This is what DIY looks like (Masciola-style)

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Low point

Fortunately, Lawrence-Galloway style DIY looks a hell of a lot better.

High point

Well, those gorgeous Modwalls glass mosaic tiles were a bitch to put down. And I don’t use that word lightly. They came from California in 15×15 squares of tiles stuck to plastic sheets. The first hiccup was the fact that the bathroom floor was not prepared for tiling. It wasn’t even and had some small holes. So it needed a layer of plywood. Then Katy took a look at the instructions that came with the tiles and learned that they have to cure in the mortar for 24 hours. Stone or ceramic tiles can set for maybe 6 hours in mortar before being grouted. This new reality meant that tiling the bathroom floor would take 3-4 days, a project we had planned on taking 2 days. The first night of tiling we were at the house until near midnight and Katy and Mark were practically broken in half. All that would have been fine after a good dinner and a bottle of wine. But the next morning, we returned to find the floor had bucked up. It looked like there were wavy foothills all over the bathroom. Soul crushing.

Ever resourceful, Mark decided to selectively remove single tiles and screw the plywood down through the mortar. Okay, good solution. But when Mark and Katy started to remove the plastic squares that the tiles had come on, tiles started to come up by the dozens, hundreds even (see first photo above). The only solution at that point was to stick the tiny tiles down one by one. Katy and Mark did most of the re-tiling, “buttering” each tile by hand and placing it on the floor in even rows. Soul crushing.

Then we left it all to cure again for 24 plus hours. The second picture above is the result on Friday after Mark grouted and cleaned the floor. There were a few loose tiles, but all in all they worked a miracle. And then Mark installed the toilet!! Sing it with me people: Hallelujah! A week of either holding it until we got to the general store or peeing behind the house (ours and our neighbors’) was closer to camping than I had expected ever to get again.

We didn’t get to the shower or the bathroom faucet plumbing, but Mark installed the Ikea vanity, sink, and cabinet. And note the beautiful color on the wall. It’s called Filmy Green by Sherwin Williams. A Katy Lawrence-Galloway choice, of course. Oh, and the tile blend is an original Katy design called Luna-sea.

New bathroom vanity, sink, and cabinet

I was able to do a lot of the relatively idiot-proof work in the kitchen, putting together the cabinet drawers and doors.

Kitchen cabinet doors and drawers in place

That is a temporary plywood counter top, thanks to Bob the Builder. We are still considering counter top materials, but we needed a work surface.

We got almost the whole downstairs painted. Robert was master of the priming. Then we came behind him and put up the gorgeous colors that Katy chose. The great room is painted a lovely blue green called Quietude. The pictures don’t really do it justice.

View from the kitchen to great room

The guest room is Exciting Orange. Again, the picture doesn’t do it justice. But it is really stunning in my opinion.

Guest room all made up

Our room is a soothing color called Hinting Blue.

Master bedroom

Okay, next on the to-do list is flooring. We’ve decided to go with local pine and hope it will be installed by early June when we return. Then we are going to take a crack at putting the polyurethane on it. (or maybe not.)


Renovations start this week AND a contest

December 1, 2010 § 5 Comments


Bob the Builder

The little house has been sitting empty and lonely since October (with a visit from Bob the builder and one of the neighbors to check on things after a big Nor’easter in early November). And Mr. Jorgensen, a local landscape guy, did some work to clear away all the brush and debris after the tree work was done. So I assume it looks very tidy now. I hope the squirrels and chipmunks are keeping the inside tidy too.

I’ll see for myself tomorrow when I arrive in the afternoon. Yay! A little winter getaway in Five Islands, just what the doctor ordered.

Things are about to get very busy on Lewis Road. Bob the builder starts work this week. Already there seems to be a delay because of the massive storm moving up the coast (it’s pouring in Silver Spring as I type). Bob doesn’t want to start removing the roof shingles ahead of high winds and downpours. So, the dumpster has arrived and materials are on the way.

My lovely niece, Katy (did I mention that I helped bring her into the world as her mom’s Lamaze coach?), is going with me. Because she and her lovely husband, Mark, are going to help out with some of the inside work like flooring, tile, cabinets, she needs to get an up close look at things. We’ll do some measuring and paint sampling. We might even demolish a wall or two. More importantly, I will introduce her to all that is fabulous about Maine and Five Islands. Bath, our nearest town, is having its big Christmas festival this weekend, so there will be a sort of art walk on Friday night. We’ll get our fill of watercolor landscapes of the Maine coast and hot cider.

So check back this weekend for winter pictures of the house and Five Islands. And now, on to the contest. . .

Our little house needs a name. We discovered a piece of weathered wood next to the back door with what must have been a previous resident’s attempt at a name plate. You can just barely make out the words “Ocean Glimpse” sketched in pencil on the wood. That’s actually quite an appropriate name since from that side of the house you can just see a glimpse of the water. Of course, it’s not technically ocean, it’s the Sheepscot River on its way to the ocean.

We might stick with the name, but we’d like to consider some other options. Thus, the contest. Suggest names in the Comments section and if we pick your entry, you will win a beautiful set of lobster claw salt and pepper shakers like these:

Let the creative thinking begin. To get your juices flowing, here are some common themes in vacation cottage nomenclature: Maine coast as paradise on earth (of course), sunshine, ocean breezes, pine trees, mosquitoes, rocks, lobsters, cocktails . . . .

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