Major Progress

We have come pretty far now. Tim and I are living in our home finally. We moved in the week his parents arrived for a visit at the end of January. Talk about cutting it close, but they were super helpful while they were here. We got everything livable and even had time to play a little.

I’m going to back up a bit, and walk you through some of the bigger projects we tackled in January. Tim had a guy’s snowboarding trip planned to Steamboat, so I took the opportunity of alone time at the house to start the cabinetry overhaul. I knew this would be a big job, but also would have a big impact on the way the space looked. Tim would be gone for a week, so my goal was to have all the cabinets (and some doors if I was lucky) sanded and primed before he got back. I will try to be specific for those of you who might be wanting to re-do cabinets one day.

Thanks to my local Benjamin Moore dealer Lucas Paint, I had a good idea of where to begin. The plan was to end up with a white, shaker-style cabinet, even though I started with faux wood laminate.

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What the kitchen looked like the day we bought it.

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Kitchen with pantry cut in half to make an island, the wall paper gone, and the popcorn ceiling scraped.

Mr. Lucas, from the paint store, told me to clean all the surfaces with dry dishwashing detergent powder before sanding. This is a strong degreaser, and I noticed it seemed to kind of change the laminate surface too… made it more penetrable to sanding, if that is possible. This was really hard on my hands, so I was sure to wear gloves, goggles and a mask. The process went like this: wipe down with water, scrub with detergent, wipe off detergent (if any was left during sanding, it would ruin the sandpaper), let dry, sand. I used an old palm sander and 120 grit paper, which I was very grateful for. Doing this by hand would have killed me.

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The wall-mounted cabinets during the sanding process. You can see we have already textured and painted the walls.

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Me sanding the doors. I had an assembly line where I would scrub them down, wash them off, sand them and clean them again. All before priming.

After all the sanding was cleaning. I had to repeatedly wipe down the surfaces for the cabinets to make sure all the fine laminate dust was gone. This seemed to take forever and I even took the Shop Vac to the doors after sanding. I also ended up using a lightly dampened cloth with a water and vinegar spray. It seemed to do the trick and dry quickly. Then I could move on to primer. I used BIN primer. It is alcohol based, so it has a really strong smell, but it dries quickly and sticks to anything.

Bottom cabinets done and drying.

Bottom cabinets primed and drying.

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All cabinets are primed, but the doors took a while because I had to lay them flat to dry on each side.

I had reached my goal when Tim and his friend Drew got back from their trip. Drew had offered to stay a few extra days and help! He replaced every outlet and light switch in the entire house making it look instantly more updated.

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Drew and Tim cutting wood to reface the cabinet in a shaker style.

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We had to make the wood strips 3.75″ wide to hide all of the outdated design that was on the cabinet face.

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I used wood glue to adhere the strips to the door faces.

I used Benjamin Moore Advance in semi-gloss finish and White Heron color. It’s a slightly off white that really lends itself to gray, looking nice with the wall color. The Advance paint was again recommended by Lucas Paint in Denver. It is a Latex paint that behaves a lot like an oil-based, leaving no paint strokes and wears well over time. I realized along the way that using a small foam roller left some bubbles in the paint, so I would roll the paint on and run over it with a high quality 2″ angle brush. This technique worked well and left a smooth finish.

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Tim and Drew are hanging a kitchen fixture. You can see the first coat of paint on the cabinets.

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I’m rolling the paint onto the new cabinet faces.

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Tim installing the refinished cabinet doors.

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Kitchen after two coats of paint. We decided to add the trim to the face of the drawers as well.

The next big project we had to complete before Tim’s parents arrived was the flooring. We chose a laminate that looks like a dark hand-scraped hickory by Evoke. Tim was confident in his flooring installation skills, but had no experience leveling floors. We had a very  unlevel particle board sub-floor on top of a layer of plywood, which made it tough. We got several different opinions on how to level the floor, but were still unsure which route would be the best. Finally, Tim decided which one he felt more comfortable with — a self-leveling concrete-based product that you prime, pour, and spread.

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Tim working on leveling the floor. We had the biggest dip in the floor near the back door.

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All the gray areas are low spots in the floor.

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Once the floor was level and dry, we laid down a moisture barrier.

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Yeah, flooring, finally! We had to maintain the correct spacing from the walls and make sure the seams were staggered. I laid out the pieces and Tim installed them.

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The last few pieces of flooring going in with our neighbor Travis helping.

The morning that Tim’s parents arrived, we had new countertops installed. We got an amazing deal after hunting around the city. We picked a Kashmir White granite because of the look and the price. We still have to put on the finishing touches, but we are getting there!

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We moved in some of our furniture and Debbie helped me arrange and rearrange. We had to clean the floor over and over from all the construction dust.

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My white kitchen. We have to trim it out, add the cabinet pulls and work on the island, but it is a vast improvement. It’s finally functioning, most importantly.

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California, Here we Come

It was hard to see the Luckiest getting hauled out of the water. It was clear she didn’t belong on land, so my nerves were on edge as they steadied her on the trailer.

We hauled out a little earlier than we expected, so we still had a lot of closing work to do while she was “on the hard,” as they call it. It was hot and tedious work to make sure all the bug access points were closed, pack everything and get it out, foil all exposed plastic and tie everything down. We spent two full days working on it with the company of our friends Drew and Miya on Tie Fighter. They hauled out about a month before and had been working on the hull of their trimaran. Props to them for the intense heat and hard work they endured for six weeks — we couldn’t even handle two days of it.

Leaving La Paz felt a little exciting and a little sad. We knew we had a fun new experience to look forward to working in Shaver Lake, California, but we also did not know when we would be back to our home on the sea.

Here she comes out of the water.

Luckiest getting put in her place for the summer.

Driving out the Baja peninsula was just as beautiful the second time. The land changes so much throughout to make some dramatic scenery. We stopped once half-way up in Guerro Negro and then again in Newport, California.

The Baja HaHa is a yearly “race” of about 200 sailboats that make their way from San Diego to Cabo San Lucus. Many also work their way up to La Paz for the winter. That is how we met many of the friends we made in La Paz, including David and Katie on Stargazer and Rochelle and Steve on August Pearl.

David and Katie graciously invited us to visit them on our way up to Shaver Lake to work for Steve. We were so excited to see them again and really enjoyed visiting, we actually stayed for two days in the Newport Beach area. They were great hosts and showed us around town and the area beaches. We got our first taste of what the sailing community is like in the U.S.

That was a strange thing to see for us. It is very coordinated and crowded. There were tons of boats in the Newport Harbor in slips, on moorings and coming and going. Not one was anchored, haha. We spend almost 7 months at anchor, so that is hard for us to imagine not being able to anchor. David took us on a harbor cruise in a cute little electric boat, which are popular there. Everything seemed foreign. It was really busy and lined with huge beautiful homes.

We had an awesome time with David and Katie though, window shopping and just catching up. They plan to visit Shaver Lake this summer.

Getting on the electric boat for our harbor cruise with David and Katie.

David on the harbor cruise.

Checking out Newport Beach.

Walking the Huntington Beach Promenade.

It took us just over five hours to drive from Newport to the Trading Post in Shaver Lake. We were greeted by Rochelle, Steve and his son Saylen sitting outside. It was weird to see Rochelle and Steve out of La Paz and in their own community, but it was cool. They invited us in to sit down for dinner for the first time in the Trading Post. I had lamb, Tim had a filet and it was as awesome as they had said it would be. We were “home” for the summer. I am so happy to be in the piney mountains for a while. We have so much hiking and exploring to do, and summer is just beginning here.

Tim was hired to rent out boats at Shaver Lake Watersports, and I was hired to waitress at the Trading Post and do some graphics for Blue Sky Cafe — which is Rochelle’s Cafe across the street. We moved into a little lower level apartment within walking distance of everything in town.

When we aren’t working we intend to be hiking, boating, laying by the lake and anything else this beautiful town presents.

Driving into the Sierra Nevada Foothills.

Arriving in Shaver.

That’s where Tim works.

The side yard at the Trading Post.

Rochelle’s delicious Blue Sky Cafe.

Hiking near Shaver Lake – Across the street from our place.

Tim Hiking near Shaver Lake.

The towering trees on our hike.

Tall trees make big pine cones.

Beautiful meadow.

;

Almost

Wow, leaving is actually upon us now, and I could not have anticipated these feelings. I am overwhelmed in all forms: physically with packing and moving, mentally with all our tasks to accomplish and emotionally with the thought of telling all the people I love and this place goodbye.

I do ok with the day-to-day activities and chores. As long as I can check it off my list I don’t seem to have a problem with it. Visas- check, storage unit- check, garage sale- check, packing the house- check. All the while these items I’m checking off are propelling me toward leaving. When I stop and think about being gone or telling any particular person goodbye for a while, tears well up in my eyes. Then to keep myself together I go back to my checklist. Today I realized, “oh my, what we are doing is a little crazy… Hum.” oh well we have come this far, might as well keep going.

We are heading to dinner with Tim’s parent’s house to celebrate his brother’s birthday. It’s nice to take a break and enjoy company, just like it was on Saturday night with our dear friends.

Wish me luck tomorrow!