Close up look at the new exterior

March 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Well, we finally made it back to Five Islands. We’ve planned to come at least twice since late December and been thwarted by weather. We loaded up a truck with IKEA cabinets and some large furniture and headed up here on Monday morning.

It was a long drive in the truck. We were supposed to get a 10 foot truck, but there were none left when Robert got to the shop. So they gave him a 16 footer. Oy vey! That thing is a monster, with no pick up whatsoever. But the best part of the drive was getting stopped by a police officer on the Saw Mill River Parkway in New York. We saw the “passenger cars only” sign as we entered the on ramp to the parkway. Hello?! Why do they wait until you’re on the on ramp to tell you this important rule?! At that point, it was impossible to Not get on the parkway. Admittedly, we could have exited the parkway at the next exit, but we chose to stay on, and thus knowingly disobeyed the law. After about three exits, a police officer pulled up behind me and stuck close until there was enough shoulder to pull me over. Then he turned on his lights. He informed me that if I had passed one more exit, I would have come up on a bridge over the parkway with an 8 foot clearance that the behemoth I was driving would clearly not fit under. I’ve never been so relieved to be stopped by a cop. He told me that he could give me 5 tickets, but he chose not to. So nice. In any case, he told us how to get off the parkway and detour to 684. That took us maybe 45 minutes out of our way, but at least we weren’t stuck under a bridge in Chappaqua.

We arrived in Five Islands at about 10:30 p.m. after almost a 12 hour trip. Exhausted. The last few miles into Five Islands were icy and treacherous. But even in the dark, we could see how beautiful the house is with the new windows and shingles. The inside is a wreck, but we didn’t care. Robert quickly set up his camp kitchen and made us a little dinner and then we passed out.

Here’s what we woke up to this morning.


Front side shingles complete

One of these days I’ll get around to putting the before pictures up next to the after pictures. But for now, you’ll have to believe me when I tell you that the house is completely transformed. And it looks beautiful so far. The kitchen now has 6 huge windows facing the east and south, so the sun comes in first thing in the morning and lasts almost all day.


Street view in morning sun

The north end of the house faces the gully and is the first side you see as you come up Lewis Road. We’re still trying to decide what to do about that concrete foundation. It’s even more ugly now that the new shingles are up. Perhaps we’ll paint it. We’ll certainly be filling in some dirt around the sides to improve drainage.

Gully side of the house

The driveway side will be the last to get shingles. But you can see the new sliding glass door and kitchen windows. This is the side that will one day have a screened in porch. Right now, there is a step ladder to welcome you into our little cottage “on the rocks”.

Driveway side still to be shingled

Tomorrow I’ll post some pictures of the inside as well as our progress in putting together those damned IKEA cabinets.


Home inspection passed

September 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

Well, we just got home (to our first home, that is) after a very long 36 hours. We set out yesterday morning at 7 a.m. to fly from BWI to Manchester, NH, and then to drive the two hours, give or take, to Five Islands. We arrived at 35 Lewis Road just in time for the home inspection.

The very nice inspector, Eric, had already located the sectic tank. Yay! Actually, it was not as disgusting as you might expect, perhaps because no one has lived in the house for a whole year. Here’s a picture of the entrance to the tank.

Our new septic tank

I won’t bore you with the blow by blow. Suffice to say that there were no catastrophic problems with the house, just some basic repairs that we expected. The roof is shot; two sides of the house need re-shingling; the back yard needs regrading to take water away from the foundation; some trees need trimming. Here’s the front of the house. You can see the bad shingles around the door.

Front of the house

The neighbor’s yard is still filled with bags of cans and other junk. A fence and tall shrubs are on the priority list.


But their cat, Bobby, is quite friendly. He hung with us throughout the septic inspection. Notice the lack of a tail on that guy.

Our wonderful agent, Jason, arranged to have two contractors come by. So we walked through our wish list with each of them. Hopefully they’ll get back to us with bids in the next couple of weeks. We’re starting to think that our budget might only allow for the most important structural repairs and upgrades. We want to dormer the upstairs to create more space in the two bedrooms and to make room for a 3/4 bath. So I think we’d have them build the dormer and put on the new roof, but leave the upstairs rough on the inside for awhile.

Anyway, more ideas to come. Fingers are still crossed. We aren’t scheduled to close until October 29. It could all fall apart before then.

One more shot of lovely Lewis Road.

Nirvana is just around that bend

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