Dear Lacie, Your Questions Answered

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Like life, it seems that our blog keeps evolving.  I get many emails and some with the same questions. I love the correspondence and the questions. Your comments and feedback make the blog worth doing.

We are going to add another aspect to our blog. Once a month on the first Friday of the month, I will add a blog post called Dear Lacie. On this page, I will answer the best I can, your questions about the blog, the cottage, the construction and even the recipes. This is your page. You can forward your questions to Lacie Sheldon Winters on Facebook, the bottom of any posting or

If there is something you would like to ask and it’s personal and you don’t want the question shared please say so in your email.

I will pick three questions each month and respond to them.

Question Number 1… How do you get all the help at the Love Shack?

My first word of advice or caution would be, if you decided to build a cottage or redo a cottage, help from friends and family is not something you should count on.

The cottage is like when you put in a swimming pool or buy a new boat. At first, everyone comes and wants to be part of playing with the new toy. As time passes, it cost people both their time and money to come out to play and help. It starts to slow down.

Even though you are feeding everyone and trying not to let anyone work too hard, their time there takes away from other things they like to do or have other commitment to do.

You will start to see after a while a dwindling in offers to help. Other friends will want to come up who haven’t been there and haven’t done any work at the cottage. So other help still comes.

What we do now is instead of having many people come up, we keep the invites down to smaller groups or only one or two people at a time. When we have something really important to do like when we put on the Gable we planned it months in advance.

For projects that need a large number of hands, invite extras. We booked the Gable building four months in advance and still lost four sets of hands before we started.

Now that the cottage is considered livable, we also do a little bit of work when company comes and plan for half of the day to be play time.

The best way to keep getting help is to only ask for it when you really need it. We keep the invites open to all our friends that they are welcome to come up. All it takes is a phone call from them to come up. The only time they get calls from us is if we really need the help. The rest of the time we leave it in their capable hands. They know their schedules better than we do.

Question Number Two… How do you know what to do next?

The cottage decides what has to be done next. Right now we are two years behind on our plan. We had planned to be doing the addition this year. But and I mean BUT, every time we turned around it was another problem found that had to be fixed.

This is typical of renovating an older home or building.

There are things that have to be done first. You need hydro or some sort of power to run tools to work and have light. Water is also a high priority. You need to be able to cook, wash and use a bathroom.

A roof over your head comes in handy on rainy and cold days or when the sun is too hot to be in.

After that, it becomes what is a priority and what is a necessity.

Many projects have been postponed or delay or moved ahead because of what we have come across.

You start out with a Game Plan and be prepared to go to Plan B or Plan C returning to Plan A later.

Question Number Three… Would it have been cheaper to knock down the cottage and start from scratch?

The answer to that is probably and most likely, YES.

There was no way of knowing when we went in that there would be as many problems with the house as there was.

With our over twenty years in the construction business, we have a good idea when we go into a project what the plans and cost are. We also tell our clients to never plan their project with all the money they have set aside as there is always surprises.

For us, the water was the biggest problem and most unexpected expense. It was the one thing that we kept finding problems with. And that we kept having to fork out more money to fix.

On the other side of this. If we would have knocked it down and had it built, we would have lost more personally. This project has been interesting, educational and fun.

The other upside to this is we have gotten to choose everything that is in the cottage. We know it’s all done by code. Everything is safe and it is also just what we want.


Thank you again for your questions. Keep them coming.