This house was a mishmash of building styles: the oldest room was a log cabin built in 1932; next, a bedroom of adobe brick had been added; then in the late 1960s, two more rooms made of cement block. Despite the house sitting on only 2/3 acre, my surrounding neighbors have a lot more land, which creates a a spacious feeling. The main plus factor: Location, location, location. I figured the house could be improved, but not many other properties had the beautiful mountains and trees, a creek bordering the property, no traffic noise, no pollution, no EMFs, no light pollution at night, fragrant mountain air, and sounds of the wind and birds or crickets chirping.
Though the house was a rodent-infested wreck, at least it had very little mold (probably because it had no plumbing). When I bought it, the patchwork asphalt roof didn't leak, but one week after I signed the closing papers, that all changed. In July, the monsoons hit in full force, flooding the creek and my POD and ripping off part of the roof, so the first step was getting a new roof. I bought a 1980 RV for $3,000 and parked it beside the house for the summer while the roof went up. Though I did a lot of construction work myself (details below), I'm not crazy. I hired professionals to install the roof and build the portale, break bigger openings in the walls to replace the windows, do the plumbing and electrical wiring, install a permitted septic system and leach field, and dig out the log cabin room floor to lower it 16 inches, then lay a cement floor. My construction crew stuccoed one layer of gray cement on the house exterior, then I painted it with Behr elastomeric paint, instead of having them do another coat of traditional stucco.
As a city girl from NYC and Philly, I had no prior experience with carpentry, stonework, or tiling, but I relied on YouTube instructional videos and asked random men at Home Depot for advice. Tiling became my forté, and I got all of the tiles as leftovers from construction sites sold at the Habitat for Humanity store. My weak point is carpentry because I'm terrible at math, but I did make everything super-strong and then covered up mistakes with ornamental wood molding. I still have to finish the log cabin room walls and tile the floor, plus install a hardwood floor in the kitchen.