• The Cotten House, How Does Garrell Do It Alone?

    Very, very slowly…that’s how Garrell Cotten is completely remodeling and restoring the  early 1900s Elm Street home, where he and his family are trying to live amid hammers, saws, and saw dust. Believe me, if there is anyone who knows how hard that is, it is Rickey and Fredda Jones, who did much the same thing once upon a time.

    Most people would run, but not Garrell Cotton!

    Most people would run, but not Garrell Cotton!

    “I really don’t get down about the time it’s taking…well, most of the time,” Garrell said in that soft voice those who know him understand. “It’s not like I am remodeling a room. I started from the ground up.”

    It's going to be a gorgeous entryway.

    It’s going to be a gorgeous entryway.

    And he does mean that literally, beginning with the things that most people will never really understand: leveling the house, adding new plumbing and wiring, and ripping off 5 layers of shingles before going back with a new roof. A tremendous part of the past nine months has gone into those things…the things people never really see…the things that cause people to constantly wonder, “What’s taking so long?”

    When Garrell says he has taken it back to the wood, he means back to the wood!

    When Garrell says he has taken it back to the wood, he means back to the wood!

    “I guess that’s the only thing that ever gets to me.  People come over to look, and I can see on their faces that they just don’t get it, don’t like it, and don’t understand it. Of course, they are all living in brand new homes, you understand,” the sly grin of the CHS student I once knew breaking through.

    The Cottens have no idea how many hours of my young married life were spent in this room in front of that mantle. It is going to be a wonderful room, with wonderful wooden floors!

    The Cottens have no idea how many hours of my young married life were spent in this room in front of that mantle. It is going to be a wonderful room, with wonderful wooden floors!

    “I love this house, and I know what it can be.  I want to do all of the work on it myself so that is just going to take a lot of time. The roof has been the biggest job so far.”

    Garrell has finished the back part of the roof, and has greatly enlarged the kitchen.

    Garrell has finished the back part of the roof, and has greatly enlarged the kitchen.

    When the Cottens finally decided to take on the project, the agreement was that Garrell would do all of the work, and Susan would go behind him and clean up what he tore out.

    “That hasn’t exactly worked out too well. Would you call Susan and tell her that she has to help me?” he asked me.

    I wouldn’t touch that one for a million dollars!

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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