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The Big Living Room Wall Project

Finally we (or our contractor, rather) have started on the project to remove the old fireplace and old casement windows and replace them with new windows and a large patio door. It took almost 9 months until project start but we are now moving forward. This post will detail the start of the project on September 5th to date. Subsequent posts will follow it to completion over the next few weeks.

We really needed to get this one complete because there are many other projects that are waiting on this one to get done, for instance, we can’t refinish the floors in the living room or paint the living room walls until this gets done.

The Project:

Fireplace removal

We had a large faux stone fireplace in the middle of the living room wall. This wall looks out to our lanai and then down to the ocean. So instead of having a panoramic ocean view we had this:


I mean yeah, who doesn’t love an old fake stone fireplace with a rusted out firebox and flue that won’t close? Especially when it blocks your view to the ocean. But call us crazy, we decided to have it removed.

Before smashing the fireplace to smithereens, our contractor built a false wall to keep us and the cats separated from the dust and elements.


Gratuitous photo of the kitties. 🙂 From top to bottom: Mr. Beasely, Sheyna and Cali. Clearly, Mr. Beasely is not amused.



Looks beautiful, eh? Well this is our living area for the next few weeks while this project proceeds.


The view from outside after the guys had removed the old casement windows and installed the false wall.


Ugh! Doomed! Doomed I tell you!


The boards on the roof are to protect the roof from falling rocks and to guide the rocks onto the protective plywood below where they are corralled and taken to the waiting dumpster.

It took a couple of weeks to get our subcontractor out to do the demolition because, like most of the contractors out here, they are very busy right now. But once they started it was done in two days. Boom! This work was started on 9/21/17 and completed on 9/22/17.


Repairing the damaged posts and girder. Patching the deck.

Looks better already! We knew that we had damage to a post and girder under the fireplace so the next step was to repair that damage and fill in the open hole in the lanai.


You can see the damage to the post on the left. It just fell apart when the guys were pulling out the fireplace frame. The girder just above the two supports was just as bad; you could stick a screwdriver right through it with no problem at all.

The new post girder and joists for repairing the deck.


They feathered in the new boards for the lanai and removed the siding and the drywall.


Not bad for a day’s work! This was all done on 9/25/17. The next step will be posting up the beams for the roof support, adding in  new header to span the whole length of the wall and framing in the openings for the windows.

Installing the windows and lanai door.

The next day the windows went in! These guys are making fast progress. I was on the phone talking with my brother in law and the guys went by the window carrying the lanai door. 🙂


Definitely looking better than that old chimney… pretty excited at how it looks right now. Don’t worry, there will be a step installed in front of the slider so we will have “less” chance of taking a dive.

The next step will be to prep and patch the roof over the slider to match the rest of the roof.

Sept 27, 2017 The roof has been patched and is ready for the roofer to come in and do his thing.


The widow’ peak  (LOL) is gone and  ready to have the asphalt roofing added.

Here is a pic of the view looking out from the inside – a preview of our view from the living room once the project is finished. They also did a nice job matching up the cedar planks under the eaves.


Not bad! I can’t wait until the drywall goes up and we can take down the temporary wall. There is still some work to be done inside for sure. Here are a couple of pics from the area inside the windows now.

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Here we can see the new to support the roof  and the damage left by the fireplace. It should be covered by the drywall so no worries.

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The original hardwood floor. This is going to get refinished once this project is done (well, maybe not right away…)

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Kind of hard to tell from this picture but they dropped a stone when taking out the fireplace and it cracked one of the oak boards all the way through.


Here is the new board that replaced the damaged board. Sanded and ready to go.

The Inspection

We have to pass hurricane inspection before we can drywall. The guys came out and added hurricane strapping to the new header and supports in order to comply with the requirements.

Yes – not the most exciting photos but you get the idea…


There was not much drywall to install because the windows take up the bulk of the area. But having the drywall in makes it look like we are almost done – and since they took down the temporary wall to prep for the finish work we could finally see what the finished product would look like. 🙂 (Ignore the junk on the lanai, please!)



Final Trim and Paint

The next step was getting the trim installed and the walls painted. We are almost done!!!


And finally… done!

So here are the before and afters of the results of this remodel.

Before (Ughhhhh!)


After 🙂


A few final words

The project itself took about 50 days to complete once the actual work started. (Pretty close to the original estimate of 45 days). There were some minor delays, the main one being getting the fireplace demolished – construction is booming on Kauai right now and the demolition guys were very busy. The price was… well I won’t even get into that (LOL). However the actual time from when we started looking for contractors was over 10 months (Did I mention there is a construction boom on the island?)

We still need to paint the rest of the living room and refinish the floors but this wall project had to get done before we could do any of that. So now we have out work cut out for us in that respect. We are also waiting on the screen door from Milgard (They shipped us one but it was the wrong size, so we are working with them to get the right door)

The difference in the room and really the whole are including the kitchen is amazing. Where once it was dark, it is now really light and bright and the beautiful view is visible from everywhere in the common areas of the house: kitchen, dining and living/family rooms.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this and we’ll post again soon. The projects aren’t stopping anytime soon.

Now for the lanai cover…



Kauai Fixer Upper – Master Bedroom edition and… life update.

As usual it has been a while since my last post. But stick with me, there will be lots of photos! Here’s one right off the bat that Barb took in Kapa’a at an orchid shop. I think the gecko is actually posing for the picture.

First a quick Kauai life update.
Apologies to any of my Facebook friends as I have almost completely stopped posting and looking at Facebook. I just became so tired of political rants and posts from both sides and ads etc. that I’ve just given up on using the app for the immediate future. Probably the only thing you will see posted from me on Facebook will be these blog posts as I have them linked to my profile.

Okay okay, the life update.
We’ve been keeping very busy with general repairs and working on the Master Bedroom Renovation. As usual, the renovation always turns up more issues than you expect and everything takes a lot longer than you think it will. So we’ve been estimating worst case scenarios on how long it will take to do a job and then doubling THAT (haha).

The kitties are doing great and appear to not have a care in the world. They are really good at pointing out any geckos that have invaded the house so that we can capture and relocate them outside. We’ve been calling Mr. Beasely by a new nickname ” ‘lil G”, which is short for “The Gangster of Love” (apologies to Steve Miller).

It’s time for Barb to go back to work after having her summer break (always a downer) and I am pretty much always working so things are pretty stable there right now.

The band is still practicing and playing. We’ve had a couple of private gigs recently. One at Salt Pond beach and another at a private residence in Po’ipu. They both went very well and we are looking forward to more in the future.


We have more visitors coming to stay with us in a week or two. Barb’s brother and his wife will be with us for a couple of days before hopping over to Maui. We always have a great time with them and are looking forward to the visit.

We FINALLY got our permit from the county approved so we can start work on removing the fireplace and replacing it with a large sliding glass window. Having the construction in the house for a month or two while I am trying to work won’t be fun, but I can’t wait to see the place once that big ugly fireplace is gone and we have a clear view out to the Pacific.

On to the improvements and (more) pictures!

The “Before” pictures of the Master Bedroom.

Here are some photos of the room before the project. These are from our walk-through of the house before we bought it. The previous owner had some big furniture…

The Demo:

Not as much to demolish in this room but we did have those built-in drawers that were thrashed and needed to be removed. Barb gave it the red glove treatment…

We wanted to build in a shelving unit before we started on the rest of the room. We designed a place to put the litter box and supplies for the cats in the unit so it will easier to maintain and to contain the litter.

We still need to build the doors to enclose the shelves, and it is on our list, but it might be a couple of weeks before we get to that part. 🙂

On to the rest of the room

There was a lot of prep to do before we could actually start painting the room.

We had to:

  • Remove all the base board, repair all the holes, gouges and  fix nails that (inexplicably) protruded out from the ceiling.
  • Remove all structures from the closet so that we could paint the inside of the closet and install a closet organizer.
  • All electrical sockets were replaced.
  • A wall switch and associated light fixture above the old built-in dresser were completely removed.
  • The TV cable, which had been installed by drilling a hole in the floor and sticking the cable through, was routed into the wall into a proper box with a proper wall plated to connect to. The hole in the floor was filled and repaired.
  • We removed the old aluminum jalousie mechanisms for all the windows and replaced them with new vinyl mechanisms that seal better and are a bit more secure.
  • Old termite damage around some of the window frames was filled and repaired.

    The new jalousie mechanisms.

    The new Jalousie mechanisms.


The closet organizer


Our cat Cali, enjoying the afternoon


The room from the entrance. Again, Cali is enjoying the day.


The “new” closet doors. We got these at the local thrift store for $15 per two panels ($65 including tax!)


A view back towards the room entry.

You can see we still have a lot of finish work to do. We need to install the baseboard but we can’t do that until after we refinish the floors. That project will happen in about 3 weeks. Then we can finish everything up and get to decorating the room.

Other projects.

The outdoor shower next to the pool had no enclosure so we decided to enclose it with bamboo so we can use it as a real shower. Taking outdoor showers in Hawaii is one of the singular pleasures of living here. But you don’t want to aggravate the neighbors with your birthday suit so an enclosure is required. 🙂

We used some deck mounts for the poles to hold the carbonized bamboo up.2017-07-15_12-12-54_4722017-07-15_12-12-42_569

Then we built a door out of re-purposed wood and bamboo sheeting to ensure privacy while showering. We had to stain the wood and varnished the bamboo to protect the door from the elements. I think it looks pretty good.


We still need to figure out something to hold soap and shampoo and hang towels and clothing but in the meantime we have a small table inside to set the shower supplies on.

Well that’s a wrap. Considering all the work we went through to get these projects done, this seems like a pretty short post! But probably better that way.

Aloha to everyone and see you later!

51 Weeks on Kauai…

I am starting a new feature on this blog, which I will try and remember each post. It will be the “Hawaiian Word of the Blog”. Not “Word of the day” because I only post once a month or so… Anyway…………………..

The Hawaiian Word of the Blog

The word today is “Pau“. The word means done or finished and is pronounced like ‘pow’. The reason this one came up is that we had house guests visiting from San Diego last week and we took them up to the Hanalei Bread Company. When my friend, Jon, tried to order the Kona coffee there he was informed by one of the staff that the Kona was …”pau in the morning”. He just stared at her and I jumped in with “He doesn’t know what that means.” The girl started laughing and said “Wow you just threw him under the bus didn’t you!” It was pretty funny, but it got me to thinking that this blog would be a great place to post the meaning of some commonly used words and phrases – and help me to learn more of them as well.

Recent Events

Yes we had house guests for a few days and then we (and they) hopped a flight to O’ahu on Easter Weekend to give our friends a chance to experience a little of that island. We stayed in Ko Olina on the sunny west side of the island. We also got the chance to go to Pearl Harbor while we were there. It always humbles me to go there and think that without the sacrifice that those who defended our country made, that our country wouldn’t be enjoying the freedoms we have today.

20160327_002254159_iOS This is a view of the Arizona Memorial from the bridge of the USS Missouri.

We also experienced some great sunsets while on O’ahu.


On Sunday we headed over to the Aulani resort (Disney) for their Easter buffet. It was OK but the grounds of the Aulani are spectacular (though quite crowded!). Exactly what you would expect from Disney.

The House

Our major projects to the house are finished. There is big news in the works, but I won’t say too much about that yet as things are fluid right now. You will just have to wait until next months blog entry… 🙂

Our plants continue to grow like crazy with the exception of our lime tree which is just kind of sitting there doing nothing. The papaya trees are about 8 feet tall now and covered with fruit. Not ripe quite yet but they are on their way for sure! The pineapple plants continue to grow without much intervention from us.

The Band

My work schedule in March intruded on us doing as much practicing and performing as we would like but we were able to play a gig down at Kukuiula Boat Harbor. We had a horn section and a visiting keyboardist and guest vocalist sitting in with us. All in all a fun gig and quite a few people listening.


Work is keeping me very busy – busier than I thought I would be when we moved here nearly a year ago. That is a good thing and I am thankful to have the opportunities that I have had since the move.

The Cats

Here is the update on our cats. Mr. Beasely, a large tuxedo, has just barged into my office and demanded attention. So I guess this blog entry is… Pau.

Mele Kalikimaka! 8 Months in Paradise

The holiday season has arrived on Kauai. We have now been on the island for over 8 months. Here is our update.

The House Projects:

Our projects continue but mostly we have been maintaining and repairing small house issues.

The fridge:

Our refrigerator’s door seals were cracked and leaky (we think) – possibly damaged during the move but also by age – the refrigerator is about 5 years old. Condensation would build up between the doors where the cold air was escaping and combining with the humidity here.

So we ordered new seals from Sears for both the freezer and refrigerator doors. The seals came within a week or two but I was unhappy to find out that they sent 2 freezer seals instead of one for each door. You can envision the steam escaping from around my collar. If had a collar that is, I live in Hawaii. I called Sears and they sent an ‘expedited’ order for the correct seal at no charge. We just received that a couple of days ago while I was on the mainland for work. So that will be my project today. UPS was supposed to pick up the old seal but haven’t done so yet.

The ceiling:

The previous owners of our little house must have replaced or re-done the ceiling. Unfortunately they never painted the ceiling in the living areas or Master Bedroom. This led to a nasty run-in with dirt and surface mildew. Cue the ride to Home Depot. 2 cans of mildew resistant paint later (and a lot of ceiling scrubbing) our ceiling looks great. A big fat pain in the neck but at least it is done. There is something to be said for having a smaller house – stuff like this can be completed in a couple of days.

The carport bathroom:

Yes, we still haven’t installed the new flooring for this bathroom but we have bought the slate. Maybe next weekend will be tile day. We will have to rent a tile saw so we want to have everything ready so we can get the cuts done in less than the 4 hour time limit for the rental. The drive to/from HD will eat up 20 minutes each way so that leaves us less than 3 1/2 hours to complete all the cuts. Fortunately the bath room is very small, so there are only a few cuts we will need to make.

The outdoor shower:

Nothing to see here. Move along.

The Garden:

The fruit trees and pineapple plants are still doing their things. We’ve planted some more hibiscus, plumbago and some other plants that are endemic to Kauai to add a little color to our very green yard.

Last week I pruned down our panax hedge on the west side of the yard. These things grow like crazy and were 20-25 feet tall. 6 hours of work later and they were down to a more manageable 12 feet or so. Our views out the west facing windows now are much more appealing. Even some ocean views! I still need to do the north side of the yard. Maybe this week…

Having Fun!

The week before Thanksgiving we had some friends visiting the island and we met them for a very nice lunch visit in Kapaa. This is actually the couple who purchased our mainland home so that we could buy the house that we now live in.

Thanksgiving week brought my aunt, cousin and her son, daughter and daughter’s SO into town. We took a kayaking trip up the Wailua river and hiked about 2 miles to Secret Falls. Very nice (even though the trail was really muddy). We’ve decided that a kayak is definitely in our future.


Of course, just living here amidst all this beauty is fun in and of itself. It still seems a little crazy that we actually live here!


Work is keeping me very busy! I have been traveling frequently to the mainland but am finally starting to get used to the travel. Not that I like it a great deal but again, it’s part of the bargain and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work from home as much as I do. Barb is still with the school district; we have a school play to attend this week and I’m looking forward to seeing the play and meeting some of her co-workers and kids.

The Band:

The band forges ahead. We have a gig this Friday in Hanapepe and then a Christmas Party (tentatively) to play. So I need to get up to speed on some of the new songs we are learning. Should be a good time.

The Cats:

Doing what they always do – sleep and eat. They’ve been on Hawaii Time their whole lives.


My sister and her husband, Tammy and Kent will be visiting in February. We have other friends, Jon and Debbie who will probably be out in March. We are excited to see both of them and are looking forward to the visits.

My next post will be in January so I’ll talk to you then 🙂

So – Mele Kalikimaka to everyone and have a happy and healthy new year!


Fall Comes to Kauai

The leaves are turning and there is a nip in the air – it is time to get out the warm clothes and… oh wait; never mind, I live on Kauai now. It’s still shorts and Aloha or T-shirts and slippahs 🙂

However it is getting a bit cooler and the breezes are nice. It is still beautiful beach weather and there are still beautiful beaches.


Here is my latest update

The cats – I haven’t written about them lately because they appear to be doing as little as they possibly can. They are getting along fine and have fallen into the Aloha lifestyle. Here are some pics to prove my point.


Sheyna – it take  a lot of energy for her to lift her head like this.


Cali and Mr. Beasely; livin’ the good life.

Projects- Yes the carport bathroom is still ‘almost’ done but we have now plumbed in the drain and water to our little mango-wood sink. It’s really nice to have the sink operational now. We just want to add a mirror and finish the floor. We are still deciding between deck paint and slate tile for the floor. One is easier, the other just looks  way cooler.


The yard – The plants are doing well. The pineapples and papayas are growing like crazy and the citrus are growing – albeit a bit slower. We’ve also planted some more colorful plants like hibiscus and plumbago to give the yard a bit more color diversity.

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The pineapple plot. Propagated from the tops of store-bought pineapples.

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Papayas and citrus (facing south)

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Papayas and citrus (facing north)

Work – Work is keeping me busier than I thought it would, which is good. It’s always good to have more work than not enough that’s for sure. One of my clients has me traveling back and forth to the mainland regularly. Not ideal but it’s part of the deal and I’m racking up travel points for sure! Barb is doing well at her job though the job can be trying at times. But it is a school job with hormonal kids so you know what that means.

The Band – We have a Halloween gig tomorrow! It’s at a block party in Poipu so I’m looking forward to getting out the electric this time and getting my rock on. The guys tell me that a lot of people show up to this thing so it will be fun to be in front of a crowd again.

Visitors – We are having some friends visiting from the mainland this weekend. It will be nice to get together with them and have a BBQ and a couple of drinks. In November my aunt is coming out to visit during the Thanksgiving holiday, my cousin and her family will be joining her so it will be great to see everyone and do some tour-guiding.

The Neighbors – We have some very cool neighbors who continue to give us fruits and veggies. Check this out.

Swiss chard, oranges, avocados,beans and exotic eggplant - nice haul!

Swiss chard, oranges, avocados,beans and exotic eggplant – nice haul!

So, it is all good right now. We are busy, busy, busy but loving the island. There is Art Walk in Hanapepe tonight and we may go – The Right Slice pie company of Kalaheo sells chicken pot pies there that I can never resist…

Kauai Day 1!!!!

We are now residents of Hawaii!

Our plane touched down at around 1:30 yesterday and we walked off the jetway into the warm embrace of the island. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that we don’t have to go back to the mainland….

Rewind to 14 hours earlier.

We were up at 3:00 AM and immediately fed the cats a very small breakfast just to get their digestive juices flowing (and a chance for them to ‘Take care of business’ before it was time to load them into their carriers. The next 3 hours or so consisted of us deflating the Aerobed and packing it up, cramming the rest of the stuff that we hadn’t already packed into bags that were already bursting at the seams (and let me tell you they were at MAXIMUM CAPACITY), and Barb doing a final cleanup of the rental. Then we sat around for about an hour watching the clock until it was time to load the kitties into their carriers and head to the airport.

You may ask why we didn’t just go ahead and leave. The reason is that the airline does not want you to check animals in more than 2 hours ahead of your flight. So our timing had to be right. This was complicated by all the stops we needed to make on the way to the airport – drop off the Aerobed, get gas, return the rental car – and do it all during the morning business commute. With three cats serenading us with high pitched protestations during the entire trip. The fact that our rental home was about 50 miles from the airport didn’t help either.

So we make it to the airport and get a couple of pushcarts to get all our luggage and cats to the ticket counter. No one was in line ahead of us! Nice! A gentleman named Dominic was training an associate (her first day on the job) so checking the cats in took a little longer. We were determined not to lose our Aloha, so we just rolled with it. Once all the paperwork had been signed sealed and delivered, they called the TSA person to come out and inspect the cat carriers. We had really been stressing on this because you have to remove the cats in order for them to check the bedding. It turned out to be a non-issue as the cats were so freaked out that they just wanted to hold on to me and didn’t try to bolt. Huge sigh of relief… adrenaline notched down about 10 ticks.

Another quick thing. Our checked bag was 6 lbs over weight and we wanted to add another checked bag at the counter. But the rep looked at our itinerary and how much we had already paid and didn’t charge us the overweight fee PLUS let us check through TWO more bags for free! Not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but it gives you a good feeling that there are still empathetic people. I have to say everyone we had contact with at Alaska Airlines were extremely nice and very helpful.

The flight was… well a 6 hour flight. No disasters – and we touched down in Lihue without any problem. We were directed to go to the baggage claim where a representative of the Kauai Humane Society (Mary) met us to inspect the cats. Mary was very nice and asked Alaska Airlines to allow us to use one of their offices to inspect the cats so they would be contained. We got through the FINAL inspection and got our bags and headed to our home as new, freshly minted Kauai residents.

The house was as we left it. We released the kitties to their new home and they have been inspecting it ever since. Still a bit freaked out… but this morning they are already getting back to normal. We went to the store and got two CPK pizzas for dinner. Then we walked over to our friend Susie’s house to say hi and have a glass or two of wine. By the end of that we were ready to conk out and we did.

Our first full day today will consist of: Picking up our Ridgeline at the port and returning the rental car, getting the Ridgeline registered and inspected, going to the bank and getting our checks/debit cards from them, possible getting our new Hawaii drivers licenses and getting ready for the movers to bring all of our belongings on Thursday. Oh and Costco, Walmart and maybe a Home Depot run. Also, Barb got a call for a job interview with the County on Thursday and we will scout out where the interview is so she can get there while I am at home with the moving crew. Whew!

We hope to have little more down time on Friday/Saturday and I think we will make a point of blowing some stuff off so we do have that. After all, we are on Kauai time now.

Aloha and… “WE DID IT!!!!!”

Where I will actually be living

We are finally home.

Going Home!!!!

We are just finishing up our final packing. Even though the movers came three weeks ago we still needed things to live on here in the rental/transition house. Somehow we still have four big boxes plus a small TV to ship via USPS – About 200 lbs worth of stuff – not counting the things we are throwing out or donating. We are at the point that if we don’t like the look of something we are throwing it away whether we need it or not. Really, about half of this stuff is clothing.

We did a dry run at the airport yesterday to figure out the logistics of getting our luggage and the cat carriers to the checkout counter. It turned out to be a good idea because we discovered that the TSA is going to have us pull the cats out of the carriers IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AIRPORT so they can inspect the bedding to make sure we are not smuggling anything. They don’t have a controlled area to keep the animals from running off (really!?). So our next stop was to get some collars and a leash for the cats to minimize any chance of them running loose in the airport.

Believe me when I tell you that the cats were NOT AT ALL HAPPY about having collars around there necks. Particularly Sheyna. The collars had little bells (I call them Hell’s Bells) that jingle with every step. Sheyna kept running from the sound which, of course, caused even more jingling. We knew that we would never have a moment’s peace until we removed the bells, which we did. The cats didn’t forgive us until they wanted food. Then we were pals again.

Today we have last minute running around. Returning the last of our borrowed goods. stopping by the Salvation Army one last time to donate things, the post office to clog up their business with our never ending cavalcade of boxes, online check-in with our airline (we are going to try and upgrade to first class if any seats are available so we can start drinking the minute we enter the plane), the final cleaning of the house here, and then off to my parents to have a dinner with them this evening and say goodbye. We will be up around 3 tomorrow morning to load our luggage and our cats. We will still have to return our borrowed Aerobed and get gas before heading down to Lindbergh field for our flight home.

Yes – our flight home. It’s taken us over a year of work and preparation but tomorrow we get to fly home for the first time!

I may try and blog from the airport tomorrow if I can so check back soon!!!

Aloha and…see you on Kauai!

Hanalei Valley Overlook

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