Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You better love CHANGE if you're doing renovations

I've spent the last few weeks buried under multiple renovation projects. Initially, I thought they'd all be done by now. That either makes me a cock-eyed optimist or naively unrealistic. I like to blame it on the insanely hot weather we've been having. Too oppressive to spend much time outside & too drained to do much when I come in. Couldn't be age?, that's not it.

First thing was dealing with the bakery building. Neglect caused the a/c system's coils to rust, and the rest was downhill. I put in a new state-of-the-art Trane system with aluminum coils (see above), designed to be cleaned with water. It looks like my last chest x-ray, if I was swimming in a phosphorescent sea.

While the building was empty it seemed like an ideal time to do something I've wanted to do for 13 years...sand the 103 year old floors & refinish them. With the help of Mike (great to have had a business where customers became employees & friends!) we sanded & put 3 coats of water based finish on them & they're stunning. Look for yourself.

I'm amazed at how beautiful this old pine floor looks under a crystal clear brings out the character of the wood. Wish those floors could talk. They'll provide a warm welcome to whoever I rent the building to next.

Meanwhile, back at the TreeHouse...

This was what my arbor looked like, rafters covered with shade cloth & mega Bougainvillea across the top. We had to remove & replace the rotting rafters & cut back all of the vines. I decided to rebuild using a corrugated polycarbonate roof on top of the new rafters.

Not only will this keep debris & dirt from falling down, but because it's "smoke" colored, the temperature under the roof is 10-15 degrees unexpected bonus. And you can still see the trees & sky above. It's also angled so rain will drain off, which made me decide to use it as an "outdoor room". First job was to bring new electric service to the arbor to power lights, so it can be used in the evenings. Next, was creating a back wall.

Did you know that you can buy heavy duty plastic tarps in many colors & sizes, treated to withstand UV rays, for very little? I didn't, until I decided to hang two 8'x10' white tarps ($11 each) from an aluminum rod as the backdrop. Jo-Ellen Gorris, of Clay in the Garden gallery, will be painting scenes on both of them.

I love her work and wanted something playful & whimsical that would marry with the location. We agreed to a Fairie tree & its inhabitants. First she sketched them out free-hand on the tarps.

This coming week Jo-Ellen will start the actual painting. Look at these aerial Fairies parachuting under a leaf...I love them! Watch out Nik Wallenda, I think they can cross The Grand Canyon without a wire!

With Howard Bard's help & talent, my open second floor deck of the TreeHouse will soon be enclosed. I discovered that if I used acrylic windows/screens, as opposed to solid walls/glass windows, then there were no permits or inspections required by the City of Bradenton. That cuts the costs significantly, and my taxes will not go up because it is considered a non-livable space. 

All of the pressure-treated wood was coated in a rosewood oil based preservative (Penofin, Yosemite color) and I love how rich the boring floor looks now. Some framing was needed to prepare the space, but we're using as much of the existing structure as possible. The new windows (from a local Sarasota manufacturer) have been ordered, and the 4'x8' sheets of 1/4" plexiglass will come from Tampa. This is a hometown project. I'll be happy to share my sources with you.

In the middle of all this, I was delightfully distracted by a visit from my son Rob. Amongst other things, his timing allowed him to harvest a ripe Miracle Berry and experience it.

You chew this little red berry and it makes everything you taste for the next 45 minutes extremely sweet. So of course you try sour things like a chunk of raw lemon, which tastes like lemon drops, etc. This was his Berry Buffet below.

The beautiful wood floors are just about "cured" (hardened throughout) now, so I can begin to set furniture down on them. In short order I will be setting up all of the things I've collected along the way, and now need to divest myself of. 

I will open a temporary POP-UP SHOP in the former Bonni Bakes building. I'll also sell my fresh baked goodies from there while I look for my next tenant. It will be happening very soon, and you'll be the first to know the details. Stay tuned.

Hugs from my kitchen,

PS  The four kittens born under my building, & their mommy are in forever homes.

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