The House Tour

A whirlwind adventure this weekend … from Plattsburgh to beyond Massena, and back via Potsdam and Malone. The farmland was gorgeous! Fortuitous, because the reason for a jaunt was two-fold – a good old-fashioned roadtrip combined with a tour of potential housing stock.

We headed out about 10am, stopping after noon at an awesome parking area for the mother of all picnics – big fat onion rolls, maple ham, smoked turkey, pepperoni, muenster cheese, mustard, nutmeg apple bread, and a leaf lettuce mix with parsley and basil (all grown by me). Our only misadventure was the car battery dying … again. (Remember July 4?) Said battery is already out and the new one is being delivered this morning. Here’s hoping it’s not the alternator. Meanwhile …

On the housing front, we toured modular (wood frame) homes, manufactured (mobile) homes, and pre-built camps/cabins. What’s that thing that Lady O says? It was a serious a-ha moment. Several a-ha moments. You see, evidently, we don’t like what everyone else likes. At all.

000_1368I was asking the nice lady at one of the lots about customizing options and asked to see the swatch books. And then I wanted to see more swatch books. She wondered why I was so interested in the finishes this early. I explained that “details really matter to me.” She said, “No, no. You can tell me.” And so, I explained, “They all look like the inside of an envelope tried to mate with a condo in Aspen.” To her credit, she remained cordial.

To be fair, I’m not writing them off totally. I still need to go back to see my awesome friend Michelle in Plattsburgh.

000_1373All the same, I’ve never been much into new-fangled luxury, and I’ve always known that faux touches are not my thing. The Greco-Roman detail at the top of the archway in this pic, for instance … it absolutely drives me crazy. Pretty, I know, but not my thing. And these homes were enormous! Way, way too much house for us. We want a 500 or 600 square-foot footprint at most. And the only way I would consider a second floor is if it were a short Cape-style loft room – not a full floor. The lady out Massena-way thought I was nuts.

000_1385Then, as we headed back Route 11, we stopped at a few cabin & camp builders. And it was here friends, in between Potsdam and Malone, that I fell madly and deeply in love. Cabins, friends, cabins. Gorgeous cabins that arrive on your soon-to-be-doorstep fully insulated, completely wired, and as finished as you like. Log siding. Little porches. Cedar walls if that’s your thing! And it comes to you on a big truck. Plunk! And they’re really pretty large. (To us). The 476 square-footer pictured is perfect. I’d eschew the T-111 siding for shakes or log or something more natural. I like the log-sided one to the left, actualy. $18k for the 476er, completely kitted out with the fancy cedar finishing, electrical, and insulation.

000_1380Now, how to get the thing permitted? Stands to reason, they must give you a building permit for them under some guise, even though we’re not talking about a conventional build. And out of the heavens, my supposition was confirmed. As we crossed our town line – no kidding – I noticed the things all over the place … exactly the same model as on the lot. Awesome. Precedent.

Now, what’s that Town Building Inspector’s number? Oh, wait. I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I have a house to tear down first. We’ll get there.



Filed under adirondacks

8 responses to “The House Tour

  1. Although delivery may be a bit of a snag, you need to google New Orleans, shotgun, modular, manufactured, housing, etc. The little cottages that they are delivering to the post-Katrina Gulf South area are absolutely precious!

  2. Can one of those be put over a full basement?

    Have you looked at stick built? I really like the design of the Lakeside Cabin at

  3. Neat stuff, but I’m really finding that I want something very Adirondaky and rustic. The whole drywall and arches thing isn’t doing it for me. I’ve had great luck find local builders who both prefab and site-build rustic cabins and small houses. Awesome.

  4. I really enjoy your blog, a nice shot of reality! I come from a very small village in New Brunswick Canada and almost all my relatives there have small cabins, or camps as we call them in which they live year round. I love them! It feels so cozy and just right! I don’t know if I will ever convince my husband of the value in living like this, but the people who live in them are usually debt free and happy!
    I remember Mother earth News did an article a few years back about building these smaller camps. They did a lot of research on it, I will try and find it for you.
    Are you talking about Massena, NY state? If so, I go there quite often, I am in eastern Ontario, across the border, less than an hour from Massena.

  5. I’m absolutely in love with your cabin idea. Perhaps just the thing for me in the future. I’ll be watching! 🙂

  6. Christina – We’re sort of near Massena – maybe 90 minutes. I’m in the Northern Adirondacks, about 30 minutes south of Malone. Love it here!

  7. I was in that very cabin on that very lot two weeks ago! (My mother was looking at their picnic tables.) So, of course, I needed to go in all of the cabins and gazebos ….. and now I’m bugging The Husband to plop a big fancy screened-in gazebo down in the woods behind our half-finished house!

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