Thursday, July 28, 2011

Marshmellow Fluff . . .

Trivia time . . .

Question: What does Kraft marshmellow fluff and our CMU first floor have in common?

Answer: A cement sealer called "Loxon"

The bottom of the cabin is made up of cement-masonry units (CMU) and has been scoured by the sea/wind/weather until many patches are bare. After weeks of research and multiple emails to Sherwin Williams, we found the product we needed "Loxon". It's a cement sealer for damaged or new cement walls, generally used in commerical buildings.

Having researched the data sheet, 1 gallon covers only 150 square feet . . . this should have tipped us off to the consistency. However, we blindly opened the Loxon to find that the stuff resembled marshmellow fluff. Seriously, after hours of working with it, I began to theorize on its origins. Here is my take . . .

"One starry night , a random paint guy was roasting marshmellow while drinking a little too much tequila and he had a brillant thought -- what if I cross marshmellows with paint -- could this be a great product?"

Anyways, despite its negative qualities this stuff really covers well.

Bare CMU patches that need a little TLC

Gary painting our blocks

The checkerboard effect

Emily, battling marshmellow fluff and shifting sand

A House Face Lift . . .

Our trashy gem is getting a wonderful, much needed, face lift this week! When we bought the house the east wall was rotted, most of the siding was chipping, and the windows were weeping . . . sounds like a house in need of a TLC makeover. We decided one of the primary "must dos" was to repair any rot and replace the siding with hardiplank (a cement based product) that can stand up to the coastal weather.

Since the siding was going to be taken off the house, it was the perfect opportunity to replace the leaking windows. Not exactly in the budgeted plan, but the right time to do the job. We changed a couple of the window dimensions and looks, not exactly what I would recommend with only 3 months in the house, but its what we did. Here are some of the before pictures so you can appreciate the difference . . .

And here is the progress . . . we are sooooo excited!!!!

We also had a new roof put on . . . Pabco high wind shingles with a 40 year warranty! I just pray they never do fly off the roof. Once the siding is complete, the outside will be painted sage green with cream trim. Its going to look fantastic! The only downer is the bedroom windows were ordered incorrectly. They open vertically and not sideways. It looks fine and we must learn to live with them, but it just goes to show . . . always double check every detail with your contractor prior to any major purchases!!

All in all though, the face lift is doing loads of good.

Bye Bye Chimney Hole . . .

While the wood stove had disappeared, the chimney hole in the ceiling remained . . . ugly, leaking, unsightly. Gary had caulked and patched the leak from the roof, but once the decision was made to put on a new roof, something had to be done quick.

I took a "cardeck" board sample into Dunn Lumbar to see if they could (a) determine what wood it was made of and (b) if anyone still manufactured a replacement. Let's just say I felt like one of those antique road show contestants . . . all the employees had to have a look since they had not seen such quality piece in a while. Needless to say, despite calls to some of their distributors, no one still made such boards.

So, onto plan # 2, have a local mill make us some boards . . . really, all we needed was 4 x 8 foot boards to replace what we already had. Unforunately, the price was a little bit more than our pocketbook was willing to fork out.

Plan #3 was absolutely brillant (thank you hubby) . . . have our friend Pat in Montana mill the boards for us. We were already headed there for vacation, would have a car with a rack on top, and raw boards would be easy to purchase. Pat was awesome, he took the rough boards we bought and the sample, and produced masterpieces! They were so beautiful, I hated to have them on top of the car while speeding home along I-90. Its now installed and the finished product will last a lifetime! Thank you Pat!

Before picture, note ugly chimney hole

After picture, they matched perfectly!

Once stained, no one will notice they are new!!

So, now onto the last and most complicated step . . . matching the wood stain so that the new boards "disappear" into the old ceiling. I will let you know how that goes!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Idea Post . . .

Many people keep asking me, "How are you going to decorate?" Holy Moly, what a question . . . one I am constantly asking myself too. So, before I get to overwhelmed, I decided to do a photo tour.

What is a photo tour? Well, back when we painted our house in Shoreline, I did a photo run-by of all the houses in our neighborhood that I loved. From my collage of photos, I discovered the 3 elements that I really liked . . . so I am applying the same system to decorating Fairwinds.

Does anyone sense a "theme" . . . white, beachy, blue/ceylon, sage green, plain backgrounds with funky, graphical prints.

Okay, so I am going for funky-relaxed-beach house-fun!!!

Wall Transformation . . .

The only thing I really disliked about our cabin decor was the wood paneling. While there are many out there who love the look of "natural wood", I am not one of those. Especially if that wood paneling means the interior of the room looks dark and dim . . . I love light, light, light. Lucky for me, the pine wall paneling was so battered that even my husband relented and helped me spackle and prime the walls.

Gary and Wes, spackling the walls

Having no idea if a smoker ever lived in the cabin or what the walls had been treated with, we went full out on the prep work. Yes, I know if you use an oil based primer you probably don't need to sand the walls . . . BUT having read multiple blogs on mistakes that can happen I didn't want to take any chances. So, we lightly sanded down the walls until midnight, then washed them down with a little soap and water, and let them dry overnight. Next up was the oil-based primer . . . and it coated everything!! Thankfully, our friend Brian showed up to help with the tall stuff.

Brian reaching for the ceiling!!

The finished product looks a little rough, but it definitely covers all the walls problems. Being a visual person, its very exciting to see the transformation of the space and it's potential once color is added . . . now the question is, "What color are the walls going to be?"

The First Campout . . .

This past weekend was our first official overnight stay at the cabin. We packed up the car with the girls, overnight gear, new bright pink deck chairs, lots of tools, a steamer and high hopes for the weekend.

Girls' picnic a la living room

The plan was to get the living room walls ready to be painted, continue the wallpaper saga, and meet with the contractors. All in all the weekend was a success AND we got to learn why the area is called "Sunset Beach".

Katie in the Tub

The Progress in the Kitchen

The only downer was a huge migraine headache that hit "Painter Extraordinaire Emily" on Sunday, but she was still able to play with the kids on the beach (hmmm).Big thanks to Katie and Wes, who almost single handily removed most of the wallpaper!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Fireplace Must Go . . .

While the house looks big from the outside, the actual living space is relatively small (~700 sq feet). The primary living area was in dire need of a space remodel, largely due to a huge wood stove and brick facade that sat smack in the wrong place.

Although it took Gary a few days to mourn the loss of a wood stove, removing it would open up the room and allow a better viewpoint of the ocean. So, with our new masonry chisel and good friend Allyn, we demolished the wood stove in 1 afternoon. Pretty impressive.

I would love to say my first foray into removing wall paper was as rewarding. Following all the "removing wallpaper for dummies" advice, I scored the paper and applied liberal amounts of downy fabric softener to the walls. The result was a soggy floor and only a 2 x 2 foot square of removed wall paper. Definitely not the easy, breezy demo noted on You Tube. My next endeavor is to use steam. Hopefully, I can remove the nasty flower bouquet paper and restore my new kitchen to some sanity.

The Beginning . . .

About 3 years ago, after visiting Seabrook, Gary and I wondered if we might be able to own a tiny wee bit of the coast too. After multiple years of looking we made a couple of discoveries . . .

(1) Yes, our family loves the Ocean and blustery beaches in winter
(2) The drive to Pacific beach was too far

(3) Wouldn't Whidbey Island be just perfect . . . but too expensive.

So, introducing "FairWinds" our newest addition to the family!