Making Some Calls / Initial Floor Plan

If building a small home (Tiny House or Katrina Cottage) is our end goal for St. Joe Beach, we will have to have building plans which meet the codes required by the county. On my way to work a couple of weeks ago I decided to do a phone book search for a structural engineer. I came in contact with an individual named Josh Greenwell (Structural Engineer) who told me his company could easily do the structural calculations for drawings. However, the drawings would need to originate from an architect. He told me that he works along side a gentleman, named Evo Ocala (805-886-1718), who could create the drawings we would need. Below is the basic floor plan and exterior view which Stephanie and I have found. This should give us a good starting point.

Basic Floor Plan
Exterior View


Cleanup Before the Mess

So we have found and scheduled a logging company from Wewahitchka to clean up our lot for us. We would like to have all the pine trees, there were 34 total, the mobile home, and storage shed removed. When they are done there will be three palm trees and a maple tree left. We felt it was important to have these trees removed because they are so large they could fall on the neighbors’s homes and we do not want that to happen.

Before they get too busy on the lot, I wanted to go over and clean up things just a bit. I know there will be a large mess afterwards, but felt it was necessary to go and take a look at things before they got started. The image below is what it looked like when I arrived.

I spent a couple of hours cutting around the place and picking up sticks. We hate the neighbors have to see such a mess. I am excited to see what it will look like once it is cleaned off.

The image above is what it looked like after I did some cleaning. The folks doing the tree work stopped by and they will be getting started right after labor day. Where the mobile home sits now is where we will park our camper when we decide to go stay for the weekend. Eventually, we would like to have a tiny house built here.

The Background On The Family Getaway

Growing up I have always had doing something at or in the water as part of my life. My parents were fortunate enough to be able to build a home on a lake in Georgia and I loved to go fishing and skiing as a child. Later in life when my parents went their separate ways my father found a shack of a place (this place was a shack!!) on another creek which fed into a lake on the  Chattahoochee river and even at the young age of 13, I had a small boat which I could use to ride and go fish.

When I joined the service, my first duty station was in a small town in New Mexico which I referred to as the arm pit of the world. There were lakes within three hours distance and to continue in my enjoyment of being on the water, I purchased a boat. I camped frequently and skied with friends on the weekends. My military adventures took me to Florida and even Okinawa. Boating wasn’t always a part of my activities, but you can bet the water was. Fishing, skiing, and SCUBA diving are wonderful.

Fast forward a few years. I was divorced after a rough 7 year marriage and starting a new chapter in my military career. I met a woman who was also going through a change from a lengthy marriage. She was finishing up a second degree and I was starting the process of completing my first. We hit it off, almost immediately, and decided to get married after only 6 weeks of knowing one another. The downfall to this was I didn’t quite know she didn’t have the passion for being on the water like I did. A couple of years later we have a daughter and we started moving from base to base. Military life and the little one kept us so busy there wasn’t really a lot of time for water activities. We filled our time with camping, other outdoor activities, and lots of Chuck-E-Cheese.

We moved back to Florida for my final military assignment and then my dad passed away shortly after. This started a rough period for me and I started wanting to get back to doing things on the water. Not only because I enjoyed doing these as a child, but with my dad as well. By this time, my daughter is  nearly 8 years old and we are planning for Florida to be where we will stay.

We buy a fishing boat after some back and forth discussions about it. My wife really didn’t want to, but I insisted. The first time we take it out things didn’t go so well, but we survived. I found out when she told me she didn’t like the water she meant it!! After a few trips though, she has become accustom to the water and even has become a pretty good navigator, but my daughter still doesn’t like boating all that much. That is partly my fault, but I hope as she grows older that will change. Her thing is the beach, which unfortunately I am not the fondest of and because of where we live to do the beach it becomes an all day thing.

So here we are, we have a boat and other water toys which do not get used very often. My father had left my sister and I a piece of property across the street from where he lived and also where I lived before joining the service. After some discussions, it was decided I would purchase my sister’s interest in the property. So now, we have a piece of property with an old mobile home a block and a half from the beach 3 hours from where we live. What do I see? I see a way for us too all enjoy something. I can take my daughter to the beach, get to go fishing, and get away from home without having to make reservations somewhere. My wife can hang out inside during the heat of the day (she hates the heat). We can take walks on the beach in the evening when it is cooler. I can take my daughter to the beach during the day without having to pack up and make it a day long trip and hopefully I will get to squeeze in a fishing trip or two.

So, I will start writing about the progress of what I am calling the “Family Getaway”. My wife is to some extent excited, although not as excited as I am, and I think once we can take our daughter she will gain some enthusiasm too. My goal is to have them both look at me and say “Hey dad, lets go spend some time together in St. Joe!” In the end, I hope to create some good memories for our family and make a place that one day my daughter will be proud to call her family getaway!!