Sunday, February 28, 2010

Retama Village Coach House Tour

Hi all, Dianne here. This is just a quick blog to share some of the photos I took during the open house Saturday at Retama Village.

If this topic doesn't interest you, you can skip this blog, because that's all it will be!

If you are interested in any of these photos, remember you can click on them to make them larger.

Every year Retama Village residents volunteer to have their coach houses open for interested people to look at and get ideas. All but one of the coach houses that were open were in Phase I, so they were all 12 x 20. There was only one completed 12 x 24 coach house in Phase II, so we took lots of measurements there.

People finish off their little coach houses depending upon how they use them. For instance, some people have a washer and dryer in their motor home or fifth wheel, so they don't take up space in their coach house with a laundry area. Many people design a sitting/TV area with comfy chairs. Almost all of them have a nice bathroom, with shower, stool and sink.

One even has a murphy bed setup, with built-in cabinet units flanking each side.
Perhaps the most unusual one we toured belongs to a couple who are really into woodworking (toys, etc.). The husband is also a gourmet cook. They divided their coach house into two halves: One, a complete woodworking workshop, and the other a very nice kitchen with granite countertops and lots of cabinets. That's the only one we saw that opted not to have a bathroom.

I also took some photos of how people have outfitted their outdoor patio areas.
Some have complete outdoor kitchens,
many have lovely sitting areas with chimineas or patio portable firepits.

When we design our little coach house, here's how we plan to use ours:

Roger and I plan to sleep and watch TV in our motorhome. Our bed is very comfy and we don't want to take up space in the coach house for a bed. By watching TV in our motorhome, we can take advantage of our Motosat Direct TV and DVR without having to pay another bill for cable TV.

We definitely plan to have a laundry area. That's the only thing I miss from our "sticks and bricks" house.

I plan to have a tiny kitchenette; nothing more than a sink to
wash dishes in, a counter, a residential refrigerator (with ice maker), and a microwave-convection oven. I hope to buy a portable induction burner to use as my "cooktop." (I rarely use more than one burner at a time). Most of our meals use our outdoor grill anyway, with just a salad or other low-carb side dish. If I need more burners or more oven room, I can always walk 10 feet and use the kitchen in the RV.

I'm excited that I'll be able to use my Fiesta Ware dish set again, also my yogurt maker and my ice cream maker (need freezer space for it). I'll probably leave my bread machine in the motor home kitchen and use it there, so it will be out of the way.

We plan to have an eating area in our coach house big enough to invite friends or family in for a nice meal, then wine outdoors on the patio. Basically we'll use the coach house to cook, eat, and do laundry in, plus a small sitting area with storage for out-of-season clothes.

Now the trick will be in designing a tiny layout to incorporate all of those features! Should be fun. We'll have that to look forward to next January when we return to Mission. Our coach house shell and concrete pad, plus landscaping, will all be done and ready for us to finish out when we get back there.

The final photos are of a coach house that will be two doors down from us. It shows how the outside of ours will look when it's built. Note they have already laid out the irrigation piping in this lot, prior to the sod being placed.

The front planting area is designed according to an overall plan. Our lot (lot #215) is scheduled to have prickly pear cactus plants plus pink salvia. I was excited about this, because that was exactly the plantings that I'd hoped to have in front of our coach house. (I'd been admiring a planting like this at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park where we've been staying). I took a photo of one of the established planting areas at Retama with the cactus + salvia, to show what ours will look like.
We get to choose the plantings in the back. (My little Meyer lemon tree that I grew from a seed (it's about 18" tall now) will feel right at home in the Rio Grande Valley!)

As I mentioned in a prior blog, the landscaping in the public areas is geared to native Texas plantings, with bird- and butterfly-friendly plants.

I've included a photo of our neighbor's pergola and backyard area. Our pergola will be identical to this one.

Check back soon, because we have more blogs to update. We had a very interesting drive today from Mission to Rockport, including our first driving snafu that forced us to unhook the tow car and flag down a patrol car for help!! (All is well, so don't worry about us). Just a teaser to encourage you to check back in a day or so!!

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