Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why we do the things we do! "The Ponds" Tour

I just wanted to share this morning a little of our journey while renovating the place we call home "The Ponds".  You may wonder what motivates us to keep adding on to this property.  Since we began this journey, we've built a pier with a gazebo, developed an outdoor kitchen area, built a stage, built our home, and most recently added a pool.  Just our porch alone can accommodate 25 - 30 people.  So why have we done this?  Because there's nothing we love more than to be surrounded by our family and friends.  I have never understood people who have lovely homes and never share them with others.  We are so motivated to create a space where everyone that we cherish in our lives, can come and enjoy each other.  I'm taking you on a tour of our property and some of the things we've done to create a space that other's can enjoy.
This is a recent pic of the house & pool!

We began our journey 10 years ago and I've shared some of the before photo's and stories in previous posts.  One of the things we did right from the beginning was create an outdoor kitchen area.
My husband loves to grill and smoke outdoors.  One project on his bucket list is to build a pizza oven here as well.  
Here is a recent picture of the outdoor kitchen and it's ever evolving.
This was once a small boat dock.  We filled in the bottom and built a small bar.  We used old barn wood for the top of the bar. The base we built ourselves.  We gathered rock from the property & built the two columns.  Then we used cedar posts that we pulled from our pond.  They were driven into the pond around 1956-1957 to support a pier.  The pier had fallen in and the post were broken off.  However, the part that was under water was perfectly preserved.  My brother built our wrought iron foot rest.   We love to host ** "low country boils" and this is the perfect spot to dump the pot.
This area can seat up to 30 guests comfortably.
We added a fire pit that overlooks the water and it has become our favorite spot late at night with our friends.  There's something about the fire, the stars and of course those lovely nature sounds.  Frogs and crickets sometimes drown out the conversation.  You might also find some roasted marshmellows on a stick.  YUM!

Just across the drive we have another seating area that I fondly call "the stage".  We can also set this area up for dining as well.  The vintage glider and one of the vintage chairs have been in my husbands family for years.  We've had them for some time and they have been many colors.  I was lucky to find two more matching chairs a few years ago at a Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Here is a picture of the pier that replaced the one that had fell into the water.  We decided to add a gazebo to the end.  We love to sit in this spot and watch the sun go down.  Interesting fact:  It's usually 5-10 degrees cooler sitting on the pier, than at the house.  Must be the water and the breeze that flows across the ponds.
Here is another recent pic of the pier and as you can see, we've now added a pool.  I'll be honest with you, a pool was not on my list.  My husband had mentioned it several times and I had always resisted. The reason I decided that a pool might be a good idea is because we usually stop entertaining at the Ponds in July & August.  It's just to hot and the sun is relentless in the outdoor kitchen around 6:30 - 8:00 in the summer months.  So the idea that we could invite guests over to swim and cool off before enjoying one of my husbands meals, started to sound pretty good. So we have had the pool for about a month now and have had guests around almost every weekend.  We've already had our first "low country boil", something we normally do later in the fall, due to the heat. 
We love how the pool fits into the landscape without taking away from the natural beauty of the property.  

 My husband and I worked together to add this wall around the exposed side of our pool.  It's a combination of treated lumber and rock.  We actually filled in between the wall and the pool with the dirt that was dug out for the pool.  We then used a pallet of rock to stack on top of the dirt.  We also had some larger rocks from the property moved to create a natual rock landscape around the pool.

Here's a view of the pool and the natual area that surrounds it.  The natural area we had built in 2010 and were fortunate that we were able to leave it and just add the pool in front of it.
 This is the original natural area with just a metal bench and a couple of chairs.  Now it's our path to the pool.  We added the additional walk from the drive to the natual area by saving some of the larger stones in our pallet of rock and placing them as a walk way.

Here is a view of the house from the pool.  The house is just 1900 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms but it's all we need.  Every rooms looks out across the three ponds and now the pool.  The porch area is almost as large as the house.  We wanted our home to embrace the outdoors and the beauty of the land.  It's by no means perfect.  This much property is impossible to keep perfect.  But if you don't mind driving a mile back in the woods on a dirt (gravel) road and wearing comfortable shoes because the grounds are not level, come on over.  We'll grill some steaks and have a glass of wine on the pier.

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