Our Kauai Fixer-Upper: 2017 starts… and so do the projects

Well. By now it’s not a secret that we bought a new home (which officially became ours on December 16th) and that it “needs some work”. That is putting it mildly. Here is a short list of stuff that we have identified already that need uh… refreshing.

1. The fireplace in the living room.

This one is a goner. The fireplace sits right in the center of what would be an unobstructed view of the ocean and coastline. Add to that the fact that there is wood rot at the base of the fireplace and that water from the rock veneer has damaged the wall surrounding it, and the verdict is in: It’s the death penalty for the fireplace.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_371ย Yes. I know, it looks harmless, but trust me this thing should never have been built in the first place. It blocks light from entering the living room and is causing ongoing damage to the entire wall. The challenge now is finding a good contractor to remove this monstrosity and install a sliding glass door (that we bought on Craigslist!) and new windows. We hope to have this project completed by spring.

2. The Pool

The filter for the pool runs OK but has a couple of major problems.

  • The outgoing line from the sand filter leaks like a sieve when the pump is running. This causes a loss of water (and salt!). I’ve ordered the parts I need in order to repair this bit of plumbing. I should have those in a week or two and can get this fixed right up.
  • The controller for the filter system doesn’t work. I already replaced the main circuit board for it, but it looks like the display/interface also needs replacement. I hope to have that part in a week or two also. Previous to our moving in, the pump was running 24 hours a day because the timer would never turn it off. I have been controlling it now by using the breaker for the pump itself. I let it run about an hour a day right now. The fact that the controller doesn’t work also means that the salt/chlorinator isn’t running – or we have no way of knowing whether it is running or is even still working. That might be another expense once we get the controller going.

3. The Locks

Oh yeah – every lock on the house had a different key. And some of them were just plain broken. I mean WTF?! So we ran down to HD and grabbed about 5 sets of re-keyable locks so that we could use one key for any door. That was about a $500 project, but at least it is done. The other fun thing about this project was that the strike hole for the front door had been drilled but never mitered out for the strike plate. Inexplicably there was a wadded up paper towel jammed in the hole which stopped the deadbolt from closing completely. So I now have experience using a wood chisel to miter an area for the strike plate to fit into. (and a new set of wood chisels to boot). At least this one is DONE!

4. The hole in the floor.

What!? Yes, there is a hole in the floor in the secondary (guest) bedroom that Barbara found during our final walkthrough by stepping on it and almost going through the floor. It was caused by previous termite damage and was never repaired by the previous owner. That was a “negotiating point” before we actually closed on the house.

Currently the hole is covered by cardboard and duct tape, but I plan on repairing it today or tomorrow depending on how lazy I am. The interesting thing is that there is no real sub-floor on this house; the oak flooring is just laid directly across the joists. This actually will make the repair easier because I won’t have a plywood sub-floor to deal with. I found some scrap oak under the house that we can clean up and use to patch hole. It’s pretty beat up but will do the job, and we plan on putting a new floor down anyway once we replace the fireplace.

5. Plumb the propane in properly.

Everyone loves plumbing a flammable gas into your home improperly right? I mean it’s perfectly OK to have a 5 gallon propane tank sitting next to your dryer with a beat up line to the back of the dryer, isn’t it? Or to run a flex hose under your house, drill a hole in the floor and attach it to your million year old gas range? I mean, what could go wrong?

We had a plumber come out and are awaiting his quote for hard plumbing the propane in properly. Hopefully that will be complete within the next 2 weeks. Then we will have Amerigas come out and hook up a real propane tank.

6. Assorted little stuff around the house.

Here is a list of some of the stuff we have already fixed around the house.

  • Replaced all the burnt out light bulbs in every room and ceiling fan with LED bulbs.
  • Removed the window air conditioner from the master bedroom jalousie window. It was a highway for bugs to enter the house because it was jury rigged, I mean installed, incorrectly. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Replaced the slats for said jalousie windows after removing the AC unit.
  • Got rid of the nasty window coverings in the master bedroom. These were thick satiny things that could have doubled as blackout shades for the blitz in WWII London. (Sorry Martha Stewart).
  • Repaired the damage to the drywall in the master bedroom and guest bedroom where the previous owner had inexplicably used double stick tape to secure whiteboards to the wall. (Sigh).
  • Set the timer for the solar hot water heater to run on electricity for 2 hours in the morning when the water has cooled down overnight. Again, why that was disabled, I have no idea.
  • Replaced various outlet and switch covers that were missing and were exposing electrical wires – a “shock feature” for the house.
  • Repaired the leaky toilet in the hallway bathroom.
  • Replaced the UGLIEST CABINET KNOBS AND PULLS IN THE UNIVERSE from the kitchen cabinets with some unassuming brushed nickel hardware.
  • Had the cable company come out and replace the cable out to the main box on the street. Because watching jittering, pixelated television is only for those aspiring to insanity.
  • Cut away trim wood and trim supports that were making contact with the ground and causing wood rot.
  • Trimmed away some of the foliage around the house that was making contact with the roof and getting in the rain gutters.
  • Oh yeah, we unpacked some stuff too – but that is not complete either.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the things we’ve already fixed, and there is STILL a giant list of upcoming projects. But I will save some of those for the next installment of “Our Kauai Fixer Upper”

Oh, and I promise to include lots more pictures going forward. ๐Ÿ™‚

Aloha now!


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About akiva96

I lived in Southern California my entire life - until my wife, Barbara, and I decided to quit our jobs and move to Hawai'i in April of 2015.

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