Our second renovation project is the guest bathroom. This is a small, but not tiny, bathroom that is next to the guest bedroom that we previously updated. We have guests coming to stay with us on May 31 so we had a limited time to get everything done. And believe me when I tell you that this was pretty much a gut job. There was almost nothing that we would keep from the original bathroom.
First a few “before” pics of the bathroom in its former, uh, glory.
So the demolition began… everything came out. We took the shower area down to the studs, removed the cracked and degrading shower pan and removed the old tile which had cracked in many places. Essentially stripped the place down.
The Shower Area
The Toilet Area
Under the toilet we also found water damage. Prior to the demo the toilet leaned to one side and the tile on that side was cracked due to a soft floor underneath. There must have been water leakage going on for a LONG time to damage it that much.
The Sink Area
The sink/cabinet was a Home Depot unit that was in reasonable condition from the outside. But the construction is mostly particle board which has a short shelf life here in Hawaii. Once moisture gets into particle board it starts to expand and come apart and this cabinet was doing all of that. It had to go.
Prep work: Now that we had all the bad crap out, it was time to start prepping the area. We had to patch the floor around the toilet drain and install cement board on the floor and in the shower stall.
Unfortunately all the demo and prep work was not as easy as it sounds. It was grueling work to get it to this point. There were other tasks that I didn’t get pics of – like relocating the power outlet and rewiring the light in the shower, etc. But now we were finally ready to start the finish work….
The Finish Work
Our next tasks were to install the tile on floor and in the shower. We had tiled floors before but not a shower so we knew we were in for a fabulous learning experience. We went with large grey tiles for the floor to give this small bathroom a larger feel. For the shower we went with 16 x 4 white subway tile and a stone accent strip. We used grey grout to better define the white tiles. The walls were painted with white semi-gloss paint to keep it bright in the small space.
The pictures look good but it actually took us 3 full weekends of tiling to complete the shower. The floor we knocked out in a few hours. Grouting the shower took 3 days to complete even with the pre-mixed grout. But we are first timers for the shower part and we were learning on the job. Our next shower will benefit from the knowledge we picked up on this project.
The Final Product
The fun stuff. We had ordered a bathroom sink/cabinet from IKEA. Since IKEA doesn’t ship to Hawaii, we contracted with a firm that specializes in shipping IKEA items to Hawaii. You place your order through them and they ship to the port here on Kauai where you pick it up. The shipping is pretty steep but even with that we were able to get a nicer wood (not particle board!) cabinet and sink for less than buying (a decent) one at Home Depot. We also ordered a ceiling fan appropriate for wet areas from Amazon and installed it over the commode. The LED light fixture was a Costco buy. The mirror we found at Home Depot by accident and it perfectly matched our cabinet (Score!!!!).
We are still going to install a glass enclosure for the shower but we haven’t settled on what we want yet – and we had to wait until we were done tiling to get good measurements before ordering one.
Anyway, here are the photos of the bathroom that I just took a few minutes ago. I hope you like the final product!
The Cost of it all
The final cost of the project to this point is about $3,100. That doesn’t include the glass enclosure which we estimate will be another $700. So an ultimate cost of $3,800 for a full bathroom renovation. Plus about 2 months of our time from start to finish. Everything in this bath down to baseboard, door trim, wall plates and electrical switches were changed except the medicine cabinet, which was repainted and re-used (and a cool little ceramic fish knob added).
Well, that’s it – I hope this was interesting to you. Our next project will probably be the Master Bedroom – although we are hoping to get the living room remodeled shortly as well.
It’s June and I’m late for my monthly blog post. Usually they come out on the 7th since the anniversary of our move to Kauai is April 7th. But I’ve been a little stressed with work and house stuff which has kept me busy and I’ve neglected the blog.
Hawaiian Word of the Day
The Hawaiian word of the day is ‘Kuleana’ (pronounced Koo-lee-ah-na). Kuleana means responsibility for something. Such as “It is my kuleana to make sure the bills get paid on time”. I was first introduced to this word by our realtor, Susie, when we were going through the process of buying our house here. I had a lot of kuleanas!
We have gone into “maintenance mode” on our current house since we are going to be selling it to build our new house. It is not officially on the market because we are still in the process of designing the new home. I’ve also been so busy with work that I haven’t wanted to deal with all the kuleanas that come with getting the home staged properly. The last thing we did was to finally replace the old screen on the carport bathroom. we now have a shiny new white screen door to replace the old brown one. It was the final piece of the bathroom update out there. Exciting right!?
We have our first papayas from our papaya trees! It took less than a year from seed to fruit – the trees are probably 9 or 10 feet tall now. We are finally able to be fruit GIVERS instead of takers. Seriously, we have more papaya than we can eat – and we can eat a lot of papaya. Here are our first 3 that we harvested. Both trees have a lot more where that came from.
The rest of the plants are also doing well – with the exception of the lime tree – it isn’t really growing, its just kind of sitting there. Both the orange and tangerine trees have had their spring growth spurt and are looking good. The pineapples are growing but haven’t shown any fruit yet, and the avocado tree is COVERED with avocados. That’s a lot of guacamole on the branch!
Work is keeping me very busy. It looks like one of my projects will be extended for 3 or 4 more months as some requirements have changed, so that’s good for me – but I am also a little disappointed that we will miss the deadline that we set up for the end of this month. My other clients have kept me busy with some custom programming projects and have had me waking up in the middle of the night thinking about solutions to nagging programming issues. My geek certification has been re-upped for the foreseeable future. My beach visits have taken a hit in favor of keeping hot on the programming trail but I’m sure I will catch up on those on the weekends.
Barb is on summer break so work is going GREAT for her.
The New House Project
We have contracted with a friend and neighbor of ours who just happens to be a home designer. So the house plans are under way! We have decided to have him design in an ADU (additional dwelling unit) for a couple of different reasons: Our plan is to build the ADU first and move in to that unit while the main house is being built, This will give us a place to live and make it easier to sell our current home while the main home is being built. It will also give us a source of income once we move into the main house as we can rent it out. That’s the plan and we will see what roadblocks await us…
Yes, there is actually fun stuff happening here too! We have been driving up to Hanalei on the North Side every couple of weeks. It’s just beautiful up there and hanging at Hanalei Bay is the best. We’ve also had the opportunity to get together with some of our friends form the North and East sides and that is always a great time.
This week we met with a couple of friends of my sister who were visiting the island. We were able to meet them and have a couple of dinners and had a really great time. We hope to keep in touch and see them again soon.
Rainy and sunny, rainy and sunny. The weather has been great in my opinion: plenty of rain and plenty of sun and a green, green island!
We have 3 gigs next week. One at the Hilton in Wailua and 2 parties on Saturday. So I’m keeping busy with that too, what with learning new songs and such.
Haha. Not even going there! It’s my kuleana to keep this light and fun.
Hawaiian word or phrase of the blog: Pau hana. Pau hana means ‘finished working’ or ‘after work’. So there are a lot of places that incorporate this term into their name or advertising because who doesn’t want to be done with work and ready for a little pau hana time?
So here is the update. I got back from the mainland last week with a little visitor: A cold virus that hitched a ride in my throat and has now blossomed into the full glory of a cold. So I am writing this blog under viral duress today. I’m pretty sure that’s a thing.
Progress on the new house
Well, no actual progress on the house itself, but we are scheduled to close the deal on the land this Wednesday. We will then be proud owners of 10,200 square feet of Kauai real estate. Our first step will be complete, and we can now start work with our home designer on our new digs.
This Old House
The house we are in now will need to be de-cluttered as we will have to put it up for sale PDQ. Fortunately we threw out most of our belongings before we moved here, so it shouldn’t take too long to have this one presentable for potential buyers. The fly in the ointment is we are looking for a buyer who is willing to rent back to us until the new house is ready so this could get tricky. A rental unit somewhere close by is not out of the question, but we have 3 cats so finding a rental could be tough.
So if any of you are looking for an investment property on Kauai with built-in renters with good credit for a year or two, give us a call 🙂
Work is keeping me very busy. I am putting in a full 8 hour day or more every day now. The project that keeps me traveling to San Diego will be winding down soon. I expect that to be reduced drastically by the end of June. So it’s all good. Still.
The island is just beautiful. We have been getting rain nightly and the trade winds have been great. Whenever I drive to town I still can’t quite believe I live here.
I thought I would have more to say, but I’m not going to bore you too much more by just writing junk. I’ll blog at you again soon. When my cold is gone.
It’s pau hana time anyway.
Today is our 1 year anniversary of our move to Kauai. We’ve had our ups and downs, but honestly mostly ups. So today I will look back on our genesis of life on the island.
We arrived on April 7th, 2015 (with cats in tow) to our new home in Kalaheo. It’s a cute little yellow house.
Our belongings arrived two days later (much to our surprise!), including our truck and car. We were very happy to have all of our things come across so quickly. We had done a lot of planning (particularly with making sure that all the cats’ paperwork was in order) in order to make sure things went smoothly. For the most part they did. 🙂
Expectation and Reality
As you can imagine, we did a lot of research on island life and we had some expectations of what life might be like (good and bad) before we moved and some of those things are what we expected and others were not rooted in reality.
- Expectation: We were going to have to change our eating habits drastically because the food we ate was either not available or too expensive on the island. Reality: We have been able to find most of everything we like to eat here. If we shop at Costco for the main stuff the price is only slightly higher than San Diego. But if you shop at the ‘regular’ grocery stores you will pay a higher price. The fruit has been free for the most part because we have neighbors who periodically leave us fruit and veggies on our doorstep. there are also the fruit stands that people set up around the neighborhoods where we can get bananas, citrus etc. for very low prices. Papayas grow wild around here and its not too much work to walk down the street and pull one off a ‘volunteer’ papaya tree. I definitely eat more papaya than I used to! Definitely there has been some adjustment because the produce for things that aren’t grown on the island like broccoli, cauliflower and iceberg lettuce are quite bit more expensive.
- Expectation: Gasoline is prohibitively expensive on the island. We are really going to have to cut back on driving. Reality: The gas prices have actually been less expensive than what we were paying in San Diego (if we get it at Costco). Plus the lower speed limits mean we get better gas mileage and everything is closer (we are on a small island!) so we actually spend a lot less per month on gasoline here than we did on the mainland.
- Expectation: Utilities would be very expensive on Kauai. Reality: The electricity is quite expensive here. For the first few months we were very frugal about our electricity usage – the price per kilowatt hour was about 44 cents. We ended up installing solar panels on the house to reduce our utility bills. Water on the other hand is very inexpensive compared to what we spent in San Diego. Cable TV/Internet is comparable in price to San Diego.
- Expectation: Bugs, bugs and more bugs!!! Reality: Not that bad. Yes there are plenty of bugs here and some do get in the house. The mosquitoes love how I taste. But honestly it’s not a big deal.
- Expectation: Life would be simpler and more laid back. Reality: Yes and no. It is definitely a simpler life here and things just move slower. But the process of finding our way kind of negated the laid back part. Plus we are both busy with work and my travel to and from the mainland keeps me pretty busy. Plus we have a new big project we are working on. More on that later
The First 3 Months (April – June)
I won’t lie to you. The first 3 months had some challenges. Here we are – 2 people on a new island. We have left behind a life on the mainland that we were familiar with, quit our long-time jobs and left our families in order to move here. We also went from living life in the city to a life in the country on a tropical island to boot. We also had the hurricane warnings/watches and had to prepare our home in case on hit. It was amazing to see how fast the plywood flew out of Home Depot! As you can see below, it wasn’t looking good for awhile there.
On the good side, I was lucky enough to have secured some clients to work for remotely and we had stockpiled a bit of cash as backup in case we couldn’t find work right away.
There were some times where we questioned whether we had made the right decision, but we had promised each other that we would give Kauai two years at least before we gave up on it, and we determined to to do just that.
The Second 3 Months (July – September)
We started settling in, trying to find a routine. One of my projects on the mainland began to require me to fly back every 3 weeks or so. My first trip back was very challenging as I had caught a sinus infection the week that I was to leave. At this point we didn’t have health insurance yet, but I was able to get some antibiotics from urgent care. Unfortunately the antibiotics side effects were insomnia and a general feeling of aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh! I had to cut my first trip short because I felt so crappy and return to the island. Not to worry though, my client was very understanding and once I was healed up, I was able to resume travel back to the mainland for the project.
Meanwhile, we had been working on the yard and the house. We planted our papaya, orange, tangerine and lime trees as well as a continual planting of pineapples (eat one, plant one).
Here are some then and now photos.
We also worked on projects around the house such as the carport bathroom upgrade. Here are some more before and after photos:
The Third 3 Months (October – December)
Finally we are settling into somewhat of a routine. Barb is getting used to her job at the school and I am getting into a routine with the work travel. I still am not that fond of traveling this much but it is part of the deal. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to do work that I like and am good at and also to be able to touch base with my friends on the mainland periodically.
For Thanksgiving, my Aunt Justine and her daughter Monique and family were on-island. We had a lot of fun with them on a kayak/hiking tour and we ate a low key Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant near Kalapaki Beach. At Christmas, we traveled back to the mainland to be with family for the holidays. We stayed with Barb’s brother, Dave and had a great time visiting with everyone. I was worried that Barbara would want to move back after visiting her friends and relatives in San Diego, but it turns out that we were both anxious to get back to Kauai. While we wish we could spend more time with our old friends and relatives, we couldn’t wait to get home. A subtle change had now made Kauai ‘home’ in our minds. We missed the green, the slower pace and (believe it or not) the humidity that envelopes us on the island and keeps us from drying out.
The Last 3 Months (New Years’ until now)
We spent New Year’s Eve at Poipu Beach to watch the fireworks with our neighbor’s Jan and Rodney. It was a very good time but next time we will bring our own food. It was a mob scene at the food places. The fireworks were excellent!
We finished up building a new enclosure and gate for our outdoor shower. We also installed pavers as a pad to stand on instead of just the gravel. The gravel itself is now contained behind a low rumble stone retaining wall. Much cleaner, private and nicer to use than before. I actually prefer to use the outdoor shower over the regular indoor shower.
In February, my sister Tammy and her husband Kent came out to visit. Our first house guests! It was a lot of fun to have them around and the house seemed kind of empty after they left. We were able to see some whales from our lanai while they were here so we want to thank all the whales that were so instrumental in making that happen.
In March we had our second set of house guests. Jon and Debbie came over and stayed at the house for a bot 5 days and then we all hopped over to Oahu. We went to Pearl Harbor and had Easter Dinner at the Disney Aulani Resort. The resort itself is phenomenal but very crowded. But that is what Disney is. We actually weren’t staying there -we were down the street a block or two at the Marriott.
Some great sunsets from Oahu!
Again, it was good to get back home from Oahu even though we had a great time there.
OK so now what? Well, we are in the process of buying a small lot up in the development of Kakela Makai in order to build what will become our dream house. The view from the land is amazing – ocean views from Poipu west as well as mountain views. We have been meeting with builders and architects in order to get something that falls within our budget. This also means that we will be selling our current home. Hopefully we can find a buyer or investor who would be able to rent back to us while our new house is being built. So we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we hope to be in the new house inside of two years. So stay tuned to this blog as you will get to ride this new roller coaster with us.
So I have been writing this blog for the last year or so. Many of you already know me but some of you don’t. I haven’t really posted any pics of myself and have kind of kept my name out of the posts. But I feel like we are old friends now 🙂
My name is Dave and I am a Kauaiaholic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So I am sitting here at the airport in Honolulu. I have just returned from another business trip to San Diego and I have a couple of hours before my next hop home so I thought I would throw down some things in the blog. My apologies if the thoughts are broken and the flow is not great – but hey, it’s a blog!
We just passed the 10 month mark on our Kauai adventure and things are going pretty well. We are really settled in now and getting in the island flow. Work has kept me busy traveling back and forth from the mainland and has given me the opportunity to keep in touch with my family and friends in San Diego.
The progress on house projects has continued and we have been pushed forward a bit because we will have our first houseguests at the end of this week: My sister and brother-in-law will be staying with us for a week or so; they arrive this Friday. So the outdoor shower project has gotten some steam behind it. We have the new enclosure up and the retaining wall built and a platform to stand on while showering. The only things remaining are a gate and a privacy overhang. Hopefully we can knock those out this week.
We have also been looking at vacant lots in a development called Kakela Makai and have a couple likely suspects that we may want to buy and build a home on. The main draw are the unobstructed coastal views from those lots. We are excited but this is only in the beginning stages right now so it will be another journey if we can swing it.
Work has been going well – very busy which is good for the bank account but not so good for my beach time LOL. I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to work with good people and to be able to work remotely from paradise.
Ok – I’m not going to let this drag on and get too boring so I will just say aloha for now and will try and post again later this week with some pictures from the shower project and the land that we are looking at.
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.
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 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 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…
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 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.
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!