Katrina Cottage Makeover

October
29
2016

It’s a present day blog post.  We are still living above the garage in John’s office/guest room.  I have to admit it’s not as bad living here as I first thought.  The builders knew we needed the Crab Shack  makeover done quickly because we had friends from Florida coming for four days and we wanted them to stay there. John named this endeavor “Operation Jesse.”  Meanwhile we were settled in to the little garage apartment.  (Emphasis on little.)

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Well, they are not done in the Crab Shack, but it is finished enough so that our friends could be comfortable. Our “stuff” is still all around the perimeter of the rooms, but the couch and chairs and tv are usable, as is the bed and the new bathroom space.  There is still spackling to be done upstairs in the loft, and painting and electric work in the main room of the cottage, plus the big new closet has to be finished.

But, we’re moving forward at least.  I don’t have access to my computer – writing a blog on the Ipad (for me at least) – not so easy.  So, take a look around at how the Crab Shack a/k/a Katrina Cottage is evolving:

 

Our old kitchen

Our old kitchen

 

Wall is where kitchen was

Wall is where kitchen was

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 500

Old bathroom

New bathroom with tub

New bathroom with tub

 

Mudroom then

Mudroom then

 

Mudroom so far now, with doorway to new "addition"

Mudroom so far now, with doorway to new “addition”

I set up the new closet space with a cooler and coffee maker:

Mini kitchenette

Mini kitchenette

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All the comforts of home, huh?  We’re thinking we’ll be in the garage another week.  Jesse and Pam are leaving Sunday, and we hope to be back in the Crab Shack ourselves by next Saturday.  I’ll let you know.

Enjoy the sunset!

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Green Metal Roof

October
21
2016
Roof going up

Roof going up

It’s July here in blog-time.  And HOT!  Very, very hot….here on the Eastern Shore it’s 98 degrees and with the heat index it’s been up to 105!  And these guys are installing our green metal roof!  To their credit, they work all day, taking their lunch in their air-conditioned cars and dousing themselves with water from the hose once in a while.  I feel badly for them, but we’re happy the work is progressing.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 001

We have a green metal roof on the Crab Shack and we’ve been very happy with it.  It’s rated for winds over 200 mph – and let’s hope we never have to test that! It’s the heavy gauge, which again, is great for us, but a little tougher to install.  To be honest, there are a couple of things about it I wish were different.  In the bedroom of the Crab Shack, when it rains it’s a little noisy.  Not so much in the living room, I guess because the ceiling is so high in there.  The other thing, in the winter when we have snow or once in a while ice on the roof, it slides down the metal when the sun warms it up and crashes to the ground.  It’s loud and would be dangerous if you were out there under it when it fell.  Now I know why they have those little stoppers on some roofs.  Makes sense.

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Little Choptank 2016 G July 025

The cupola looks nice with the roof all done.  While this was going on, we were working on the gas fireplace.  We love a real wood fireplace, and we’ve had them before.  Now that I think of it, we’ve always had a fireplace.  In Long Island we had a wood fireplace, in Pennsylvania a wood one also.  We eventually added an insert to that wood fireplace because the room was so big and the ceiling so high, and it was HOT in there, even in the coldest, snowiest winters!   Then in NJ we started with wood, but Chrissy and I would cough whenever John lit a fire.  We even raised the chimney because it was too short and we thought that was the problem. It helped a little but not enough. We finally decided to change to gas, and that’s when we found out the flue wasn’t positioned right and was actually too shallow so the smoke would seep back into the room. Converting to gas solved the problem and actually converted us to believers.  We’ll have the wood fire when we build the outdoor fire pit.  I know just where I want to put it!

Here's the spot for the gas fireplace

Here’s the spot for the gas fireplace

And our front door arrives!

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Little Choptank 2016 G July 076

Front door installed

Front door installed

It’s always something, isn’t it?  The plans from Lars (the house designer) called for a mahogany door – at a cost of $12,000!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t really need a $12,000 mahogany door.  So we went with the white.  Then, the side lights he called for were a little wider – something that would have to be custom-made.  It was supposed to be a 7 foot door and instead is 5 foot. If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t as big as it was supposed to be.  Looks pretty good I think.

A real-time update:  We are staying up in the little “apartment” above the garage while they are working in the Crab Shack, it’s a little crowded, but isn’t that bad.

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I’ll be glad to get back into the Crab Shack though, even without a kitchen.  I’ll be back next week as we move along on our building process.  Meanwhile, enjoy the sunset!

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Changing the Katrina Cottage

October
13
2016

Little Choptank Nov.5 to 7, 2011 078

Lots going on around here in real-time.  We are packing up the Crab Shack, the kitchen and bathroom and mudroom that is, because the builders are starting in here on Monday.  We’re going to live in John’s office, which is above the garage.  It also serves as a guest suite – it has a daybed and a bathroom of course.  So we’ll be living up there for as long as it takes them to finish up in here. (Hopefully a week to ten days.)

Plus it’s my daughter’s birthday tomorrow and we are going to VA for a day trip to celebrate!  It’s also my cousin Irene’s birthday – so it’s a double celebration! Busy, busy, busy.

Little Choptank 2015 J October 262

The plans call for them to break through in the mudroom and add double doors into the back hallway of the “addition” a/k/a the house.  This was the requirement to make it an addition….only the one entry.  Then, they are tearing down the wall of the bathroom in the Crab Shack where the sink is now and re-configuring the bathroom (except for the shower) to make it bigger.

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 500

We’re also adding a tub – which actually was the cause of much conversation as to what tub we would get.  We were going to get one of those beautiful stand alone tubs, that was our decision for a long time.

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Then we realized that a lot of the guests who would actually use the tub would not find it that convenient to get into and out of.  So then we went to a drop in tub.  They are also beautiful and we’d have the tile surround and have Fernando (lead builder) make wainscoting to go in the front.

Here was my vision – not the tile all the way up to the ceiling, but maybe a third of the way.  The shower and tub placement are like they will be in the Crab Shack:

 

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So we went to Seaford, Delaware where the plumbing showroom was (had great Pizza there at Sal’s by the way) and gave Karen from Elegant Designs Showroom our plans to make sure everything would fit.  Well, surprise, surprise and not in a good way….we don’t have room for a drop in tub!!  So if we want to completely change the floor plans (a definite NO) then we had one choice – a slide in tub.  A plain old tub.  It’s a little fuzzy but here is a picture of the new configuration of the bathroom and closet – where our kitchen is now:

Capture

I was a little disappointed – a “little” in this case meaning “very.”  There’s no room for a tile surround or the wainscoting, although we’ll still have tile around the three sides of it.  But let me tell you, by this point in the project, even though it’s been a very good experience and we’re still happy with the workers and the work, we’re a little tired of it all.  So, we bought the tub and moved on.

The rest of the project is moving along – although slowly it seems.  Everything takes longer than you think.  Everybody says it on a building project as large as this, and it’s so true.  When the actual building started – in March – John thought they’d be done by his birthday – early August.  There’s a reason why we say he could be the president of the optimist club.  I thought they’d be done by my birthday – early October.  But now, we’ll be “thankful” if we get in the house by Thanksgiving!  We’re going to spend it at Chrissy’s in Virginia anyway.

So, next time we’ll be back to the progress as it moved along in July – putting on the metal roof.  Meanwhile, enjoy our sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 089

 

 

Progress on the House

October
3
2016

 

I just found out today that we have to move out of the Crab Shack in two weeks!  I don’t think I’m mentally ready for that, although truth be told, there isn’t going to be a whole house to pack up, just the kitchen and the mudroom. But still.  We won’t have a kitchen anymore until the house is all completed.  And we are moving into the garage – where John’s office is.  Thankfully it has a comfortable day bed and a bathroom.  And a coffee pot.  Phew!  It’ll be a little tight and a little inconvenient (little in this case meaning a lot) but we’ll be here on the property, can keep an eye on what’s going on, and of course we can still come into the Crab Shack when the workers leave to get clothes or whatever from the bedroom.  Plus my cousin Irene and her husband Gene said we could stay with them at their (new) house up in Easton if we get sick of the garage.  So we have a back up plan.

 

Goodbye cute little kitchen

Goodbye cute little Crab Shack kitchen

I know I mentioned it before, but what we are doing is adding the house to the Crab Shack as an “addition.”  We’ll have (as allowed by the town’s rules) one access from this building to that – in the mudroom.  And by doing it this way, we were able to be grandfathered in to keep the house closer to the water (setbacks have changed since we built the Crab Shack). And we won’t have to get whole house sprinklers.  Also, of course, it was a less costly project than putting in a new road and new septic and a new well. You’ve heard my story about how expensive that was going to be.

 

The new doorway into house will be right where window is now

The new doorway into house will be right where window is now

 

Before I show you what was going on next (we’re up to the end of June) I have a question I’d like your opinion on.  Our builder told John this morning (I wasn’t there then) that they are going to run the wood floor from the front door to the back the long way.  Like this:

Floor going from front to back the long way. (picture from Houzz)

Floor going from front to back the long way. (picture from Houzz)

 

Now I think if he had asked me, I would have said to lay it so it goes side to side.  Like this:

Flooring side to side

Flooring side to side (picture from Houzz)

We have a long hallway, and a big great room to the back wall of windows and doors.  It seems like you’ll see the all the lines where the boards meet and it will make it look even longer….and in this case, believe me, it’s long enough.

I’ve been reading up and mostly people say it’s a matter of opinion, although some architects and builders do recommend laying it perpendicular to the floor joists.  I’ll have to ask Rodney (our builder) how our joists are running.  What do you guys think?  Long way or side to side?

Okay, one last thing – well, two things -  before I move on…..here’s a pet peeve I want to rant about…..you go on a site to order something and specifically check the box that says, “I do NOT want to receive emails and promotional materials from you” and then you get them anyway!  Argh!  Why bother asking me if you’re not going to pay attention to my answer!!

Also, I want to order the Jill mirror from Ballard (I’m sure you’ve seen it, it’s one of their most popular pins) and a canvas picture of a boat for the back hall – the shipping is $71!!  Seventy-one dollars!  Yeah okay, the mirror might be heavy, but the canvas picture isn’t that heavy.  Seventy-one!  I still can’t get over it.

 

Okay, so back we go to the progress – at this point we didn’t have a ton of decisions to make – they really had all been made already.  Lars, the house designer, had everything written on the plans, and in this case the plans were everything!  With Thom, the builder on the Crab Shack project, we or he would just change things on the fly and it was no problem.  But I guess every builder is different, and probably, using the plans like your bible is more the norm.  We didn’t realize how nice it was NOT to have to make 99 decisions on the spur of the moment!

 

Here comes the windows!

Here comes the window!

We knew of course that these were big windows.  But you can’t really appreciate exactly how big till  you see them next to a person!  They are gigantic!

Copy of IMG_1084

Copy of IMG_1085

They got it in

They got it in

Only two more to go!

All in, safe and sound.

All in, safe and sound.

They were also building us the cupola this month.

That's a frightening height to be building from.

That’s a frightening height to be building from.

 

Little Choptank 2016 F June 221

The cupola is actually centered in the front, but of course the back didn’t frame up the same way.  Lars warned us it would be off-center in the back, but we really wanted it so we decided we were okay with it.

Front and center

Front and center

Off center cupola and the rest of the windows and doors in the great room.

Off center cupola and the rest of the windows and doors in the great room.

Here’s the great room windows from the inside:

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Nice, huh?

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A lot of progress was made in June.  I felt sorry for the guys some days, it was such a hot a humid summer!  Many days with the heat index it was over 100 degrees!  But they kept working!  Good job, guys!

Enjoy the sunset, and here’s a little guy John found in the driveway:

Maryland terp!

Maryland terp!

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The Framing Continues – Roof Trusses

September
14
2016

 

View from the drone

View from the drone

Here’s an awesome picture John took with the drone.  I just love these type of pictures…..it’s opened up a whole new world of photography to me…and it’s so fun!

Where old house used to be

Where old house used to be

All that hay and light green grass is where the old house was.  (You can read more about that here.) On the other side of our fence is our neighbor Noelle.  She’s selling her place….if anyone is interested.  :)

Anyway, the guys worked very quickly on the roof trusses, it was amazing!  Lars, our house designer (he wasn’t an architect and he wasn’t a draftsman) used to manage a roofing company, so he felt using trusses instead of building the roof piece by piece as you go was better for us, with all the peaks and roof lines.

Little Choptank 2016 E May 116

Little Choptank 2016 E May 121

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Little Choptank 2016 E May 137

And the best part was they were all done in two days!

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Here you can see the entrance to the property, and our metal building.

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Little Choptank 2016 F June 003

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From the front with the “Crab Shack”…..

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From the back…..

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I was surprised to find out that almost 4 out of 5 new homes built in America use manufactured roof trusses to frame the roof.  It replaces the conventional rafters and ceiling joists and enables a builder to construct homes that have more complex roof and ceiling designs and do it quickly and accurately.

 

Here are some of the advantages:

Trusses can span long distances and eliminate the need for a lot of load bearing walls.

It’s less costly than stick roof framing because it can be made of shorter lengths of 2 by 4’s.

It can be designed for many different roof styles.

They are designed by engineers and will meet the roof load and building codes.

They can be erected quickly.

Well, we are finally on our way.  So many decisions have to be made in the next few weeks and months, some rather quickly.  And anybody who knows me will tell you, I do not like making snappy decisions.  I like to research, and to mull.  The definition for that is perfect – to think about deeply and at length.  Yep, I like to mull about my decisions.  Of course, since we’ve been planning on building for a lot of years now, some decisions are made.  Others have been made on the spot.  Scary!

Come back and take a look at what they are….and maybe even help!

Little Choptank 2016 E May 095

The Building Begins

September
7
2016

 

Delivering the Wood

Delivering the Wood

You can imagine that this was an exciting day for us.  Our house (now it’s actually called an “addition” – more on that later) was about to start.  After so many years and so many plans, and changes, and money… here it is….the day!  This guy – we named him Mr. Happy – never smiled.  We figured he hated his job…but we were ecstatic!

Three days later our builders arrived.

The Beginning

The Beginning

Little Choptank 2016 D April 127

Little Choptank 2016 D April 130

Every day there was some progress – all that took about seven days, not counting the weekend.

 

More wood deliveries

More wood deliveries

 

The plywood starts

The plywood starts

 

Meanwhile, John and I decided we wanted to build one of those mileage directional signs.  We had pallets around – some of them pretty beat up, but we were able to salvage a lot of pieces.  And using Pinterest as inspiration, he cut some into shapes, others just with a point, and I painted them and looked up mileage.

Little Choptank 2016 D April 090

He cemented the post down by our little beach area, I think it came out pretty good!

When the plywood was done, the next step was the walls!  I know, we’re getting a little nutty here, but this was thrilling!

Little Choptank 2016 E May 043

Little Choptank 2016 E May 046

With the framing going up, it really started looking like a house.

View from the water

View from the water

 

There’s the Crab Shack, cute, little Katrina Cottage.  If you’ve followed along you already know the cost of building the stand-alone house in the middle of the property wound up being too expensive. (You can read about that here) And if we wanted to do a stand-alone where this “addition” is now, we actually wouldn’t have been able to!  Rules have changed, and we would have had to build farther back from the water. There were also many more rules and regulations that would have to be met…such as sprinklers in every room.  Now sprinklers are a good idea, don’t get me wrong.  But we feel they should be the choice of the homeowner.  They are also very expensive, AND…down here, we all have wells for our water.  The well would not be able to keep up with the demand if there should be a fire!  So, some people (we’ve been told) have added huge tanks to hold water!  At great expense!  Crazy.  So, we went down to town hall to find out if it would be possible to “add-on” to the Crab Shack, and even though we all love it, we are changing it a bit inside and adding our “house” to it!  More on this in a future post.

So as the framing is getting worked on, we get this delivery….roof trusses!  The truck was gigantic, the driver was extremely adept at maneuvering, and then he just lifted the back of the cab and let them fall off!  I was shocked!  But don’t worry, they were fine.

Roof trusses

Roof trusses

 

He just drops them!

He just drops them!

 

Next post, we’ll see the trusses getting installed, and some more awesome drone pictures!  Come back and see!  Meanwhile, enjoy the white heron and a beautiful sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 012.jpg cropped

Little Choptank 2016 G July 089

 

 

 

It All Starts with a Good Foundation

 

 

August
31
2016

 

The project finally begins!

The project finally begins!

Yeah, I know.  It’s been awhile.  Don’t remind me.  First nothing was going on.  Then everything.  I will try to get back on track here and update you all with the progress.  And progress there has been!

The first thing that goes on when building a house, of course, is the foundation.  I never knew what went into it, cement I figured, but I never gave it too much thought.  But seeing the progress day by day, it truly was amazing just how many man hours and how much material went into what is underneath my house, stuff you are never going to see.

First they marked the area with red paint.  Thank goodness it didn’t rain before they came back to start digging!

Strings and red paint

Strings and red paint

And it begins!

And it begins!

They start prepping the site

They start prepping the site

 

 

Believe it or not, it's very precise

Believe it or not, it’s very precise

During the few days it took to do all these trenches, it would rain. It was very slow going for a while because they would have to wait for it to dry out before any more work could be done.

Then, they accidentally cut our water line and a temporary fix was done – a hose.  Which we are still using until it’s time to start working on the well.  Believe it or not, the pressure is better now!

Hose being used for water to the Crab Shack and the electric  line is covered up for protection

Hose being used for water to the Crab Shack and the electric line is covered up for protection

 

Next rebar goes in for support.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 188

Little Choptank 2016 C March 189

Next comes the cement….

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What couldn’t be poured directly from the truck had to be moved with a large metal bucket.  It was very labor intensive!

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After all the cement was poured, again the rain delayed the process.  The workers had to clean off the cement a few days!

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So, it mostly dried out, and now the dirt has to be moved and the site cleaned up.

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Okay, now after the site it cleaned up, there are red lines drawn on the cement, and in come the cement blocks!

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Little Choptank 2016 C March 326

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They build them and level them, you would think it’s easy, but with laying the mortar just so, and leveling them off each time, it’s a tremendously labor intensive process.

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Next they “parged” the outside area of cinder blocks.  It’s a cement plaster that makes a smooth surface.

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Next came piles of dirt and they rolled on a black tar-like substance….waterproofing.

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Little Choptank 2016 C March 390

Little Choptank 2016 C March 399

More metal is inserted to make the blocks even stronger…..

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And here comes the inspector….

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So, all was well and good, and the work continued.  So far this took about a week to ten days.  The dirt is spread…..

Little Choptank 2016 C March 417

Little Choptank 2016 C March 419

Here is an awesome picture of the entire foundation with the dirt all finished.  John took it with our drone.  You can see the area between the Crab Shack (Katrina Cottage) and the new addition. We wanted to join the two buildings and hopefully this area, which will have a bathroom and the laundry room, will look like it belongs.

The area (grey-ish dirt) to the right of the pool was where the old house was.  We bought the property knowing it had to be knocked down, although it was more expensive and a much bigger production that we thought.

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So at this point, we thought the foundation was finished.  But it wasn’t.  Now it needed rocks!

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Little Choptank 2016 C March 490

You see the concrete blocks sitting around in piles…. now it’s their turn to get cemented….

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And so, finally, finally the foundation is complete.  It took a month from the time the foundation started to the day we got a wood delivery – so the actual building could begin!

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Come back next week to see the progress.  Enjoy the rainbow ( a good omen in my opinion) and the sunset.

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Little Choptank 2016 C March 292

What’s Not Going On

March
4
2016

 

We were hoping that by this time our “addition” would be well on its way.  It’s not.  As a matter of fact, it’s so far not that it hasn’t even started.  In a previous post I wrote about how naive we were about the process of drawing up our own plans, and about how expensive it would be to build! (Read about it here.)  We knew, once we got back to our planning, everything would move a little slower than we wanted.  But not this slow!

Katrina Cottage

Katrina Cottage

As I wrote in that previous post, we abandoned our house plans that were years (and years)  in the making, and we decided (and believe me, I really had to come to grips with this) to ADD on to our little Katrina cottage.  (a/k/a the Crab Shack.) Most of the email I get is about the Katrina cottage.  People just seem to love it, and we do too.  However, as I’ve told everyone who has written with questions about it,  it is a little small for living in full-time.  For us, it was going to be a guest cottage, but now, since our big, beautiful stand alone house was too expensive, we decided to use the Crab Shack and weave it into our plans.  (yes, I know…..you’re aghast.)  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Things had to be done before we could even think about building anything anywhere.  First, of course, we had to get new plans drawn up.  We weren’t ready back in May to start all over talking “plans” again, so we waited a month or so.  But then, as you could imagine, we had to wait till the house “designer” was available, and that took a month and a half.  Then the process of creating this completely new structure and adding it to the Crab Shack, well, all that took another month or two.  We actually thought we’d be able to start the project in maybe November or December – the weather here in Maryland is still okay, but no.   There was still stuff to do.

We had the old house to knock down. It looked pretty nice from the outside, but the inside was completely gutted.  It was ruined by a storm and burst pipes by the previous owner and was left to rot.  We knew we’d have to take it down when we bought the property, and we waited all these years until we were ready to build because down here, if you build – where you are “taking away” land you must plant native plants to replace that land.  So if we kept the house, we would only have to make up the difference between the square footage of the old house and the new house with plantings.  In this case, it was equal, which worked out for us! (Yay, something worked out!)

 

 

The front of the old house

The front of the old house

 

The back

The back

 

Waiting for Kyle to be able to knock down the house took quite awhile.  It rained so much in the fall, and then Kyle went on vacation.  The weather was a factor, and believe it or not, so were the tides!

Knocking down the house

Knocking down the house

Little Choptank 2016 A January 099

What it used to look like driving in - way back when

What it used to look like driving in – way back when before the entrance fence and gate

And now, without the house

And now, without the house

 

Then the Bocce court had to be moved.  That’s not something you hear everyday.  But we had built a Bocce court to the side of the Crab Shack, and now, the new house was going to be added on over there.

Moving the bocce court

Moving the Bocce court

 

Little Choptank 2016 A January 096

Okay, on to the next thing.  See that green box near the Bocce area?  That’s our electric.  We have all our electric underground (which is really, really nice!) but that box is also now in the way.  So when we first bought the place, we paid to have it moved there out of our way.  And now we had to pay to have it moved again!  But then the tides came!

The electric box is surrounded

The electric box is surrounded

 

We'd never seen it this high!

We’d never seen it this high!

 

So we had to wait.  Till the electric company could come to move the box, and our electricians could come to help coordinate with the electricity from the house, and for the HVAC system to be moved from one side of the Crab Shack to the other.  Wait, wait, wait.

 

Preparing the new area for all the electric

Preparing the new area for all the electric

 

Moving the electric box

Moving the electric box

 

The area is now all clear!

The area is now all clear!

So everything is ready for the next step, the actual START of the project.  The mason has to come to stake out the building, which then has to be inspected. After that begins the excavation!  But first the ground was too wet, then it was too cold, and then too windy.  It’s always something.  Next week will begin the 4th week with nothing going on.

Hopefully next time I’ll have some progress to report.  For now, I’m researching appliances and flooring.  Get your suggestions ready.  I’ll need advice!

Adding onto the Katrina Cottage

Adding onto the Katrina Cottage

 

Property Improvement

March
12
2015

pictures from phone 505

When John and I moved down to our “retirement” property full-time a few months ago, we decided to make a few improvements even though winter was coming and we might not be able to enjoy them until spring.  One thing high on John’s list was an awning for the back deck!  One of the reasons we fell in love with our property was the unobstructed view. Yes, shade is nice, but our property in New Jersey was surrounded by trees and was so shady it always seemed dark. Plus, raking leaves is not something we want to spend our time doing.   Our place here is the opposite, it’s BIG SKY country,  but along with that comes a summer sun that is so bright you need sunglasses inside.  Our awning will bring down the temperature in the back where we spend most of our time at least 10 degrees, plus I won’t have to spend my time squinting – always a good thing!

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Here’s how it looks from the inside:

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Nice and shady, huh?

 

Little Choptank 2014 K Oct, Nov and other pics 124

So with that project done, we moved on to what I would say was my number one priority:  finishing off the fence!  John and I both agree Robert Frost had it right when he wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  After we were here all the time we began noticing that our neighbor’s dog was leaving us little gifts.  Gifts you don’t want.  And after spending more and more time cleaning up after a dog I don’t own, we knew it was time to complete the project!

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This part of the fence may look a little strange, but we cut it down this way so our neighbor’s view of the water isn’t blocked.  And it’s not the way we face when we’re looking at our view and sunset, so it doesn’t bother us too much.

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And here’s our beautiful gate:

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Ah, fences.  They are also a very good thing.

The third project which we are all excited about (and by all I mean John and myself, and Chrissy and my cousin Irene) is the garden!  Chrissy and Irene will have a spot for themselves and for our areas we’re going to put in raised beds and one waist-high bed for herbs.   John built it for me in December!  Yep, December.

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Little Choptank 2014 L Nov, Dec and other pics 314

We were so naive then, thinking what a mild and short winter we were going to have.

Then the ice came.

I thought this was bad:

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Till we had this:

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Little Choptank 2016 C March 005

It’s mostly melted now, although the cove isn’t completely unfrozen.  Soon though.  Very soon.  Spring in 8 days!

And that’s a wonderful thing!

Living in our Katrina Cottage

February
13
2015

 

We finally made the move!  And this beautiful site – taken from my front porch – greeted us two days later!  An omen you say?  I think so.

An all out Full Rainbow!

An all out Full Rainbow!

It’s been a long road moving down to our beautiful “designing our retirement” property. We’ve owned the property eight years now, and have been building things little by little – the garage, the Crab Shack, (see the inside here),  the metal building, the bocce court, the wind turbine and let’s not forget the fence (more on this in a future post) -  till we culminate with the Dream House!

We needed to fix up our house, and it needed a lot more work than we realized!  When you live in a place for 22+ years, you don’t notice how dated things have become.  We actually worked on some part of the house for over a year!  One of the first things was cleaning out the attic.  While I was recuperating from knee surgery, John and Jackson brought down boxes, and I was able to go through them a few at a time. We cleaned it out and brought the bins down to Maryland.  That was “Truck Number One” as it’s called around here.  Just FYI, we went up to “Truck Number Four.” Then we started updating.  And updating.  And updating some more.  Here’s an example:

Before update

Before update

 

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a future post I’ll chronicle more of the work we did on the house and give you a few suggestions based on things we’ve learned.

 

But as I take a quick look back at last year – February 13, 2014 – here is what was outside my door:

snowstormsnow2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And thankfully, here is what is outside my door today:

Little Choptank 2015 B February 215      Little Choptank 2015 B February 216

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, today it’s cold, and I won’t say we’ll never get snow.  But it’s always warmer than where we lived in NJ, and there will be less snow.  And that – for sure – is a good thing!