Tuesday, November 10, 2015

In which there are updates

It's November already!  We just welcomed in our winter renters. I am sitting here in the apartment with the Direct TV guy.  Now every room in the house is wired for 175 channels of reruns and "reality, "and there are three free months of movie channels showing repeats of stuff you didn't want to pay to see in the first place. But, as one prospective renter for next summer put it..."I do love my Jeopardy!"  I always say, I haven't had cable since 1992 when I moved long-term to Chicago and thought it outrageous to pay to watch TV.  Of course now I can selectively stream shows and binge watch on my computer, so who am I to judge?
But I digress...Last you heard from us, we had just finished our final construction day at the building and were waiting for our first renters.  I have to say that all of our renter experiences this summer were really positive ones.  Our first renters bought us champagne glasses and a guest book and a few other things I am still coming across! AND, they came to the Our Town Belfast auction and bid and bought a few things.  So, bravis to my first group.   The second group of renters came from Airbnb, so I was a little nervous, because we don't get to take security deposits or a downpayment, so they could cancel at any minute.  Again, we had three couples stay and the review they left us, in the guestbook that our first renters provided, was really sweet and affirming. I have already spoken to one family who spent four days in the apartment and then recently emailed to say they wanted the space for the first three weeks of August.  So far, everyone got what we worked so hard to do and that was grand!  We had three families rent and the place was always as clean as when they took possession.  I did have to scrub pretty hard on some stains on a chair, but they came out eventually.  And all I can say is hooray for the durability of a Lowe's 100% plastic rug. I get all sorts of spots out with just some simple green and a rag!  Ironic, I know.

I personally threw two parties there, one for 20 people and one for 100 people and it worked pretty well, though I did have to import a bunch of trays and pans and stuff. I don't know if there were other parties or family reunions up there besides our double family reunions.  Greg and I had a couple of small dinners up there when we didn't have it rented and it is a comfortable space for living and entertaining.  I think the place was used well and hard for its first season and came through with flying colors.  I go up and tweak things when people aren't around.  We ran out of time in the beginning summer, so, our first renters contended with this:
Which to me, looks pretty awful now. Even the photo below looks terrible because I hadn't gotten around to lights and pictures or cozy things. So, at some point I will need to retake some photos because they don't look great.  
 Anyway, we made the game room into an upstairs den with a pull-out couch.  Now each bedroom has living area separate from the others.  I did put our maximum rental up to eight because of this couch, but after the first season, we decided to max at 6 and charge more per each guest above that.  As the person who cleans the place after the renters, I think that is fair.  Most of the Airbnb rental inquiries I get are for 8 people or more, and we just can't handle that. 

Our original plan to hawk the apartment to the ship yards in town as possible winter rentals paid off. The first group who thought about the apartment for their base decided to rent in Camden for the winter.  The second group we showed it to took the space for five months and they are currently staying there.  We are excited to have them and excited for them to experience all that Maine has to offer for the winter!  They also liked the flexibility of the apartment and the privacy each space afforded the other.

So, as Greg keeps saying to me, "our evil plan is working!" and he is right--build it and they will come.  It's nice to have 100% capacity for the next block of time is how I think of it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In which we finish with about four hours to spare.....

I was having keys made at 5pm when the key guy said he didn't have the right length key to match the apartment door.  I just calmly stood there watching him search.  I helpfully said " It goes to a fire door I bought from you guys." He kept searching.  My eyes landed on the right key about 10 seconds before his did.  Before that I had that knot in my stomach imagining me saying to the renters "No AC in the front room until tomorrow and no keys to the apartment, its ok if you leave it unlocked....really."  everything was right with the world....I found a make due kitchen garbage can until we find the perfect design in yet another shade of gray that will take 13 gallon bags and miniature rose bushes were on sale at the Hannaford.  
We did it.
Here are the newest photos to prove it.

Our friend Peg Worth painting the oil in the dining room.

We had fun with the living room

Winston gave me the letters when he was cleaning out the barn after he sold the place to us.  Greg and I had fun dreaming up "FEAST"

I love this end of the living room, its turned out so much cozier than either of us suspected.  The framed architectural print is from a late 19th century German pattern book that a librarian at the Art Institute gave to me, or rather, told me where to find the deaccessioned volumes out by the trash barrels.  (the library was given a copy in much finer condition, and I ended up with almost 300 polychrome architectural prints from the 1890s, most with duct tape holding them together.  

Fantasy bathroom

Greg put up the SOS in the book nook this morning

and wonderful William Zorach watercolors

The sunny first floor bedroom has its own balcony and this funky armoire we got at a local tag sale.

We couldn't find the right couch, so we made the second floor living room into a game room with comfy chairs, a backgammon board, some puzzles and the DVD screen.  

The master bedroom has a super nice living area

The bed looks pretty comfortable too.

 My favorite, the little bathroom.  It would make any New Yorker feel at home

Crazily enough, the William Zorach watercolor in this room matches the sheets and the lampshades.  Not intentionally mind you, but I probably had the colors on my brain. 

more living room and that's it, really.  

we made it.

thanks everyone.

In which we are ready....we hope!

Through the miracles of modern blogging, we jump from getting the upstairs carpeted to having the whole place furnished and ready for renters today.  Greg and I are broken and sore, but we got it done, and not without help from a LOT of people.  Thank you all, Larry, Sharon, Michael and Bonnie, Monicque, Seth and Sarah, David and Sarah and the crew at Marshall Wharf, Jared, Davey, Willy, and all of you who came to help us, support us, and feed us!  We love Belfast and our community for just this reason.  

I haven't taken the final photos, and lots of these images have changed already with additions and subtractions....Will take more photos after today is over

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

In which......carpet!

The first two photos were taken about 2 and a half years apart.  In this first one, you can see Greg pulling down the "rooms" in the attic from sometime in January of 2013.  This was the start of our saga.  The second photo shows us near the end.  The carpeting finally went down on the second floor of the apartment, and I think it looks spectacular.  Greg and I have a week and a half to finish the first floor before that carpeting goes down...then it comes down to two weeks to do the little things before our first renters arrive.  

Master bedroom is a huge space at 19 x 24'   This is right where the king bed is going.  I am standing where the master bedroom living room will be.  

Second bedroom with a queen for now, but will have two twins that can be put together.  The queen goes downstairs when that room is finished.  Sparsely furnished for now.  I can't bear to put holes in the walls!

Monday, June 1, 2015

In which I have been remiss and here are some photos

No time for commentary other than to say that the carpet installers arrive this morning to start on the second floor.  Kitchen is done save for the bartop and finishing the countertops / putting in the cabinet side panels.  It came out rather well!  All the bathrooms work, so we feel human with running water, etc.  
I find that I update the Ocean House facebook page more than I do here.  It is open to the public, so join us there as well. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In which....ouch, this place is killing us.

Seems all we do these days is work on the apartment and then recoup in bed, feeding sore muscles and backs with Doane's back pills.  It is Sunday and we are sick of the apartment and of working on it.  It will be great when we are done, but it feels like that will be never.  We are getting into the land of being busy again in our other lives, and every day or several days that I have to take off to go look at a painting or a high chest feels like a day wasted at the building, but we do have to continue on our paths of making paychecks!

We spent much of the week procuring things for the apartment, which is my favorite part, naturally.  We hit Marden's which was selling the last pieces of furniture from a salvage operation at Scandinavian Designs warehouse in Chicago. To date we have procured a side board, a side table and a few chairs. All in all about $3000 worth of furniture (if SD's website is to be believed) for the low, low price of $420.00.  The chairs are all leather and the sideboard and side table are elmwood veneer with nickel plated steel

We also found a wood mill on Craigslist that was advertising 12' long x 24-26" wide pine slabs that we could potentially use for a bar top.  We borrowed Dan Waldron's trailer and drove 250 miles, hitting the saw mill first and then a record three Marden's in one day.  
We thought it would be a good idea, since we had the trailer, to go pick up the five rolls of carpeting, and padding that we'd purchased several months before in Brewer.  

The wood mill was the best part of the day.  The guy does this as a hobby and had taken out three slabs that he thought we might like.  

Upon reentry into Belfast some eight hours later...we had the foresight to text our man with a new toy, David Carlson, and asked him if he and his new bobcat could meet us at the building.  I think David should start driving the thing around town, like the guy in the John Deere tractor who drives up and down Main Street in the mornings!

Thank the gods for David and his crew!  The slab, which weighs probably around 175 to 200 lbs (its still green) fit beautifully on the forks of the lift and all the carpet rolls went right on top!  David expertly placed the goods right up on the second floor porch.  

Thank you David, Jared, and Davey for all your help.  These tired boys and their bulldog are mighty grateful!

One can never have enough practice and David guided his bobcat like a pro!

Here is the $800, swivel,leather chair on which Greg talked the guy at Marden's down to $125.00 because it was wobbly.  I wanted to protect the leather...its a gorgeous chair.  Going up!

Once we got all this in the apartment, Greg and I moved it upstairs to the master bedroom.  Each roll of carpeting is 13' long.  

I really like this carpeting, but I did realize yesterday after moving the 1000 square feet of it that will line the upstairs, how very hotel like it is.  Crossing my fingers that I didn't make a mistake

Our new breakfast bar top.  The grain is beautiful.  I am thinking a hand rubbed waterlox finish would be gorgeous on here.  We have enough left over from the first floor bathroom floor.  We are supposed to let it sit flat for 6 weeks and turn it to slowly dry....

Needs a nice sanding and the grain will pop.  

The padding rolls waiting to go up the stairs with the stair felt.  We bought the rest of the roll of carpeting to finish the main stairs to the apartment...they gave us a great deal and loaded all the carpet onto the trailer.  

Our haul so far.  We just bought another load of stuff from a friend's sister this morning, The elm tables are totally not my taste, but they are cool.  

I picked the sign up at a local flea market directly from the artist.  Perfect for the stairwell.  

Got the appliances and hooked the fridge up.  A major accomplishment.  

We realize we are one countertop short if we want to have as much seamlessness as possible.  We are looking for a 6 x 2' piece of black or gray stone for cheap if anyone can think of something...otherwise we will pick one up when we go back to IKEA in a few weeks to return stuff, and pick up a trundle day bed for the upstairs living room.  Still waiting for those 8 freakin' drawer fronts to arrive!

I spent yesterday on a ladder, on this staging, not looking down, painting the cathedral ceiling-ed stairwell.  Whose idea was that??   

Finally, the second floor painting is finished.  Carpeting could go down, but casing windows first is probably a better idea.  

I spent a bit of time the other day down at Saturday Cove beach looking for pebbles and interesting small treasures for Greg to glue into the cracks and creases of the downstairs vanity top.  It looks so great..I was doubtful after the first crack appeared in the wood, but now I am a believer.  The vanity looks great, love it.  

Today is our day off, and we started out shopping for the apartment.  Greg found the lights for the master bath and we bought some furniture.  Now off to start getting the boat ready for the season and to open up Sunny Side for our first renters on Tuesday....thanks to Bonnie Pierce for doing all the hard work there!