Plan-design-concept

I adore our breakthroughs. It started well, both excitedly contributing to a shared vision for the interior of the roulottes. We always think well in the bath. We had to pause the brainstorming but didn’t want the conversation to be over. Downstairs we agreed to do some sketching of the plans we’d been excited about. But life interupted and I did some sketching which Ben then couldn’t connect with. Ben did some sketching, but his mood had changed. No longer excited or engaged. We could have left it there but I knew to trust Ben’s feeling that something wasn’t right. I wasn’t convinced we’d arrived at the right ideas for the layout of the roulotte camp or for the communal kitchen, dining and bathing block for the roulottes. We had to feel our way through to a design that did feel right. As right as we felt about the roulotte interior. On that we were completely in sync.

We always talk well in bed. Something was bothering Ben about the communal block that we couldn’t resolve with a better design. It was the bigger concept that wasn’t quite right. We needed to commit even more to the roulotte experience we found exciting and wanted our guests to have. On the one hand we were still being held back by concerns over what guests might expect. And on the other, we weren’t listening to that concern for the deeper truth it held which would enable us to depart convention.

Were we offering camping or glamping? What is the difference? We hadn’t asked ourselves these questions!

What Ben found uncomfortable about the idea of a communal block was that it would no matter how we designed it, or how we kitted it out, feel like camping. Worse still, I started to see that it would feel like a house share. No matter how magical and romantic the experience inside and around the roulotte, guests wouldn’t rave about their stay if they felt they suffered the shared aspect of the facilities. Adament that we do not want toilets, showers or kitchenettes inside the roulottes, we had to go down another route. Private facilities next to each roulotte. But not in a building. Not in a shed. It has to be in keeping with the aesthetics of the roulotte. It’s important to me that our design choices facilitate a connection between our guests and the outdoors. It’s important to Ben to have thought about things getting wet and people being cold. It’s OK. Our different priorities complement each other. Our design will be awesome because of our different considerations.

Once we stumble onto the right concept, everything follows remarkably easily. We both feel excited. The numbers make us feel confident. Things start to make more sense and come together with the minimum of thought or effort. We now have a plan. We know which facilities we want each roulotte to have. We know roughly our budget for these and the roulottes themselves, and as a result, the new budget for the house and renovation. We have a revised idea of the size and type of house we want, and how many acres we need. We even have our year mapped out. Split into fair-weather glamping, off-season writers’ retreats, two months shut down, and catered ski glamping. We know how much we think we’ll charge, for each type of stay. We know what we need to look into next. The costs of running water pipes to roulottes, the cost of running low power cabling, solar showers, composting toilets. We’ve found a roulotte maker we love the look of. We’ve talked about when we’d want to have them built so that we can oversee everything to do with the roulotte site ourselves. There’s always a step forward to be taken especially when you have no idea what that step might be.

~J

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