cabinet maker.  This chap arrived and is actually making their cabinets 'on-site'.  The goal to build a corner entertainment cabinet.  They measure, cut, re-measure and then install. And, perhaps, remeasure and recut!

This could go on forever!!! 

I just noticed in this picture that the ladder color almost matches the walls -- but not really, the walls are terra cotta!
This coach house has a trayed ceiling to add extra volume to the small space.  Our coach houses are tiny and maximizing storage is a challenge ...  custom cabinets should help! 
It will be fun to see the end results ... in a couple of days.
 This coach house is being remodeled by the new owners. Vicki loves color!  I do too!!  The corner "upper" cabinets are deep and will hold a lot of treasures.
The side back corner will be home to a stacked washer/dryer and fridge.
Down the road is Marv & Paula's place.  They have a RV super site, actually they own one of the largest RV sites.  Their back yard has been created to include a pond and palapa.  The palms leaves are used to create a tropical covering on the palapa ... it probably measures 10' across, HUGE!  Perfect for those sunny days.
Living in an RV full time has benefits

Traveling in our RV's during the summer months and calling Retama "home" during the winter months allows the owners an opportunity to create a little paradise.  Evenings sitting around a fire ... perfect end to the busy days.
The back of Marv & Paula's coach house
Just down the street, this coach house is ready for guests.  The murphy bed is tucked away when not in use.  Check out the corrugated tin / vaulted ceiling, the rough sawn paneling.  YeeHawww!  I love Texan-styled decorating. 
This coach house has a really cool ceiling finish, vaulted ceiling and rough sawn paneling.  

Outdoor living at its best, below, a custom built outdoor kitchen makes party prep easy and fun.

Bring on the steaks and margarita's
Our trees are finally creating shade and coach house patio's become retreats for socializing.  

This umbrella was given a fun, facelift -- palapa styled!.
Throughout our Village there are spaces of green .. we call they green spaces (original idea!) The green spaces are littered with trees, which are growing ... Texas Style, the 3-B's, big and beautiful.
Green Space
Some sections of our green space is adjacent to a cow pasture
If lucky, on a walk past the cows you can scratch the ear of these friendly guys.

Come sit a spell ... add the umbrella and this coach house is ready for guests.

We cannot close without talking about our butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds ... they are everywhere! Most are migratory but stop in our Village for awhile. Our community has flowers and shrubs planted throughout the Village which attracts these migratory fellows.     

We Winter Texans love their visits as they stop for a spell during their migration south in the Fall and when they return in the Spring on their way north.
We see hummingbirds in the fall and again in spring

Blackbirds by the thousands hang out here!

Sunsets at Retama ... I think this is another blog subject

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Glass and Bare Walls

Here at Retama Village our RV coach houses were designed to be a storage shed.  A 12' by 20' storage shed, a place to keep our bikes, surfboards, grills and anything else.  However, many 'Villager's' (as we have affectionately named ourselves) have created little McMansions with full entertainment centers and bathrooms, kitchens with granite counter-tops and dishwashers.  
This McMansion has built in custom closets and a murphy bed.
Its funny, our developer never dreamed of lot owners creating McMansions when he planned this special interest RV community.

But not all coach houses are McMansions!  Some coach houses remain simple and very workable, which is the case of Kathy B.  

Kathy is a Winter Texan, who with her husband Bob, found Retama three years ago.  They visited and stayed -- which seems to be the case with most visitors to Retama.  

Kathy and Bob are not lot owners, but rather have chosen to rent their RV site and coach house.  But being a renter did not stop Kathy from creating a workshop for her stain glass making.  

West facing windows cast the perfect lighting for Kathy's stain glass making.

Bear walls .... who cares!  This coach house allows Kathy to create some beautiful work ..... worry free!

Donated cabinets, overhead lighting and Kathy's ipod .... she has created a great workshop! 
Functionality and creature comforts makes this coach house a work horse.  Kathy enjoys the stacked washer & dryer, a bathroom sink for washing her glass and large work spaces for her project making.  North and west facing doors allow our warm south Texas breezes to come through.

Love my iphone panoramic photo feature.
Stain glass making requires lots of glass storage.
Glass is categorized by color.
Check out the electrically behind the storage bins.  Perhaps one day this coach house will be insulated and drywalled.  But for Kathy, a finished coach house isn't necessary.  
Beautiful glass picture frames are scattered throughout the 12 by 20.
Organization makes this coach house perfect for Kathy and her projects.
 Okay, check this clever modification out!  A folding table can work for any sized project.
When a table is too short -- simply add PVC piping to make it the right height!
This coach house has everything a designer needs without the drywall and fancy decor.  
The motorhome is parked just outside the coach house

Thank you Kathy for sharing your designs and coach house ...  its impressive indeed!

Add caption

 There are several coach houses in Retama that are workshops and studios ... another blog idea perhaps. 
Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Luxury Living - 12by20 Plus 4

In the past "It's Only a Shed" has been 12'x20' coach houses, but today we added four feet ...  12' by 24'. And what better way to start than with the coach house of Dianne and Roger.

I knew their coach house was special, but gosh darn, it's super nice and I'm so happy to be sharing it!

Dianne and Roger have been full-timing since 2008, originally from central Indiana, they have been enjoying the RV lifestyle.  Their plans were to 'winter' first in Florida, then spend the second winter in Texas and the third winter the plan was to visit Arizona.  Lucky for us, their second winter was spent in the Rio Grande Valley and they found Retama Village.  Funny enough, it was this blog "It's Only A Shed" that convinced them that wintering with a decked out coach house was the perfect plan.

Construction planning started immediately after closing on their Retama Village 'super-site".  Their challenge was to 'fit' and build a coach house that would hold several family heirlooms, some special furniture built by the Indiana Amish and other treasures they had purchased while touring in Europe.  All in a 12'by24' coach house.

Roger's 'inch by inch' planning ensured their family antiques would indeed fit.  When construction started their plans had been perfected.  The goal, to create a coach house for entertaining, using Roger's grand-mother's dining table as the center focal point.  This is an "entertaining" coach house, designed for special dinners.  
Grandmother's dining table seats six comfortably.  Dianne, what time is dinner!?

Dining here is indeed special.  
The corner kitchen, with beautiful granite, is even fitted with a dishwasher, a first I believe.
Check out the stain glass window set in the wall -- cool!

Colorful dishes didn't need to hide in a closed cabinet.  
Displayed in a vignette of color are hand-crafted bowls making kitchen work a pleasure!
I love the display & storage of the dinner plates!

Dianne and Roger were not bashful about color, their walls are a warm Terra cotta color.  
The Amish build hutches hold a treasure trove of goodies.

Dianne painted the cabinets the same color as the walls making the room feel so much larger - great decorating trip!

Cameras on our cell phones allowed me to take a panorama photo.  
My iphone has a new panoramic setting, it worked!

The tray ceiling has a copper tiled insert and the large fan keeps the air circulating.

Color, color everywhere.  This is such a fun place -- my eyes never stopped, every corner is a vignette!

Simply, yet so pretty!

Looking towards the bathroom, you will find the secretary desk, another family heirloom.  The inch by inch planning makes this coach house so efficient.

The secretary desk is exquisite, another heirloom!

The side of kitchen, with a beautiful stained glass, which was in Dianne's stick-house, was inserted into the wall during construction. 
Love, love, love the granite!

A full bathroom with corner shower gets the job done. 
 Add the custom built cabinets and every inch is maximized.  The vessel sink, well, what can we say other than WOW! 
 To the left is a full size washer/dryer.

The bathroom - check out all the storage.
Washing clothes is a breeze with the stackers

We are not done yet! Step outside of the coach house -- to the back.  
Here we find a patio and pergola for afternoon 'sun-downers'. 
The black metal chairs were Dianne's grandmothers, estimated to be 80 years old they are still super comfy and Roger's favorite.

In South Texas, we are able to grow all types of tropicals and the birdbaths attract many types of migratory birds who are looking for a quick drink.
View of the back gardens
Dianne collects rocks, isn't this a spa-like design??

The Coach House tiled floor includes in custom insert -- I'm seeing a theme here!

A little secret, the cute birdbath was originally planned for the bathroom, but a opps meant it stays outside.  Bet the birds never had it so good!

Dianne and Rogers RV site is all about privacy and nature.  

 For non-RV'ers, having the coach parked beside the coach house is an RV'ers dream come true.  
Add the 12'by24' coach house and staying 'parked' for the winter couldn't get any better.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of Dianne's and Roger's place.  

 Having reference books is mandatory.  Retama Village is adjacent to the World Birding Headquarters, The National Butterfly Center and the Bentsen Rio Grande State Park ..... nature is everywhere here!

Isn't this a cute vignette! 

While living the summer 'on the road', being able to have home grown tomatoes
is a true luxury for full-time RV'ers.

So, thank you soooooo much Dianne and Roger for sharing your "It's Only a Shed" with us! 
 It's truly a beauty!