Jay Marion and Samuel


Jay Marion and Samuel


We went to Vermont recently to visit Helen's brother John's son Jay and his wife Marion.  They are building a house up in the hills just outside of Plymouth.  The picture to the below is John, standing, and Jay and Marion, sitting, on what will eventually become the front porch.  Jay and Marion designed and are building the house themselves.  

There is no requirement for a building permit where they are so most of the plans, except for a few sketches, are in their heads.

I was quite impressed with their skill.  You really appreciate the attention to detail they have put into this place when you see it up close.  Jay says he got a lot of tips from watching This Old House and Norm Abrams.

There are 6 small dormers on the house and each has a sitting area on the inside.  It is finished enough inside to be occupied.  Electricity, water and indoor plumbing are complete. Jay and Marion are now living there.  Heat is provided by a wood burning stove in the basement and from upstairs fireplaces.  A central heating system is planned and will be installed sometime in the future.


These two pictures are of the back of the house.  In all the excitement of the day I forgot to get a still of the front.  It is very similar along the roof line but the porch runs completely across the front.  In addition to the six small dormers there is one large dormer which you can see on the right hand side.  The driveway comes up the hill from the right and that is the view you get when you first arrive.  I didn't get any stills inside of the house, but what is finished is beautiful.  When they talk about what they are doing with rest you can feel their excitement and pride, and proud they should be.
When they first purchased the land they decided they needed a place to stay during construction so the first project was a camp, complete with an outdoor kitchen and a real working outhouse.
A view of the camp taken from the front of the main house.
A view of the main house taken from the camp.
Jay picked up all of the materials for the camp free of charge from projects that were being torn down or from bartering.

The door on this side is to a small room where Jay stored his tools during construction of the main house.

A view of the kitchen and dining facilities. Stove (Block fireplace) in the lower left, dining room table behind it and outdoor kitchen on the porch.

Inside there is a double bed with a single bunk bed above it on the right side, a table attached to a short wall in the center with a wood burning stove on the left side.  Jay says when he lights the stove the temperature inside goes to 98 very quickly

Jay's Masterpiece, An Outhouse with no door.  Much easier to get to in a hurry.  Actually there are no close neighbors so there is no need for a door.  The only onlookers are the animals, you know raccoons and black bears and the like.  Don't you girls just love it.  No window treatments or wallpaper to worry about, although it could use a picture or two.  Us guys still need to remember to put the seat down though.  Actually I am just teasing them, we have seen outhouses in the white mountains that you couldn't  go near due to the dilapidated condition and odor. This is quite respectable.
If you have any outdoors spirit at all or if you love camping you would die to have a camp in the woods like this.  They have it within walking distance of their house and use it quite often.  The picture below is a view looking up the hill from the outhouse.  You can see the wood shed to the left rear.  If I were Jay I think I would build 6 more of these around the property and rent them out for $20.00 to $25.00 a day.  At $25.00 a day that would be $1,050.00 a week.  If they were rented 50% of the year that would bring $27,300.00 a year.  Of course that would be a little less with the discount to family, chuckle chuckle.


We had a cookout and I tell you hamburgers do taste better in the woods than they do in the city.

We are about to leave so I gathered everyone together for a picture.

Left to right:

Jay, Jay's wife Marion with child, Jay's sister Laureen, Jay's uncle Sid, Jay's father John and Jay's aunt Helen.  I am taking the picture, can't be in two  places at one time.


Thank you Jay and Marion, We had a great time.

On Monday December 24, 2001 at 3:12 in the afternoon Samuel John Mitchell arrived weighing in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces and being 20 inches tall.
Sam at five and a half months. He looks about one year old. Must be something in that Vermont water or Jay is working him to hard.