We were lucky enough to be able to snatch the house directly behind ours when it went up for sale a couple of years ago. We bought it gutted--the previous owners had begun a "do-it-yourself" renovation then decided that they had bitten off more than they wanted to chew. After lots of thought and number-crunching, my husband and I decided to do a massive renovation of the 1950s eight hundred square foot house (our fourth house renovation to date--and our last--no really, I mean it this time). The renovation included adding the ultimate screened porch which we connected to our backyard with a garden path.
We furnished the house with comfy couches and beds with yummy sheets, and we rent it short term whenever we can. Because we live two blocks from the historic Oxford Square (see our debate pictures if you want to know how cute and hip downtown Oxford is!), we get plenty of renters.
The only downside to the whole guest house gig is that I am "Flossie" the maid, and she is especially busy this time of year. What is the big deal with the fall, you ask? It's Football Season, and tens of thousands of people flock to the Holy Grail of Tailgating (see Katie's earlier post about the Grove scene) for all of the home games. Since Oxford is a small town with few hotels (and only one hotel downtown), we are in a prime spot for the football weekend renter. And, you know . . . supply/demand--Flossie gets paid well for her efforts this time of year. Actually, most of our rental money goes to our house note and into the girls' college funds, but Flossie gets a little cut which she puts into her SCBWI Conference fund for Sarah Frances. Isn't Flossie a sweetie?
But, the very best thing about our guest house is that it is a great escape from the clutter and noise of everyday life. This is why my friends and I have dubbed it "duck camp"--we decided that our husbands' real reason for going off to duck camp during hunting season is to get away from it all and bond with their male buddies. There are no stacks of mail, no laundry mountains peaking out from the utility room (like the pun?), and no telephones. I can take my computer over there when I need a fresh perspective, and write away. I've even spotted Katie over there sneaking in a little writing retreat on our screen porch a time or two.