In Tampa, Florida, where we moved and lived for a short time in 2014-15.
With my sister, Mikki. She was diagnosed with an astrocytoma brain tumor in 2003. Following surgery at Duke Hospital and follow-ups, she did well for five years, when swelling and some potential regrowth occurred. She was then treated through a clinical trial, which included combination therapy with gleevek. In April 2013, during a regular follow-up mri, a new tumor was discovered. This time it was a Glioblastoma. She endured a second surgery, radiation and chemo. She died on July 25, 2016, exactly five years to the day after my second oldest brother Gerald had died from lung cancer.
If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.
This was the garage when I purchased my house.
The garage after
Hi fantasy-lovers everywhere! I got a pretty late start incorporating the world of fantasy into my work. As a former accountant, then general manager in sports publishing, then publisher, then realtor, all of my work activities were conventional, and I received a somewhat normal (except for real estate!) paycheck for time served. In fact, everything in my life was conventional -- married childhood sweetheart, graduated college with a degree in the solid conventional field of accounting, had two children, a dog, a cat, very typical homes in suburban areas and a very conventional lifestyle. I loved it. It was a happy and satisfying life, filled with friendship and family. The work may have been a bit boring. It may have been frustrating more often than it was enjoyable. But it was a good life by any measure.
Then several occurrences changed everything, and continuing with a wonderfully conventional life was no longer an option. I lost my husband, two brothers, both parents-in-law, one sister-in-law and my only sister. The decade started out incredible. I had two awesome, talented, kind, responsible children going off to college. My husband and I were comfortable, and ready to enjoy empty-nesting. Then out of nowhere, losses started to come, and soon piled up beyond what the heart can stand. The only way to heal and move forward with any real happiness would be to completely shift my lifestyle away from the familiarities that were always going to keep me reminded of loss.
My son Carter began a career coaching golf at the university level, and was living pretty independently, although the three of us still maintain a special family bond. The closeness we share is nurturing and supportive.
My daughter Emily graduated with a degree in Accounting/Finance, and she pursued a career in that field for a short time. Then, because she and I share so many common passions and goals, we decided to join forces in our work efforts for a time. We worked on four housing projects together, remodeling a 1940's small house (850 sq ft), remodeling a 1980's small house (750 sq ft), modernizing and completing a partially-finished basement, and building a garage apartment. These projects were fun, but because of our interest in the environment and generating a small carbon footprint, we wanted to move in a slightly different direction and start a tiny house business.
Our goal was probably somewhat quirky, and perhaps extremely unrealistic. The work had to be fun, and we wanted to create a product unlike anything on the market, something completely new and fresh, solid and well-built. And most of all, we wanted to create a place that would serve as a refuge, and an escape from the ordinary, supporting a unique life in a conventional world. So that's what we've done. We had fun. From our research, our first home is unlike anything on the market. Aesthetically we know it is not perfect. We often made decisions to go with character in our finishing touches rather than opting for polished or modern finishes and trim; but it is solid, well-built structurally, and composed of quality materials. Now we just need a buyer to smile and laugh and call it home!
At 62, it may seem late to shift careers and do something totally different, which requires completely new work skills. For me, it is a concrete way to put my money where my mouth is. I was one of those parents who told their children to grow up and do work they love; to pursue their passions and take meaningful chances. Without great loss, I most likely would have followed those words with contradictory actions, continuing to work in jobs that weren't rewarding or satisfying. I would have continued to put off pursuing passions. Having seen so many of my loved ones die young, I now realize that it was always foolish to wait. So no more waiting. Of course, we knew we were facing possible failure and must accept difficult consequences if things didn't work out. But nothing could have been better than to jump off a safe and comfortable bridge, and share 'going for it' with my daughter, or as I like to refer to her, 'my favorite little girl in the whole wide world.' She may not answer to the 'little girl' anymore, but what an unbelievable joy it has been to take this journey with her.
I hope with all my heart that you will enjoy this website, that you will like the photos and have fun exploring the details of our first and most precious tiny house, The Hogwarts Inn Express. When we decided to make our business the original "fantasy-themed tiny homes" company, there was no question what our first theme would be. We bonded for 20 years over the Harry Potter book series, while Jim Dale captivated us with JK Rowling's fantasy world. We adore the home inspired by these great books, and we've poured our best work and love into building it. It has been worth the risk.
Carter III (my son), Emily & I visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter @Universal Studios
Emily, Carter (my husband) and me after finishing the Tobacco Road Marathon. Carter was already sick with metastatic prostate cancer, and still completed the Full marathon. Emily and I completed the Half marathon, our first race ever!
My house: sort of 'after' shots. Still needs a roof, some remaining items and a lot of landscaping, but this is after extensive work, almost a complete remodel. It needed everything -- heat, air, wiring, plumbing, kitchen cabinets, lighting, sheetrock, insulation ... seriously, everything.
I couldn't love it more! It's like living in a tiny princess doll house, 850 sq ft of adorableness. It only contains items that have personal meaning, or that I simply love to look at every day.
My house when I purchased it. In addition to the asbestos siding and the toilet sitting on the deck, absolutely nothing worked or was usable.