Cottage #1 (The McKamy)
The first cottage was nothing short of a learning experience. To make it even worse, we were experiencing material shortages in the middle of Covid-19 and starting construction during a Texas summer.
I started off with a phone call to Uncle Charlie well before we moved and he agreed to help us with the first cottage. He would later teach me about considering other trades, buying in bulk and things he has learned during his 45 year career. Charlie had quite a bit of schooling in certain trades under his belt partnered with years of hands on experience. I shared with him the original concept we were planning and sent him the plans from houseplans.com. We thought that the simple plans would be great for what we were trying to achieve.
On June 22nd, 2022 Uncle Charlie and my Aunt Cindy came down for 30 days. Many last minute changes were made and many longs hours were devoted. We originally planned on doing concrete foundations which later quickly changed to pier and beam foundations. These changes were stressful and contributed to long days. We worked in the rain and several days with temperatures over 100 degrees. Changes in materials, reordering equipment and finding out how hard the Texas Hill Country ground caught us off guard.
Prior to starting construction, I made material lists. I took those numbers and what I would now need for a pier and beam foundation and attempted to buy in bulk in Lowes. Unfortunately, due to factories being shut down, materials were in short supply. Many of the materials were purchased at both Lowes and Home Depot. They both had stores about 35 minutes north of Johnson City, Texas. A typical day would consist of starting at 8am, working until 4 or 4:30pm, driving to Marble Falls, getting Materials at two stores, dinner and then driving home to go to bed. We did this for five to six nights a week trying to get all the materials we could.
We reached the point where the first cottage was nearing its completion. We tried to stay ahead of the game, but material shortages in a few areas slowed us down. We waited for nearly 10 weeks for some of the furniture to arrive. It finally arrived and so did our first guests.
In late October of 2020 our first guests arrived. I could barely sleep that night. We wanted to get off to the best start we possibly could and couldn't earn a bad first review. Within 24 hours of listing the property, we had six bookings. They continued to fly in as I assume guests wanted to get out of their homes and travel again following Covid-19. Bookings continued and so did the five star reviews. Although I do lose some sleep with guests, it is typically limited.
One thing we continuously strived for in the early days was perfection. To be 100% complete at the time of launch. Two years later we are still adding to the cottages, touch up painting, trimming trees and making adjustments. The amount of hard work that went into this cottage left us completely exhausted. We had no idea how long the hours would be and how much time it would take. We could have hired more help, but getting reliable help, even to this day, is the hardest part of the process.