One of the best days of our lives. <3
One of the best days of our lives. <3
One of the best days of our lives. <3
It’s been a while since I last posted. But a lot has happened. The next 4-5 blog posts will be “catch-up” for everything I haven’t written about over the last three months. We’ve been incredibly busy, not only with the remodel, but also with our precious new born son (don’t skip ahead readers!) To top it off, our annual music festival, Backwoods, is quickly coming upon us. All of this combined with our software company PromoJuice growing as fast as it is has stripped me of any free time to write really. So, catch up it is. I owe it to myself, and to our readers following along.
As with the rest of the house, Liam’s future room hadn’t been updated since the 70’s or 80’s. The room needed to be done from floor to ceiling, electrical and all. As with every room, we started with the demolition, removing the fan, the old closet doors (that were being used as doors to the room), pulled the mirror off the wall, the bathroom light fixture, and prepped the walls for painting.
We decided to move forward with remodeling the hallway at the same time as Liam’s room since it connected our bedroom, which we had already painted, completed electrical, and ceiling work in. So the very first step was painting both the nursery and the hallway.
To speed up the process I used a paint sprayer, which is messy as hell, but gets the job done incredibly fast. You really have to make sure EVERYTHING is out of the room which you don’t want paint on, or at minimum covered. Don’t be surprised if it gets under the cover still. We plastic sheeted off every opening to the other rooms we didn’t want paint on.
I decided I would build some floating shelves in Liam’s room, after Shaleece presented me with the idea, and as with everything told me, “Come on, you can do it. It will be easy for you!” They actually turned out really awesome, and I documented the entire process; so, I’m going to put up a post dedicated to “How to Build Floating Shelves” in case any of you want to try your hand at some carpentry for the next article as a side bar to our remodel progress.
After the shelves were done, and room painted, besides some minor electrical and fixtures work, the flooring was the next major job to tackle. I learned a thing or two in my day about laying tile (this isn’t the first house I’ve laid tile in) and the best advice I can give is to spend the extra money on a Floor Leveling System. It keeps any “lippage” from occurring by simultaneously lifting the tile from the bottom, and squeezing down on it from the top, at the corners where multiple tiles meet. Basically, if you’ve ever seen a room where the tile edges are at different heights (causing edges) it’s because they didn’t use one of these systems and probably used the good ol’ regular spacers. It’s almost critical in a house like ours where you have multiple types of flooring meeting up in different areas at slightly different heights.
Sebastian learned a thing or two about tiling and helped as well. He got an opportunity to use the tile saw, lay some mortar, and throw a few tiles into place. He did great for his first go-around.
We more or less finished up in Liam’s room with the exception of the windows and the barn doors which have been on order. The photo doesn’t show the grout, but that’s been complete as well. I’ll be sure to post some final photos of the room once the barn doors are up and the new windows are installed… “Soon Come” as they say on the island. Liam will be here soon, and we can’t wait…. well actually I’m playing catchup and most of you guys know he’s already here… but that’s what I was thinking at the time I actually took this photo… 🙂
We had a few adjustments made to the renderings of the plans for the pool and balconies. We also got a few additional views rendered out to see how the upstairs back patio flowed.
We adjusted the outdoor kitchen downstairs to ensure we had room for a sink, fridge, and grill.
We adjusted the scuba room storage placement on the back of the house so that it didn’t cover one of the few windows in the small studio apartment. (To make sure there was still good ventilation there.)
We discussed a secret path (barely visible from the top view) through the jungle that would lead up to the upstairs back patio up the side of the hill to connect the back patio to the pool patio.
We added in the sliding panoramic doors on the South side of the house/balcony. Now both the South Wall and East Wall of the house open completely up to the balconies upstairs.
Finally we took a look at what the entrance to the balcony looks like from the back patio, and the placement of where they would connect.
We also discussed a few other things not shown in the renderings, such as making the fireplace outside gas driven since we have winds up here for both safety and smoke aversion.
I think we’re now ready to start getting quotes and bids from contractors on making this happen! Hopefully our designer captured our vision within our budget!
I started on the Nursery last week, prepping it for paint. I have to paint this weekend. Tile hopefully starting the next. Only 5 more weeks until Liam is born!
Another update soon when the nursery is finished!
We recently invited Shane LeBlanc of Selective Designs to fly out to St. Croix and spend the afternoon with us discussing the design and our dreams for our outdoor living space, pool, and major remodel to the structure of our house by adding a wrap-around gallery style balcony. We had all sorts of ideas, infinity edge on the cliffside, lowered bar on the cliffside with multiple levels of decking, fire pit, lounge space – lots of lounge space, wet deck, outdoor grille and kitchen area, and a room for my scuba gear easily accessible from our Jeep for cleaning, rinsing, drying, and storage.
Shane is an award winning globally known pool and landscape designer. His work is simply incredible. When he saw where we were, he immediately wanted to do the project because in his words, “With this view we can create an award winning pool, and that’s what I do, award winning pools.”
When he got to the house, Shane seemed to grab our vision immediately, and snapped some photos of the house and surrounding views. I sent him our survey so he had the setbacks and exact dimensions of the current structure. Honestly, for as short of a time as he was here (maybe an hour or so), I was a tad worried he wasn’t going to be able to have all he needed to create the design.
Boy was I wrong.
The design he sent over captured our vision almost perfectly! Sure, some doors are going to look a little different, maybe a plant or two, and who knows on the colors, but more or less everything is sitting in its place! It literally IS our dream backyard! He not only did the 2D drawings, which we’ll now be taking to contractors to bid the project, but a 3D model of which we got lots of still shots and a fly-through video to really show off the idea. We now have our eye literally on the prize. If only we could speed up the next two years that it will take to build it. So, who’s coming to visit?
I apologize for the time lapse since my last post. After two straight weeks of working on The Mermaid Villa to finish it for one of my companies’ superstars, Sebastian, and his big move down to St. Croix, I was so dead beat tired from “working on the house” that I switched gears physically and mentally and went back to focusing on my day job for a bit. The timing couldn’t have been better either as I really needed to focus on the Backwoods at Mulberry Mountain lineup announcement which happened November 30th. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I own a large multi-stage music festival in Arkansas, which sees up to 10,000 people a day who come for camping, art, and music in the Ozark National Forest for four nights a year. It’s a ton of work, and our lineup announcement requires a ton of focus to secure the right acts and get it distributed to the masses.
Anyways, we finally snapped a photo of Terry painting! She was such a huge help and we couldn’t have finished the place without her.
Dave also came down for another visit and we busted out the final plumbing in the bathroom, tile, ceiling fans, and electrical. The place really came out great. The bathroom was the most work, as we literally stripped it down to bare concrete walls, and redid all of the plumbing and electrical, framed out new 2x4s and installed concrete backer board so we could tile up the walls and cover the plumbing and electrical. I bought $350 worth of travertine “pebbles” to create an interesting look on the back wall and floor of the small shower we built from scratch. It needed something else given it’s size to make it unique and make it pop. I think it turned out great. After 4 weeks of waiting on Sears to get our fridge delivered (it can take a long time to get things on the island sometimes) it finally arrived after Sebastian did, and the place was complete. Well, after a tad more painting… We couldn’t let Sebastian get out of adding a bit of his own touch to his place.
I still want to replace the ceiling in there at some point, and of course when the windows and doors that we ordered 6 months ago finally get here, those will get installed as well.
Check out some of the Before and After photos!
This blog wouldn’t be complete without showing a bit of our lifestyle on the island. We’ve done a bunch of fun things in the last few weeks since Sebastian arrived. My brother and a couple of his friends also came down for Thanksgiving. Here’s some of our adventures!
Well, just two weeks after Dave left St. Croix, we flew him back down. I’m not sure if he’s coming for the Rum, the beaches, or just to hang out, but he was happy to play a big roll in getting the middle apartment “The Mermaid” further along this time around. One of my partners I work with is coming to live in St. Croix for our new software product, PromoJuice, and he arrives November 10th. Since I’m gone for a few weeks during October and there is limited time between now and then, we really needed to focus and move this project along. And so we did.
We didn’t finish though, and I’ll be able to get quite a bit done myself the end of October. Dave has another trip already booked for the first week in November to help me wrap it up, and possibly start on the upstairs again if there’s enough time. There is a ton of tiling to do still in the apartment before then. Terry is still helping us with the painting there too, which there is also a ton to do. I need pictures of Terry… She’s always working in there when I’m too busy to be doing so during the week, so I never seem to capture her all painted up. I will though at some point and make sure to include it in this blog. We can’t thank her enough for what she’s doing for us recently. Dave too. We’d definitely be a lot further behind without them!
One week ago, I completed the demolition of the bathroom in the apartment in preparation for last weekend when Dave would be here to help. I had a lot of comments last time on my “demolition in flip flops” and here again I see in the photos I didn’t learn my lesson. It’s just so natural here not to wear shoes. Besides a recent trip to Vegas for work, I literally think I’ve been wearing flip flops now for over a year. Once you get into that mode, it’s incredibly hard to wear a pair of socks and shoes. Anyways, I tore out most of the wood walls in the bathroom to expose the plumbing and electrical we were planning to redo, and removed the toilet and bits of tile that remained. We did leave a wall and a half of the wood, which we’ll paint to tie into the bedroom of the apartment and give it a beach feel. The rest of the walls will be tiled all the way floor to ceiling.
I also leveled the floors with self leveling concrete both upstairs in the kitchen, as well as downstairs in the Mermaid Bathroom before Dave got there. It is allowing us to tile smoothly, without the imperfections that existed from the demolition.
When Dave arrived our first order of business was to get the shower wall framed out, drain hammered out so we could put a new one in, and start pouring the concrete which would eventually hold our new shower pan. We wanted a day for the concrete to dry so we could finish the shower pan and drain by the time Dave left. The old shower was literally a plastic insert from an RV, so we were building this shower from scratch.
After completing the shower wall and pan, we started replacing all the copper piping and electrical in the walls, including the first proper installation of a GFCI outlet in the house. Yay! Believe it or not, none of the outlets in the house have protection on them in the places they should currently, and when we removed the shower we literally exposed a live outlet that was installed behind the shower wall! Needless to say we removed that before replacing the walls with concrete tile backer board. All copper piping was removed and replaced with CPVC, which will help prevent leaks behind the walls in the future.
We did start to tile some of the flooring but didn’t get incredibly far. While I tiled and rehung the cabinet doors with new hardware in the kitchen, Dave worked on reversing the bathroom door to add some additional space to the bathroom, as well as hang a new solid door on the pump room which will drastically cut down on the noise from the pump. Unfortunately that door got the best of Dave before he left this weekend as the frame was never built square to start with, so we’ve got a bit more to do on that in November.
The last day we switched to building the bedroom wall. This was a project completely from scratch, made with 2x4s, 1x4s, and 1x6s. We modeled it off of the wall that already existed in The View to help tie the apartments together in the house a bit. I like the wall in the View because it breathes and allows airflow through while creating privacy that one cannot see through. The one we built came out beautifully. It was incredibly easy actually, with the exception of hammering in the panels into the wall’s frame at the very end. It was a very tight fit so it took some strength to get them in their slots. If you want to replicate a wall like this, it is essentially the following process. I’ve included larger pictures below as well:
We did a ton this weekend and made great progress. Super happy to be doing it with Dave as well as he’s got a great positive attitude and is super easy to work with. He’s got a place to stay in the Caribbean as long as we’re here… that’s for sure!
Can’t wait to update you in November with completed photos of The Mermaid!
What a weekend.
Our fiend David Earhart came down to help us tear out the old kitchen which was upstairs in our main house. I wanted some help for this one as it involved tearing out concrete plastered walls as well to open up the space. I also wasn’t sure which walls may have been load bearing. Dave has been a great friend and resource to have on hand as he’s got years of experience behind him.
We haven’t been using the kitchen because it was infested with rats when we moved in. We got rid of the infestation but there was no way we were ever going to be able to clean or repair them enough for use. Completely disgusting. Besides, we wanted to remodel it anyways. Tearing them out was such a win for us. We found two carcases that had probably been there for over a year or two. Mostly just bones, no smell. One rat had actually stolen a dollar from the previous owner, and was using it in his nest. He also had a thing for Juicy Fruit. Talk about a sneaky rat.
We’ve got a huge open space now between the dining and living room. Our view is wide open and seen now when you walk in the front door. We’re going to have to box in another beam in the kitchen ceiling, and we already have plans for the layout of the new kitchen and island in our heads. (Exact measurements TBD). For the next few months we’ll actually be using a 6 foot folding table as a counter, next to our stove and sink which we temporarily reinstalled on some rudimentary wood framing we built. We’ve also got some temporary shelves setup for our dishes.
Before we put in the new kitchen I have to focus on getting our downstairs apartment, The Mermaid, complete. The timeline for that is November now because my partner Sebastian is moving down to help focus on our software company PromoJuice. Shaleece’s superior at FEMA’s wife, Terry, is coming to help us paint to speed things up starting today, and Dave will be flying back down at the end of the month. We should have no problems finishing it in time.
I’ve got to level out some areas of the floor upstairs since the demo took out some of the flooring where wall footers and cabinets were installed. The holes in the floor would currently make installing new tile uneven. Self-leveling concrete will work well for this to fill in the gaps and level it out again. Afterwards we’ll be installing new travertine upstairs before putting in the new kitchen, right over top of the old floors.
We’re getting all the travertine from Home Depot on island. If you didn’t know, you can custom order items from any Home Depot supplier direct to Home Depot, even if they don’t normally carry it in the store. For example, if they have one type of travertine, you can find the company that supplies it and order anything else that supplier has available. Our travertine was ordered from MSI Stone and we do have some custom pieces coming in (pebble travertine for bathroom shower floors, for example) which Home Depot didn’t carry. This is great considering the cost of shipping into the islands. It allows you to take advantage of Home Depot’s logistics already in place.
Our new windows and doors should be coming in within the next month or so… Dave is going to be helping me with those installs as well.
Here’s a few more photos from the weekend!
Our Second St. Croix AirBnB Vacation Rental is now complete! We finished The View finally after crazy electrical issues, remodeling the kitchen, installing new appliances, fans, light fixtures, all new switches, outlets, paint, toilets and I’m sure several other things I haven’t thought about. We’re super excited as this one is really nice! Shaleece and I are actually jealous that we have to continue living upstairs (since it’s not been redone yet) while we rent out this super nice apartment below.
Before I get to the finished “The View” – an update on “The Mermaid’s” Progress… I’ve also completed the backsplash, counters, and sink in “The Mermaid.” Lots more to do in there, but I’ve got to get back to a bit of “earned income” work for a bit before I can focus there again for a while. Next week I’m in Las Vegas for the Tony Robins Business Mastery Conference. Should be a great time.
…And if you missed this very important announcement on Facebook, Shaleece and I are now expecting!!! Even more reason to get this remodel done quickly! This is bonafide video that we are indeed going to be parents!
OK – Back to The View…
In reality we’ve still got a little more to do in The View too, but nothing that doesn’t keep it from being rented out now. Home Depot didn’t have quite enough of the backsplash to finish behind the sink in the kitchen, but I’ve done everything else… the tiles are on order. I’ve also got a special little project I want to accomplish building a bar with matching granite counter top to the kitchen out of Rum Barrels (Super Cool!). We also are going to put new travertine floors in the apartment when we do the rest of the home, and of course the windows and doors we ordered are not here yet which is going to make a huge difference to the apartment. Still major renovations and upgrades I guess to be done. When the pool is complete, the french doors in this apartment are going to lead right out to the pool deck. It will be amazing for sure.
Our friend KC has moved in for a few months into The View. He’s a contractor on island here whom actually is from Orlando as well. We happened to have some friends in common back home which made the connection for us when we first met. So far, it seems he’s loving the peacefulness and tranquility of our little mountain top. Since he’s moved in for a bit, we don’t have it listed live yet online as we’re not sure when he’s leaving. We like having KC here – he’s turned out to be a great friend and good company.
I’ve got a new logo ready though, for when we go live with marketing to the public… Check out some of the photos of the place!
Yes, it’s true, our first St. Croix AirBnB is now complete, and our first booking happened within 12 hours of the listing!
I’m falling behind in keeping up with the writing though… We’ve just had so much going on in the last couple of months… To start, WE GOT MARRIED! Around 85 people came through, most from the states, to visit us for one of the most magical weeks of my life. Our wedding guests (family and friends) enjoyed much of the island’s offerings, but left much to do for their next visit as well. The wedding day was one of the best days of my life (and Shaleece agrees luckily!)
Together our entire group of guests went snorkeling and diving off Cane Bay Beach, drank beer with the pigs in the rain forest at the Domino Club, had a pig roast on the beach, sailed to Buck Island on the Terroro II Trimaran with Captain Carl, toured the Captain Morgan Rum Distillery, partied at Rainbow Beach, scuba dived the Butler Bay Wrecks, and so much more. It was a really beautiful time spent with friends and family… but boy was it a lot of work!
After everyone left, Shaleece and I took 10 days which we spent in Punta Cana at one of the most relaxing and beautiful resorts I’ve ever been to for our honeymoon. Needless to say this kept us from working on the house for a bit.
However, we’re back at it in full swing now as we approach the end of the first 90 days, and since the last writing a lot has happened. A major milestone occurred this week as we finished the smallest apartment and launched our first AirBnB! It’s listed on both AirBnB and the Homeaway family of sites including VRBO if you’re interested in coming to see the rest of our progress. I’ve still got a few minor things I want to do to Windsor’s Rest, including an upgraded custom drop ceiling in the front entry way to replace the standard tiles, but nothing that would prevent us from renting it out. I’m sure there will always be things we want to do here.
We’ve come across a leak which has alluded us from upstairs in our master bathroom. I’ve had two plumbers out to the house and both have scratched their heads as to where to start. Neither want to give me a quote, and they come up with suggestions from “Add a little caulking there” to “Let’s tear out this entire wall.” It’s frustrating to say the least, and it’s incredibly hard to get them to even show up. It’s a common theme here actually that you can’t get anyone to do anything unless their right in front of you, and most of them don’t want to give you a price until they’re almost done with the job. It’s one of the reason’s we’ve done most of this work ourselves. We think it’s coming from the upstairs shower.
The sinks and granite counters were put in, in all three downstairs apartments. I did have some help here as I wasn’t about to risk breaking or miss-cutting $4,500 worth of granite counter tops. The company, Italia Marble and Tile on St. Croix has been great to work with. I’m working on our design for the upstairs kitchen remodel now.
A word of advice if you’re in Home Depot, get an XPro account to track all your purchases so you don’t have to save receipts, and always send your orders ($1,500 or more) at a time to The Bid Room. I saved $3,000 on my windows by sending it to the Bid Room. I’ve saved $500 here and there several other times as well. Basically they will take your order, send it to corporate who analyzes it and discounts anything with big margins for you to try to win the business… just because your order is over $1,500. Anyone can do it too, but most people don’t know about the program! Ask at the Service Desk.
My skill sets have increased greatly in the home improvement category. I’ve been doing a lot of electrical work myself, including swapping outlets, switches, light fixtures, fans, and more, both re-wiring and breaker replacement at times. I’ve plumbed a few sinks, and replaced about 5 faucets with new water lines so far. Replaced a toilet too. I’ve done a ton of backsplash tile work (a skillset I’ve had from a previous home) and of course I’m getting better at painting (now with a professional sprayer at times.) The truth is, none of this is that hard, it just takes some patience and know-how which you can learn easily online or with a few conversations with someone who knows a bit more than you do. Really it’s about having the time, but if you consider how much you’re saving when you do work like this yourself, many times the hourly rates are worth venturing on your own rather than bringing in a plumber, electrician, painter, etc.
Obviously it doesn’t go as fast as when you have a team, but if you’re trying to stretch your budget, or make money on the remodel – doing a lot of it yourself is definitely the way to go. One day’s worth of plumbing projects I just did saved me about $1,200 I calculated. I really have no idea to tally up all I will save in the end in labor, but I know it’s going to be a lot.
The View (our largest apartment) is almost complete, and looks like it’s on target for August 1st. Our friend KC is moving into that apartment on a longer term rental for now while he’s here still working recovery efforts from last year’s storms. It’s really beautiful. If we weren’t renting it out immediately, Shaleece and I would have definitely moved down there while we completed the upstairs remodel. I completed the bathroom remodel there (minus new tile which will come down the road), and the only thing left in the apartment is some painting trim, a bit more backsplash in the kitchen, some outlets and switches to replace, and a new fan to be hung in the Master Bedroom. That’s such a small list from when I started in there! I can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Not much progress has been made on the middle apartment as of late, the wedding and honeymoon took up much of our time, and I realize my target dates in the last article to have all three apartments done was way off. So goes it with construction projects though, right? I did rebuild the top cabinets with a friend Vaughn on the island since the previous ones were destroyed by termites. We’ve also put in the new granite counter tops, sink, faucet, and I’ve started on the backsplash here. More photos of that to come when it’s complete.
We ordered our windows, but not from my Uncle Bob after-all. The main reason behind this was because PGT doesn’t offer any windows that “breath” like jalousie style louvers, which are critical in our open air breezy home with natural air conditioning. This house was designed to stay cool throughout the summer months with no AC due to the way it breathes. Replacing our windows with side-sliders would kill the natural ability to get constant breezes without having to have the windows all the way open, all the time, which isn’t feasible when it rains. We plan to add AC to the bedrooms since we won’t need to cool the entire house in the near future. Although it’s not completely necessary with the breezes up here, I think from a an online AirBnB marketing prospective, people stateside will be “looking” for AC.
We found a company in Puerto Rico, called Airmaster, which our Home Depot down here carries and sells due to their geographic area. I measured them all out, and put the order together over the course of two weeks. Every one is custom made. The order includes over 46 windows, three sets of french doors, and three regular entry doors. This house is massive. It’s going to take 12 weeks before they get here, and I have no idea where I’m going to store them all while I await them getting installed, but my friend Dave from the mainland who helped with my Lakehouse’s kitchen said he would come down a few weekends to help me install them and show me the ropes of putting them in a concrete house. That was the big addition to the expenditures this time around and has put us over $40k now.
My cousin Kira also came down and helped us paint our master bedroom and start on The View right before the wedding. She is definitely a weekend warrior! She is the reason we were able to move into the house so quickly! THANK YOU KIRA SO MUCH! <3
Hopefully I will get to updating this blog a bit more often. Some other big news to announce soon, stay tuned.
Well, the amount we’ve spent is climbing steadily, and I see no signs of it slowing down over the next 30-60 days. We’ve bought much of our supplies for the remodel of the apartments so far but have a long way to go on the entire house. Remaining for the apartments will be fans and light fixtures, tile for the Mermaid (Apartment 2), shower, and the labor to install the granite counter tops. We’ve purchased our sinks and faucets for the kitchens downstairs. The sinks are a modern under-mount granite and should compliment the granite counters and backsplashes we selected for each apartment nicely. All three are being shipped to Miami, and then forwarded over to St. Croix via VI Cargo. That’s how we get everything into the island that isn’t through the United States Postal Service. They make it pretty simple actually, and the cost isn’t outrageous in reality. It does add 5-15% more to everything, depending upon how much an item weighs and how big it is, but the price to live here is well worth it. It also adds a week or two in additional time to arrive, again the price you pay living on an island. Oh, and I almost forgot import tax into the territory… that adds a few more percent to the cost.
Demo to the counters and cabinets has been fun. Redoing the ones in Windsor’s Rest went well so we’re doing the same with the Mermaid. The Mermaid has some old wood damage from termites so we’re replacing some of the cabinets this week before getting the granite installed. After pulling the backsplash off of one of the walls in Windsor’s Rest (which was just a piece of Formica) I noticed some crazy demo had been done at some point to replumb. It’s not a concern of course, as I’ll be installing our slate backsplash soon enough so you won’t even see it, but I took a few pictures as it looks pretty gnarly.
The sinks should arrive around the first or second week of June, and we should have them installed shortly after, and just prior to our wedding it seems. (June 23rd.) Most likely, all three apartments downstairs will be finished and ready to rent out by mid June or the first week of July. We’re incredibly excited about that, and the ability to start earning some income from them while we continue making progress on the rest of the remodel. The sinks have to arrive before we can insert the granite counters since they’re under-mount, and then the backsplashes can be installed. Windsor’s Rest is now finished (with the exception of a small rum barrel vanity project I’m going to tackle and the sink/counter/backsplash.)
We bought six rum barrels yesterday for $190 to include delivery. Besides turning a few into vanities by cutting them down, sanding and refinishing them to add a bit of Cruzan flair to the apartment restrooms, we’ll use the others in our garden. They look awesome outside when plants are around their base and set on top of them. It gives the gardens a real caribbean flair.
In addition to the sinks and vanities, we’ve also measured out all of our windows and doors in the house. Right now the Jalousie windows are incredibly outdated looking, and over the years the previous owner has replaced any that broke with wood – which make a great hurricane shutter but impossible to see through… and with these views, I’m not sure why anyone would ever block the windows. Even the glass Jalousies are hard to see through though, and the breaking up of glass really impedes the view. We’re going to purchase flat pane horizontal sliding windows with vinyl tracks made by PGT Windows. These can be slid open to catch the breezes, but when closed they will show the most glass for the best clear views. Vinyl is our choice instead of aluminum to cut down on the corrosion that happens here to metal since we don’t run central heat or air, and the salt from the sea assists in the breaking down of metals. We will have two walls with pocket sliders that open up completely to a wrap around balcony (on both the South and East end of the home) when we are finished. The photo below is an example of the glass sliders we’re installing and sort of what we’re going for.
My Uncle Bob Royall, who works at World of Windows in St. Petersburg, Florida, is helping me with the Windows. 21 of them total which includes the two long pocket sliding door walls. He’s given us a great deal and even spoke with the manufacturer to get an extended family discount for us. If you need windows, please give him the opportunity to assist you! He made some great suggestions for us and even came up with a customized solution for a kitchen pass-through window we want to install. The total cost for the windows, not including shipping through VI Cargo and import taxes is just around $22,000. That of course, doesn’t include any installation either. I’m guessing on the installation, it’s going to run us around $10,000-$15,000. I could be way off. One person told me it may cost as much as $1,000 per window in a concrete house. Jeeze, I hope not.
Removing Tile Sucks! For the past week, I have been removing tile in the Mermaid. I started with a hammer, and got no where… so I used a medium size tile jack hammer that I rented for $78 on island to do most of it over the course of about 6 hours. In that time frame I had a few pieces of shrapnel cause me to bleed, and a nice metal floor track slice my leg up pretty bad. There were some areas I couldn’t reach with the jack hammer so I’ve been pulling those up manually with a chisel and a hammer again. I’ve hit my hand so many times I’ve lost count and my thumb is twice the size it should be I think.
When we go to do the upstairs (5 times the size of the downstairs floor I just removed) I am definitely hiring someone to do that removal. So far we’ve only hired the lawn guys to clear our view, and plan to hire the granite installer. Other than that, everything else has been done by Shaleece and I. My cousin Kira is flying down to assist us with some painting in a week or so. We’re super grateful for her and can’t wait for her to get here.
We’re on our second dumpster now; it’s filled with much of the demolition from the second apartment including the tile from the floor I’ve been wheel barreling out.
Finally, I did take some time to clean up the logo we found and added “Estates” to it. I couldn’t find the font, and most likely it’s a treatment anyways, so I had to create it from scratch to match. Took some time, but I think it came out great. Next update soon.