I flatter myself by thinking that the following conversation might happen at a cocktail party in Paris, London or Omaha. It would go this way: One guest would say to another, “Hey, do you know what happened to that globe-trotting senior couple from California? Tim and whatshername Martin?
“Oh, come on, you remember!,” he would continue in response to the woman’s blank look, “She wrote that Wall Street Journal piece about selling their house and flitting around the world without a home base, and then she wrote that book. You and I talked about them at Suzanne’s party last year.
“Do you mean those people from Cali? Yes, I read her book,” his female companion might say, “It was fun. Wonder where they are now.”
If I were at that party, wine in hand, munching a delicious cheese-laden canapé, I’d say, “Here’s the scoop: Lynne and Tim spent most of 2015 on California’s Central Coast, working on the forthcoming sequel to “Home Sweet Anywhere.” While they were at it, they segued into phase II of their unorthodox retirement plan and built the vacation rental they always dreamed of finding on the road. It’s compact, contemporary, and very comfortable. They’ll enjoy it as a home base when they are in California and as a rental when they’re away.
I would add in this imaginary conversation that we always knew that when traveling full-time, plus keeping up with writing and helping others plan their world adventures, we would settle in California. After five years it was clear that it was time to activate phase II of Home Free Living. Tim came up with the bright idea of putting into practice the lessons learned from living in dozens of vacation rentals, and in typical Martin fashion, we initiated the design for Creekside Cottage that very day! You know that we Postpone Nothing!
Great ideas for our house came from well-planned properties and remembering the mistakes of others was just as useful. For instance, I loved the galley kitchen in a condo we rented beside the Thames outside London so much that I based the kitchen design at Creekside Cottage on the one in East Molesey, Surrey. Although we love living in cosmopolitan cities, the sirens, construction havoc, and excessive neighbor noise made us realize that a quieter place was a better choice for a long-term establishment. A cottage half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco on a tree-covered rural road, close to two hundred plus wineries, excellent restaurants, and entertainment, but remote enough to insulate us from other people’s intrusion. There was no need for drapes in the living room because having deer, squirrels, birds and raccoons as our audience doesn’t bother us as all. I’m certain our guests will feel the same.
As a result of our experiences on the road, we were careful to include things that were missing in too many rentals: robe hooks in the bathrooms, clearly labeled clickers for every electronic gizmo, a keyless entry pad, liberal outlets and excellent lighting in every room. We even put USB plugs right into the wall! It has a plethora of windows with beautiful views of our forest and creek, total privacy, security, and peace and quiet, all top priorities for us. I even have a cozy writing area, with big windows overlooking the forest. It’s inspirational and certainly superior to working on ships, planes, noisy cities, and cramped apartments with noise-canceling earphones clapped on my head.
This will give you an idea of what we’ve been doing for the last nine months. Please click on the arrows.
Creating Creekside was a great experience, but a much bigger project than we had imagined. For months, I tried to write by night (when I wasn’t falling asleep on the sofa) and play Bob the Builder in the daytime. It was hectic, stressful, expensive and also great fun. Someday I’ll share war stories about migrating to eight rentals while enduring a two-month delay to the finish, digging a well that didn’t want to produce water, finding that the electric company required four thousand dollars to raise their pole so our roof wouldn’t touch the wires, and the day I discovered that the builders were banging up the wrong siding. There were times when the ringtone I assigned to my builder would make my heart stop. I knew it wouldn’t be good news and would probably cost us more money. But the experience did give us the time to reflect on our good fortune to have lived in so many marvelous places. After all, that’s what started this entire project and changed the course of our lives! Here’s a look at the interiors so far. Ferris Zoe, of Ferris Zoe Design, deserves a medal for helping us make Creekside Cottage a beautiful reality and gently guiding us to make good decisions.