For its unique charm and rustic setting, Hood Canal in Washington State was the Gehrig’s summer getaway. Every summer, Christy and her family would pack their cooler to the brim, load up their car, and head west to Union, a small town situated on the south side of the canal.
Situated between the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas, Hood Canal stretches for 70 miles. Its rocky coastline meanders its way through mountains that house glaciers and the forests of fairytales until it finds its way to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean. Its beaches are lined with oysters and its oceans filled with orcas. Lush forests surround the coastal perimeter and moss runs rampant over rocks and logs. For old school Pacific Northwest families like the Gehrigs, it offered a unique setting for a rustic Seattle getaway.
As a child, Christy’s dad was a priest for an episcopal church. Her family’s summer rental in Hood Canal was a shared family cottage owned by the episcopal church that clergy families could rent during the summer. The house had a wood-burning fireplace that had left burns in the carpet and a staircase made out of halved logs. Dutch doorways adorned the bedrooms and the dishwasher had to be hooked up to the sink with a hose. As Christy puts it, “it was not very nice, but it was very "cottagey," and that was part of the charm of it all.”
The "cottagey" cottage had a huge wrap-around porch propped up by columns that stretched out over the beach. During high tide, Christy and her sister would run from the back of the porch and jump out into the frigid water. They spent their childhood immersed in the unique magic of the Pacific Northwest. Days were spent collecting crabs and oysters from rocky shores and nights were spent roasting them on open fires. Christy’s childhood was rich in coastal imagination.
When Christy and her sister grew up, life happened. They went to college, got married, and their family vacations took a pause. Yet, Hood Canal remained a place that housed precious memories. After an adulthood Labor Day trip to the canal, Christy and her family were reminded of its special setting, and a house search was sparked.
After months of searching, Christy found a house that fit the bill. In many ways, it was a lot like the clergy cottage. The house looked simple from the exterior, but the interior housed classic hood canal charm. The cottage was on the opposite side of the canal from Union in Tahuya, a quiet town that boasts a post office, episcopal church, and fire department. Its winding roads see few cars and its beaches few people. For the Gehrig’s, it was perfect.
In December 2018, Christy’s family closed on the house. They got the keys and drove out to Tahuya. It was a classic Seattle winter day—gray, cold, and snowy. When they arrived at the house, the clouds cleared, and a rare winter blue sky stretched for miles. Her family sat on the beach and watched the sun fall down the sky as the saltwater caught its orange hues.
Soon after closing, Christy and her family were looking for ways to make their new two-bedroom home a comfortable place for eight. On the property, there was an old shed with dirt floors and a couple of leftover tools. Christy’s dad immediately went to work on renovating the shed into a third bedroom. He put in beautiful floors and even installed a window, so that you could see the ocean from inside. After extensive research, Christy settled on the Lori Wall Bed to add a comfortable space for adults to sleep.
When the Lori Wall Bed arrived, the process of putting it together was a family affair. The pieces came, and the Gehrigs put the YouTube product video on the big screen in the main house. Snacks were involved. All the family members gathered around—even the ones not involved with putting it up—and watched and discussed the video as if it were a TV show. In a couple of hours, the bed was assembled, and the shed fully came to life as a repurposed bedroom.
The Gehrig’s new home is, as Christy describes, “a house full of projects.” Their latest project, installing the Lori Wall Bed, has opened the house to be enjoyed by the whole family. With added space, her family of eight has enjoyed regular getaways. One of Christie’s greatest joys is watching her six-year-old nephew embrace the magic of Hood Canal—to hunt for sea glass and broken plant pots and to imagine the driftwood as spaceships, boats, and buildings.