and the list grows….but maybe the cabinets can stay?

J-1 called and said he was reconsidering his last assessment of the cabinets so they might be ok after a lovely and wonderful   cleaning faery scrubbed and beautified them…..and if he can find the serial number then I am told that Kraftmaid will have a record of them and can make replacement parts — so that is a WHOLE lot cheaper than a new kitchen….PHEW…….Pool is being taken care of (i know, i know….– a case of misguided priorities….but hey!   I have never had a pool! And besides we are going to ‘camp’ there over the kids spring break.)  But the list still seems to be getting longer rather than shorter…roof has (more) issues….areas are flat and need a bit of pitch so that the water runs off…, more rot in the wood (which i think will all need to be replaced eventually and there is a lot of it) a drainage issue , a septic issue…a water pump issue……

but small steps and so far, so good……i am impatient by nature– so this project will be a test for me for sure……..I am lucky to have many wonderful friends who are making the way a bit easier, by making introductions,  talking me down off of my panic “did we make a huge mistake?’  giving me good advice (even if i don’t necessarily want to hear it– you see i really do want those french doors…….and i might live to regret it).    And one friend in particular who has done so much…that i am not sure i can ever find a way to say thank you.

the long winter brings on cabinet fever?

it’s late….. forgive me.

J1 called tonight and his words were basically …..’well, after looking behind the appliances…..i think that maybe my initial take on the cabinets might be wrong……maybe they do need to be replaced…..whoever put them in…well, they weren’t very careful…..’  <<cue downward slide whistle>>   G-man is more against dealing with cabinets than he is french doors…….call this the cabinet revolt….– but really only the center island revolt– so maybe we annex that part of the kitchen to russia?  or norman island?  Bear with me .  Like i said, it is late.   1F-1 is studying for a Bio test and I am trying to keep 2f-1 from annoying her while she studies…….it’s late and everyone’s tired and tempers are not what they should be…so i am a bit punchy and there is snow in the forecast . …    After the 30 K estimate for tile work that was delivered today (much that is necessary and has to be done ….and then some — a big ticket  outdoor shower–that is desired, but not critical) staring a complete kitchen redo in the face is really not what we wanted…

but as a friend says   ‘2 live kids at the end of the day?  I win’  (and wow, with their issues tonight that was almost not the case!)

French doors or sliders……..the debate…..

So…this is probably the only (ha! SO FAR!) pretty firm disagreement  the G-man (aka the husband) and i have had about this house- is whether we are replacing the existing french doors with new french doors or with sliders– either way the doors will be replaced and  made with impact resistant glass–but the argument against french doors is that they will not wear well in a rental and that they will get banged around by the wind and people not being careful.

here are 1 and a half doors-- there are three sets of doors that run the length of the main room and then each bedroom has a set as well
here are 2 of the doors– there are three sets of doors that run the length of the main room and then each bedroom has a set as well

The argument for them is really pretty much aesthetics…….I LOVE the look of the french doors and that is what really sold me when i first entered the room with R.A.E. (but might forego the paned glass since that seems like a cleaning nightmare…) — but the french doors really go with the character of the house– and I am afraid that sliders will just not look right–also i love that you can open them both right up– a limitation with sliders since only one side opens at a time………Many of our friends and acquaintances and such have already weighed in on this and the deck is firmly stacked against my french doors…..(although not everyone thinks it is a crazy idea–and some long time residents think it would be fine).    The G-man  is even willing to entertain a compromise with one set of french doors in middle and sliders elsewhere…..i am not sure that would look right though…..SO ye  dwellers on the inter webs,  what say you?  Do I start the next french revolution, storm the bastille (or get seriously close to couples therapy) and go with the french doors (design is important!) or do i lay down my arms and  surrender to the slider……OR do we compromise (would that look strange??????) OR is there some alternative that we haven’t thought of??????? I am all ears…….(or eyes in this case)

a picture of the deck outside of the main room (i hesitate to call it a 'great room' since it's really kind of a mess and no-so-great right now!
a picture of the deck outside of the main room (I hesitate to call it a ‘great room’ since it’s really kind of a mess and no-so-great right now!)

the growing list …..and some pictures of the house as it is now.

So a short trip to try to sort out a few things… and try to get a handle on what needs to be done….and the list is LONG……most things we knew about…some (rather large ones) we did not know about….when we closed and took possession the house was a crazy mess.  J-1 got a crew in there and really cleaned out a lot of stuff and got the major stuff taken care of –for example, cleaning out the fridge…..where a rat had eaten thru the back panel of the freezer and peed in the freezer (ummmm buh bye Fridge…….), hauling a couple of truckloads to the dump, starting to power wash the exterior,  removing the evidence of rodent infestation and their dogs (which i think weren’t out very often….?) so a large list still remains,  a deep cleaning of all the rooms (which are filthy) re-grouting or simply grouting tile that was never grouted , cleaning up stone and tile (and trying to fix areas that are in serious disrepair, painting………LOTS OF PAINTING…….to try to stave off the need to replace the rails immediately……repair of the roof. New windows and doors….or replace some, repair others….. The pool is a mess– but might be able to be brought back to life– but is on a circuit that is a bit sketchy….. (yep, the electrician, who i will call J-2 was there and he just shook his head a lot…….)–Pretty much all the appliances have to go….(signs of rat infestation in the oven and probably the dishwasher and obviously the fridge) and wondering if the cabinets can be cleaned up– they are decent quality cabinets (kraftmaid) and fairly new — though they are pretty beat in certain areas  –but a total kitchen overhaul was NOT in the budget ….. <<sigh>>–   I brought down two big bags of stuff, but couldn’t really leave them at the house since there was no secure area to leave them and the place just will have too much going on — so unfortunately imposing on a friend to hang onto them until i can get someone in to change out a lock… So some pictures so you get an idea of the place …  Bonus of the trip was that J-1 said he would act as the point person/fore person for us and so that is great– someone in charge who we really like.   met also with solar people, tile person, cleaning person, and talked to the exterminator…..as much as i don’t like to exterminate, i think this calls for it……visit to STJ hardware and pardise lumber to set up an account and then the Paint Depot in St Thomas where we dropped just over 800 on painting and roofing materials….. reality is beginning to sink in…..

Porch deck was never completed-- this would be nice to do but probably is not top of the list
Porch deck was never completed– this would be nice to do but probably is not top of the list
the showers are very small-- we will probably try to bump one out to make an outdoor shower for a bedroom  but it isn't possible to do this with the two other showers
the showers are very small– we will probably try to bump one out to make an outdoor shower for a bedroom but it isn’t possible to do this with the two other showers
the window hardware in several units is rusted and/or broken..replacing these will be a huge undertaking (they are plastered in, etc)
the window hardware in several units is rusted and/or broken..replacing these will be a huge undertaking (they are plastered in, etc)

very small bathrooms all are like this -- will change out the sinks and try to upgrade it a bit with new tile (again,,,probably not immediately?)very small bathrooms all are like this — will change out the sinks and try to upgrade it a bit with new tile (again,,,probably not immediately?)

the decking is not tiled in  and the pool needs a lot of work
the decking is not tiled in and the pool needs a lot of work
needs coping or something around the top and needs to be dug out and planted!
needs coping or something around the top and needs to be dug out and planted!
the stairs between the levels are really in need of cleanup from construction-- a lot of stuff on them and a lot of damage already--
the stairs between the levels are really in need of cleanup from construction– a lot of stuff on them and a lot of damage already–these are actually some of the better looking stairs!
but at the end of the day....there is that view.....a saving grace especially now!
but at the end of the day….there is that view…..a saving grace especially now!

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

OK… i wrote LONG Post about this…and posted it….and then it didn’t show up– showing all of you how truly clueless i am…..learn by doing…that is my mantra these days…..(it might prove to be a very bad and expensive habit in other realms…)….    SO!  Finally the WAPA issue is resolved……MANY THANKS to R.A.E. for working so hard to get the power back on…i just don’t understand how people can just leave without paying their bills– but i don’t know or understand the circumstances…still I hope that no one got stuck with an out of pocket on this one.   J-1 has made great progress even in the absence of power and has cut a lot of brush, removed several loads of debris, checked out the windows and did some stealth work on the R.O.U.S.’s– so far none have shown up– but i am still waiting…these for most probably aren’t R.O.U.S.’s (thank you princess bride ….Rodents Of Unusual Size) but for me……yeah, i watched ‘Willard’ as a kid– not a good idea…..But big thank you J-1 for being so great on the clean up — and watching out for the R.O.U.S.’s …ughhhhh ….We are traveling down on Saturday for a short trip to try to prioritize what needs to be done, meet with various folks to discuss the projects we think we want to take on .   I think i might need to stay and extra day or two….(which is kind of a drag < NOT> considering the awesome winter we are having in the Northeast…  ) but I have been away a lot and we have issues here at our home due to a burst pipe… so there is a lot of ongoing work here and staying away is kind of a problem.  life is good .  if i can actually get this to post, i will feel like a winner tonight.

the view from there

the view from there
ON February 28th we closed on a house in Estate Hard Labor, St John USVI…. even though it is a relatively newer structure, we understand that the house has, well,….’issues’…..but how many? This we are still discovering….but realize that the list is going to most certainly get longer than shorter! Going in we knew it needed all the doors in front (7 big french doors….) totally replaced–probably with impact resistant glass (unless we want to build shutters?)– we also knew there was a roof leak, tiling issues (re-grouting) and some potential electrical issues (the extent of which we need to figure out), and some general construction type cleanup. Then…….after closing we found out about the rodents–….–ok, the caribbean… I get it– but they did some serious gnawing….on kitchen cabinets….ugh — ..hey, i live in NY!–Rats are a part of life– I just really don’t like them! Then other window issues, some potential lumber issues related to a bad batch of pressure treated lumber…And then there is the fact that the pool wasn’t maintained (and somehow the owners got away with not paying their WAPA bill so the power has been shut off and as of this writing, i believe it is still off! Making resolution of that matter a bit difficult…..) Lucky for us, we have R.A.E. (RealEstate Agent Extraordinaire) working on our behalf to resolve this (and SO THANKFUL FOR THAT!) and (introducing) J-1 our person on the job there who is cleaning stuff up….and delivering good and bad news….. We think that the house has good ‘bones’…..and hoping that that proves to be the case. We have friends old and new who have been giving us advice and assistance along the way and for that we are forever thankful…. Going down on Saturday to see what this really will be about…….and how long the list will be! I am still trying to learn this blog thing–so hopefully this will get better over time!

a renovation blog that may just change your mind about your caribbean dreams…….or not.