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Project Cobbage: Half Cabin, Half Cottage

The Cobbage started as a kit from the Puyallup fair in September of 2000, when my Dad, Steve, brought it home costing around $10k as an ADU barn unit. The barn kit was the foundation for the dormers that gives the space its extra room, character, and charm.

Steve saw how great it was that my older brother Brandon (Bub), had his own space made out of the horse barn in junior high and gained so many skills and independence on the homestead. Steve wanted me to have my own place to stay when I came home and always dreamed of having the family live close by. Steve and Bub kicked off the barn kit in their free time with the help of family friends Blake and Andrew. I’d get to come home on my breaks and dream design/build with the guys and then return to college, it was a dreamy dream to come home to. It really was a coming together project for our whole family. That intensified after Bub’s unfortunate accident and traumatic brain injury in ‘02 and passing in ‘04. Our family was broken after losing our beloved Brandon. Bub was the treasured only son and first born and the impact of loss was especially deep for my parents. I had just graduated college when he passed away. I moved home after college to help my family and pick up whatever broken pieces I could possibly fix and do my best to heal. 

Prior to Bub’s passing, building wasn’t really in my repertoire. I did not have much exposure to building projects, that was Bubs thing and what “boys did, not girls”. I would cook/bake with Mom and deliver sandwiches with the occasional hammer and nail project. Thankfully Bub didn’t mind too much if I tagged along on his projects, so many times I’d get his activity scraps and could learn by watching him. That’s how I got into Legos, Basketball, T-ball and so much more. 

The Cobbage was built with love. My Mom helped with so much pine tongue and groove sanding and sealing and together we spider sealed what we thought was every nook and cranny - which means the space is extra insulated and made with lots of care. You can feel that extra care when you enter the space - it’s special and we adore the Cobbage. The Cobbage acted as a catalyst for our family to come together and try to heal after losing Brandon. There’s something magical when you can get to work on a project or task together - your sorrow and pain get transferred into care and love in the project.

Knowing it was going to be my little space, I really went for it with the sweet Cobbage. I opted for a bigger self investment going for clean pine walls, tiled bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, and a noteworthy sound system which took more paychecks than I probably should have given. The joy it brought living while finishing(ish) it from 2007-2014 on our family homestead was an adventure. During that time, my Mom and I planted a large garden, converted a junky tarped lean-to in the garage into a nursery and took more trips to recycling events working together on the homestead in such joy and harmony. We worked together on the fountain garden, rock garden and everywhere in between - it’s a ton of work keeping a homestead running and Mom was so great at being the glue to it all. 

In 2013 my Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - it was a huge hit to our family and a big shake up to me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my Mom, so it was a no brainer that I needed to flip my lil’ Cobbage oasis into an income generator to help my Mom with medical bills. So I gutted most of my personal belongings  - leaving all the furniture, my bed and best linens,  kitchenware - yes, even the fiesta dinnerware that Mom would give me pieces here and there over the years for Christmas and my birthday. I gave myself a new big goal to distract from the new big pain and planned to move into my brother's space before the 10th year anniversary of his passing in 2014 to free up the Cobbage for guests and income for Mom. 

The Blodge needed lots of work to be a healthy space to live in. It was inhabitable when we started as mice had found their way through all the ol’ horse barn infrastructure nook and crannies - it needed some new life and love given to it. After preparing for it for a year and half, and setting up VRBO and Airbnb accounts, we went for it in 2014 and I started healing a huge hole in my heart for the loss of my brother while preparing my heart for its next huge hit. My Mom and I enjoyed the Cobbage. She saw it get rave reviews as we'd sometimes clean it together in between guests and enjoy reading our guests comments in the guestbook. She was proud of it and we made something really special together. It was the least I could do for her. Our times spent in the Cobbage were some of my beloved moments in our most favorite little space. We lost our sweet beloved Mother October of 2015 - she had just held on long enough to make it through my birthday in the beginning of the month, but not enough to make it to hers at the end of the month. She left us too soon in her mid-60’s and we were devastated and heartbroken. 

The Cobbage has provided joy to so many wonderful people. It’s been an honor to open our home and homestead. Being able to share pieces of our spirit/soul that are built into the walls in the Cobbage and grounds of the homestead has been a blessing. THANK YOU to all our wonderful guests of the Cobbage who have shared in keeping the dream alive - I’m incredibly grateful for your help in supporting its continuation. My dream is to see it flourish. What a dream it would be to have the lower acre wetland become an easement - that forever can be an outdoor makerspace providing summer camp cheer to local kids and eventually with more off-grid, non-invasive tech could become an absolute local treasure. A treasure that included a pine and fir tree farm on an island (islands in Redmond? Yes! 3 of them here alone) with the oldest (40 years) still standing treehouse (added a few 6”x6” legs though!) in Washington state. My dream is that developers don’t get it and bury the wetland, divert the stream, chop down the fruit trees (25 on this road alone with neighbors!) and turn it into multi-housing space. Thank you for your help in protecting this wetland and native plant conservation! I can’t thank you enough!

The Cobbage is available on to stay!


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