It’s official

December 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

We finally posted our sign on the Lewis Road tree. Thanks to Katy for painting it for us. I guess we’re sticking around for a while.



Coming together, slowly

July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve been in Five Islands for a month today and it’s starting to feel like home. We are particularly loving the mostly comfortable temperatures (especially compared with the temps in DC). Most days start out chilly and turn warm and sunny. Occasionally it stays chilly and grey all day. The week of the big heat wave, it was hot, but not intolerable, thanks to the breeze off of the Sheepscot River.

Anyway, we are continuing to touch up paint and do other small jobs. Robert started cleaning the upstairs this week, no small job. It’s a wreck up there, but we have company arriving this week and we’re hoping to stick the kids up there. Hopefully the television will distract them from the crumbling drywall and dangling insulation.

Here are some pictures from downstairs as things come together.

Sitting area of great room

Settee and chair from Country Farm in Bath/Dash & Albert rug

Dining area of great room/Dash & Albert rug

First meal at the bar

Bug spray and fish hooks

We are trying to get the yard shaped up just a little bit. Robert has improved the entrance, which you can see in this shot of Rocket and Wrigley on the porch.

Wrigley and Rocket lounging

And Chad built us a temporary gate to get in and out of the temporary fence.

Temporary gate

And a few more outside pics. Our friend, Sara, and I had a chance to go to the beach at Reid State Park on Sunday. It was hot and wonderful. The water was even a little warmer than frigid.

Boogie and Wrigley

Beach at Reid State Park

And, thanks to Sara, we made a trip to the wonderful Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the mid coast.

Ferns at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

That’s all for now. I’ll try to get some more pics of the bedrooms up soon.

Finishing touches (almost)

May 26, 2011 § 5 Comments

Bob’s tile guy, Dino, did a beautiful job on the shower tiles. Simple white subway tile with grey grout is accented with a band of mosaic tiles at the top and large green ceramic tiles at the bottom.

New shower with mosaic tile band

Ceramic tile band around bottom edge

And Bob installed the skylights yesterday. Here’s the view from inside.

View from the skylight upstairs

And the view of the roof with the skylight installed.

New skylight on the roof

Robert and I will be back in Five Islands on June 8 to do some small projects. We hope the pine flooring will be installed by then. We’re thinking about doing the finishing ourselves. We’ll finish up the painting downstairs. Then the house should be ready for us to move in on June 29!!

Gourmet kitchen in the works

March 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

Well, yesterday we actually put together two of the most difficult cabinets, the corner cabinets with lazy susans. Then we gave up and went to dinner in Bath. We didn’t get as much cabinet building done as we hoped to. Consequently, Robert thought we’d never finish the cabinets before heading home tomorrow. But, alas, we were a cracking great team today and completed the other 7 cabinets! Check ’em out:

Kitchen cabinets coming together

A few shots of the new windows from the inside:

Kitchen windows facing Lewis Road

Kitchen windows facing driveway

Looking into the great room from the kitchen

I am thrilled with all the new windows in the house. The interior sashes are wood and the exterior are a color called sandtone, a sort of gray brown. I am so glad I opted for the sandtone instead of white. Right now the trim around the windows and doors and all the corner boards, etc., is white. But that’s just until we have them painted in the spring. I’m thinking about a sage green for the trim, a color that will work with the sandtone, and maybe red for the doors. Inside, we’ll leave the window sashes as they are I think.

Anyway, we took a break from cabinet assembly to have a little lunch and a walk down to the dock. Five Islands was quiet, but not dead. There are still some year round folks coming and going. There is snow everywhere, what some might call a winter wonderland (and others might call a slushy, salty, sandy mess).

Lewis Road

Lewis Road neighbor

Perhaps the highlight of our little stroll was the flock of ducks down at the dock that were downright pushy. They rushed us as we rounded the corner onto rt. 127.

Someone has clearly been feeding these ducks. They are very demanding, so much so that Robert felt obliged to go back to the house and get them some bread. While I waited for his return, the ducks eyed me menacingly.

Where is our food?

After our walk, it was back to work. We finished the rest of the cabinets by about 6:30 p.m. We felt such a feat deserved a nice dinner out, so we went into Bath for a meal at Solo Bistro, our favorite local restaurant. It did not disappoint. More on our latest adventures tomorrow.

35 Lewis Road is ours!!

October 24, 2010 § 2 Comments

35 Lewis Road, October 22, 2010

Finally! All my obsessing has found an outlet (Robert says “like you’re going to stop obsessing?!”). We drove up to Maine on Thursday last. We made it in record time, 9 hours from door to door (737 to the Hampton Inn in Bath that is). Last August, it took us 12 hours just to get to Portland, which is about 45 minutes south of Bath.

The autumn color is really beautiful. For several pictures from the trip, you can go here. We’ve never been to New England this time of year, and now I can see what all the leaf peeping is all about.

Five Islands in autumn

Friday morning we went down to Five Islands to walk through the house with our agent, Jason. Although the contract states that the seller must leave the property “broom clean”, it was still a bit of a mess. Several pieces of falling apart furniture, mouse poop, and squirrel stuff (acorns, etc.). A threat to withhold payment of the fuel proration (the cost of the oil and propane left in the tanks), led the sellers’ agent to get the big items out before closing at 1 p.m. But they kindly left behind the mouse poop and squirrel leavings.

We made time for a little shopping in Bath between the walk through and the closing in Portland. There is a nice little furniture store on Maine Street called Country Farm (I know, not quite Design Within Reach), that had perfectly fine platform beds in stock. So we sprang for a full size platform bed, so that we wouldn’t have to put our new mattress on the floor. And the nice folks at Country Farm agreed to drop off the frame in our driveway that afternoon.

So we headed for Portland and made it to the title company just in time for closing. Finally, we met the sellers, who are also our new neighbors since they sold us half of their lot and continue to own the property next door to us. They seem like a nice (libertarian) couple. Lots of awkward jokes by Mr. seller about terrorists and Janet Napolitano.

Future anxiety inducing item: the boundary drawing that came with our mortgage inspection is completely bogus. So our boundary is still very unclear. A true survey (class A) that would identify our exact boundaries would have cost us about $2500, so we opted to rely on the $200 class D survey that comes with the mortgage inspection. And of course when we all saw it during closing, it was clear it has no relation to the actual boundary. So, when it’s time to put up our fence, we’ll have to agree on the location of the boundary with the sellers/neighbors.

Anyway, we finished up the closing and headed for Target to purchase more necessities: television, toilet paper, . . . Then on to Whole Foods for staples (champagne vinegar and premium olive oil). And then we had to pick up the mattress at Portland Mattress Makers. I have to say, that was the worst idea I’ve had in a while. The drive from Portland to Five Islands is really too far to drive with a mattress strapped to the roof (especially when there are mattress stores in Bath that would probably have delivered the thing for free). Yes, I was seduced by the notion of buying a mattress actually “made” in Portland, but NOT WORTH IT. Who knew? Anyway, something about strapping the thing to the roof made the driver side front window break. So we now have to get that repaired before we head home and it made for a very chilly (and slow) drive home. I probably lost 2 weeks due to life shortening anxiety on that drive.

But, we made it. And then we carried all of our loot into the house and set about putting together the bed frame and a couple of chairs. We washed some dishes and Robert cooked our first meal in the new house.

Chef at work

Eighteen raw local oysters, seared skirt steak, and arugula from our garden in Silver Spring made a fabulous feast. And then we passed out. Although I thought the house would be really cold, the heat works incredibly well. So we were very toasty.

On Saturday, Bob the tree guy came out and got to work taking down several pine trees leaning too close to the house. We will now get so much sun on the east and south sides of the house. And the tree guys cleaned up two of our one hundred year old oaks in the back yard.

Oak trees trimmed up

We finished putting together our new dining table and one easy chair on Saturday. Plus another trip into Bath for a little breakfast (at the local Irish pub) and more kitchen essentials (Robert needs “proper” cookware). Back at the house, I did some more cleaning and Robert took a walk down to the dock to buy some lobsters from our neighbor Stephenie (also the sellers’ agent), whose husband is a lobster fisherman. Two 1 1/4 pounders for $10, not bad. The only hiccup that day was that the new TV gets absolutely no reception in Five Islands. So Robert wouldn’t be able to watch baseball or football.

First lobsta dinner in the new house

Which brings me to Sunday at the Black Barnacle Pub on Maine Street in Bath. As I write, Robert is watching the Steelers play the Dolphins. Our builder, Bob, came by this morning. We spent almost 4 hours going over the plans for Phase I of the renovation. I really like Bob. He and I are kindred spirits. He is very detail oriented, which you know I appreciate. We agreed on the roof shingles, siding shingles, trim, and windows. Phase I will be all the exterior work. I just hope there is enough left in the budget to gut the downstairs bathroom so that Katy and Mark can come in December and make it beautiful.

Anyway, I’ve gone on too long. I’ll give you a few more pictures of the beautiful autumn colors and call it a day.

Fall color on Lewis Road

Fall colors along the Back River in Georgetown

Bath, Maine, in autumn

Well, part dos

September 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

Things are looking up. The investor simply needs us to get a proper shared well agreement. So I’ve called a lawyer in Portland to draw that up.

And, the latest water test came back NEGATIVE for e.coli and coliform bacteria. That means there have been 3 negative tests and only one positive test in 3 months. We’re going to assume the well is clean and move forward.

Deep sigh of relief. Heartbreak averted, at least for now.

Well, well, well. . .

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Well, we’ve hit a road block. I may have mentioned that the well that sits on the property that we want to purchase is shared by the property next door. That’s because the seller currently owns both properties. Obviously, a shared well between her two cottages was never a big deal.

Here’s a picture of the side yard with the well to the right of Robert and the car. Yes, it’s hard to see in this shot. How could such a tiny little hole in the ground cause so much heart ache?

Anyway, I started looking into getting a formal “shared well agreement” with the seller last week. As part of my research, I emailed my agent, who emailed the mortgage broker, who emailed the title company. It seems that neither the mortgage broker or the title company had noticed the shared well (in the disclosure, thank you!) until I brought it to their attention.

Now it seems the broker has had to go back to the “investor” to make sure he/she/it is comfortable loaning money to purchasers of a property with a shared well.

Robert’s question to me after receiving this news from the broker’s assistant: “Will you be broken-hearted if this falls through?” You guess the answer.

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