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.)

IMG_1353

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.

Little Choptank 2016 F June 235

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!

Little Choptank 2016 G July 073

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!

Little Choptank 2016 G July 202

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.

Capture.2

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:

 

Capture.4

 

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:

Little Choptank 2016 F June 186

Nice, huh?

IPAD Photos Sept 30 2016 8728

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!

Little Choptank 2016 G July 207

Building the House Continues

September
22
2016

 

View from water

View from water

So this work was going on in early June, and the building was moving along nicely.  Right after the roof trusses went in, the plywood on the roof went on – very quickly.  The sooner they could get the house closed up the better.  We lost so much time in the early spring because of rain!  The house got wrapped and the plywood went on and it really started looking like a house.

Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing

The guys started weatherproofing the roof, adding this black paper which is supposed to stick.

Front paper is done

Front paper is done

It’s supposed to stick……but this kept happening…..

Wind kept blowing the roofing paper off

Wind kept blowing the roofing paper off

The guys had to go up there and fix it three separate times!!  Finally they put up boards and nailed them in.  The problem with that was now when we had a torrential rain (which we sometimes do) the water came in and there was water on the floor!  I was very worried about that.  I mean, once that paper is up, it’s not supposed to leak, right?

I asked Fernando, our main builder…he said it would be fine.  I asked our GC Rodney, and he assured me it would not leak when the real roof went on.  I made him promise – and he said if it did he’d fix  it for us. (Didn’t convince me though).  I can’t tell you how many times I asked John.  I was driving him crazy I know, but sometimes there is just an issue that bothers you and it’s hard to let it go….it just didn’t make sense that if it was leaking now with the paper on, that the water wouldn’t get in later.  I mean we have some rain down here….sideways, horizontal, upside down…you name it, we have it.

Laying down on the job

Laying down on the job

I took this picture from the “kitchen” window of the Crab Shack.  We still had the window in then, and as you know, we are attaching the new house addition to it.  As an aside, when we spoke with an architect first about joining the two buildings, she had this “breezeway” let’s call it, as an open space, maybe a couple of chairs and a table,  maybe a window seat, but really not too usable.  But Lars, the house designer we ultimately went with, made excellent use of the space, adding a bathroom, a closet for the water heater, a window seat and my laundry room here in this space.  Brilliant!

So, while the roof wrapping, house wrapping and window work was going on, the electricians were inside wiring the house.  Lars did have an electrical plan…thank goodness.  The draftspeople who drew up the plans for the original stand-alone house that was too expensive to build (read about that here) didn’t include an electrical plan because they said all the codes are different.  How different could it be, he lives one county over.  But I’m so glad Lars put them in because to figure out by yourselves where all your electrical outlets and lights go would be a nightmare!!  We had to decide some anyway, and it wasn’t particularly easy.  The electricians were a big help with it though.  Here in the previous picture, Darren was waiting for the wires that were coming through from the outside.

Now it’s mid June – the windows are just getting started…….

Master Bath where vanity will go

Master Bath where vanity will go

John's walk-in closet

John’s walk-in closet

 

Our bedroom. On the side of  the house

Our bedroom. On the side of the house.

Our bedroom - Water side

Our bedroom – Water side

 

Side view

Side view

Along with the work that’s going on (in June) it’s gardening season.  John built me a beautiful garden last year – it was our first spring as Maryland residents. (If you’d like to read about my garden, you can read about that here.)  I learned a bit, what doesn’t grow well here, what had so many bugs and worms that I don’t want to deal with them again, and what did great.  I’m still learning, I’ll change a few things next year also.

Swiss chard did great

Swiss chard did great

The arugula, spinach and kale also did great, but once it gets hot (and it really gets hot here) they seem to die off.

Finally, some zucchini

Finally, some zucchini

I had beautiful zucchini plants last year, but only got two zucchini!  When I read up on it, I found out I didn’t have enough bees to pollinate them.  So this year I started my zucchini from seeds from Burpee that said it didn’t need bees to pollinate…and I was happy they were right!

Cukes

Cukes

This was a cucumber plant I bought at the store…by Bonnie.  It was terrible!  Last year I had so many beautiful cucumbers (a Burpee plant) that I was giving them away to strangers.  (Sadly I’m not kidding.)  But this year, this “burp-less” variety had tons of flowers, but only a handful of cucumbers.  It’s off the list for next year, that’s for sure.

Cherry tomato, beets and corn

Cherry tomato, beets and corn

I decided to give a small amount of corn a try.  It’s a small garden, I didn’t want to dedicate too much room to it, so again, I bought seeds from Burpee for a variety that’s for containers.  We had it once (it was delicious) and then a racoon got in the garden and ate the rest!  Something might have happened to that racoon because he’s not around here anymore.

 

Jalapeno and poblano peppers

Jalapeno and poblano peppers

They did great last year and they’re great again this year.  Now I have to make poppers!  I mean how many jalapenos can you eat?

Eggplant

Eggplant

Eggplant don’t really love it here.  I get 2 of them per plant.  The Asian eggplant did great last year, but I found we don’t eat them that often so I didn’t grow them this year.  The white ones don’t want to grow at all.  I had two on a plant, but they turned yellow and were hard as rocks.  But we did have some yummy eggplant parm from the regular purple ones.

And so, till next week…..enjoy the sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 F June 076

 

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….

IMG_1187

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!

Little Choptank 2016 C March 260

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

IMG_1261Little Choptank 2016 C March 271

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

Little Choptank 2016 C March 319

Little Choptank 2016 C March 326

Little Choptank 2016 C March 334Little Choptank 2016 C March 355

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.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 378

IMG_1351

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

Little Choptank 2016 C March 368

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

Little Choptank 2016 C March 387

Little Choptank 2016 C March 390

Little Choptank 2016 C March 399

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

Little Choptank 2016 C March 391

And here comes the inspector….

Little Choptank 2016 C March 396

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.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 451

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

Little Choptank 2016 C March 487

Little Choptank 2016 C March 490

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

Little Choptank 2016 C March 556

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!

Little Choptank 2016 C March 557

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

Little Choptank 2016 E May 024

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

 

Back to Work

January
15
2014

 

I’m thinking it’s about time I get back to blogging.  With the holidays, and packing up for our move, writing has kind of fallen by the wayside.  But now there’s a little bit of progress to report, so hopefully you’ll see consistent articles in the future.

(I write that as if I’m not the one in control.  Hahaha.  Hopefully some blogs will get written, let’s look at the page and see if something magically appears.) 

We always go into the city to see the tree

We always go into the city to see the tree

We had a very nice, if low key holiday. We took our annual trip into New York City.  We went to the Shake Shack for the first time, then to Rockefeller Center, to the store in the N.Y. Public Library, and then to Bryant Park.  The weather was good and the four of us had a great time. 

This year I decided not to take down every single Christmas decoration since we weren’t hosting Christmas and, well, because I just didn’t feel like it.  Our plan over the past few months has been bringing down boxes from the attic, cleaning them out, and then packing them up for the “move” by putting them in the garage.  And our attic was stuffed.  So now it’s the Christmas boxes.  I actually still have them in the living room, some still need to be weeded through.  It’s hard getting rid of some of the old decorations.  They go back a lot of years, and even if I don’t decorate with them anymore, they still bring back memories. It’s not easy letting go. 

St. Patrick's is getting a makeover

St. Patrick’s is getting a makeover

We thought our metal building would be done by now, and we were going to bring down lots of our stuff, so that when we put the house on the market (target date is this May) the house will be somewhat empty, and when the actual move happens, there won’t be that much to take.  I’m not taking a lot of the furniture.  It fit in this house, and I’ve had it for 20 years but we’ll get new stuff for our waterfront house.  Which, you will probably remember, isn’t even built yet.  We will be moving into the “Crab Shack.”  Then, hopefully in the fall, after interviewing builders and finalizing our house plans, we will start to build!  It’s so exciting. It’s THIS YEAR that we’ll be building our new house!  I can hardly believe it!  It’s been 7 years since we bought the property, and the time is almost here!  Of course living in 1000 sq. ft. cabin for a year will be a bit challenging.  Especially because I’ll want to bring a lot of my “stuff” into the Crab Shack with me. (Winter clothes, small kitchen appliances (and I have a lot), all the stuff from my office!)  But I have a feeling most of it will be in bins in the garage.  I plan to mark them well, with “things to leave in front” actually placed in the front of all the other bins.  Will that actually happen? Eh, it’s a toss-up. 

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Skating is FREE!  You can rent skates, but if you have your own, it's totally free!

Skating is FREE! You can rent skates, but if you have your own, it’s totally free!

So, on to the metal building update:  we met with Nick from Diamond State Pole Buildings in October.  That’s OCTOBER, over three months ago!  We thought the building would have been up before Christmas.  And it was no fault of Nick’s.  He sent his guy to our town hall to apply for the permit, a service they provide when you buy a building.  But here’s the catch.  When you are building anything on the water, there are rules and regulations and protocols you must follow before anything gets approved.

The Chrysler Building had just that minute turned on it's lights.

The Chrysler Building had just that minute turned on it’s lights.

So did the Empire State Building

So did the Empire State Building

We needed to get a surveyor down to the property to map out the surrounding area, and presumably to draw in where the building would be.  But, this area has parts that are in the “buffer zone.” Yes, the dreaded “buffer zone.”  You are discouraged from building in the buffer zone, it would be a whole other rigmarole to get approval, and we had enough property that the building could be moved a little to make sure it was in the safe area. (Yes, maybe some of the regulations are warranted, it saves the shoreline from erosion and the Bay from pollution.  We get it.)

The water around the boat froze.

The water around the boat froze.

Brrrrr

Brrrrr

However, we now needed another guy to come down and draw up where the buffer zone actually was, and to test the soil to make sure it could hold the weight of the building.  And this is where we lost track.  That person was unknown to us, it was around the holidays, and nobody but us cared about the time factor.  We lost a month waiting for him to get down to the property and submit his drawings.  When that finally happened (two weeks ago) we realized that we now had to add plantings (trees and shrubs) to the property in the amount of square footage of the building.  You take away with one hand; you have to give back with the other.  So I researched plants native to Maryland (a requirement) and drew up a map of our property placing the trees, large and small, and the shrubs, and we went down to Maryland to our town hall to submit our plan.  After meeting with three different people in two different parts of town, we got verbal approval.  However, the actual permit won’t be issued for two to four weeks, at which time Nick will order the building, taking another two weeks to get delivered.  Seeing the pattern here?  SLOW.  Everything is slower than you want, and you need a lot of patience!  I said to John that when we move down in May we should start applying for our building permit for the house, which we won’t need until October.  And hopefully we will get it in time!  

Lots of geese flying in

Lots of geese flying in

Ice is gone, all is well

Ice is gone, all is well

 

Beautiful vs. Practical

November
6
2013

When I did my post on kitchen sinks, I actually was going to start writing about a post I read regarding a square sink.  The inside was totally squared off, and people were weighing in on whether it was worth it because it was such a pain to clean.  One person commented she would take beauty over easy any day.  And that got me thinking that I was probably the opposite.

Maybe it’s because after 30 some years of marriage and motherhood I’d rather take an easier route.  But if I want to be honest here, I think I was always that way.  I just think things should be practical.  Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful also.  Both would be nice, but if I had to choose?  I think practical would win.  For instance, let’s go back to sinks for a minute.  There is a style of sink that is totally squared off inside.  It’s an interesting look, but I’ve read it is very difficult to clean in the corners.

square sink

square sink3

square sink2

This last picture actually shows (to me anyway) how it can get gunked up at the bottom.  Beautiful design? Yes.  Practical? No!

There are other applications that I also would choose the practical, like for instance the rope handrails.  As you know, we will be building a house on the water.  And yes, we love the beachy theme.  Rope handrails would fit right in as a design element.  But could you even use them as an actual handrail?  Can you lean on them to any extent?  Or, when you’ve just been through knee surgery and need to hold on for dear life going up and down the stairs, will a rope actually do the job?   Okay, that was me recently, but I digress.  Here are some examples:

rope stair rail

rope stair rail2

rope stair rail3

Again, beautiful, but I’ll stay with the normal a/k/a practical.

The next item, and this is something I have to admit I have never understood, is the “for show” towels in the bathroom.  I mean, really, what’s the point and how am I supposed to dry my hands?  Yes, sometimes people put out the little paper towel holders, we can each take our own little paper napkin so we don’t spread germs.  But here are gorgeous matching towels hanging on a beautiful towel rack, just asking to be used, and I can’t touch them for fear of messing them up.

towels2

Towelstowels3

I get it, I really do, and I’m only half serious.  I’m somewhat of a germaphobe myself, so I understand how useful it is that we all get our own little paper napkin.  But people don’t actually live like this with towels hanging just for show, do they?  Do you?  We don’t.  We have one big towel hanging for people to dry their hands on after they wash them.  The hands are clean at that point, right?  Do people live like that when company isn’t around?  I’ve always wondered that.

I also have issues with a product that, I have to admit, I have chosen the “beautiful” in the Crab Shack.  Glass shower doors.  In my present older home, we haven’t completely redone either bathroom, one has glass doors but it’s that old-fashioned patterned type of glass that doesn’t have to be wiped down every time, so not the same.  In the Crab Shack we wanted the clear glass that is shown all over now, and is truly beautiful.  But…. come on, you’ve got to agree with me here, it’s a total pain to squeegee it down all the time!  I try to get into the shower before John does sometimes just so I won’t have to do it!  (Don’t tell him.)

glass shower doors2

glass shower doors

We’re trying to come up with ideas for when we build the house.  We’ve tossed around the idea of glass blocks (John just loves these, me… not as much) or a curved type of tile wall with no actual door.  Do you have any ideas for us on this issue?   There are some frosted or patterned glass doors, maybe they wouldn’t show the water as much:

glass shower door frosted2

glass shower door frosted

But, yeah, they’re not the same.  I really haven’t come up with a solution to this yet, but I really, really, really don’t want to be cleaning those glass doors every morning!  I have better things to do, like go fishing, or kayaking, or reading, or cooking, or writing, or thinking or watching tv or having my teeth pulled.  Okay, not that.  But you get what I’m saying.

I’d go for the practical.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Am I the only one?

Thank you to “Houzz” for all the pictures.