Monday, October 27, 2014

The Inside Of The Lake House And Some Nature Pics

Good morning and here it is…the highly anticipated inside of the house:)  Mike and I have been here for one week and we have learned some things about this house.  First and most important is it was built like a bomb shelter, I imagine that was for protection against hurricanes and any possible tornadoes.  The interior walls are solid brick or concrete which are no less than 6 inches thick.  The door jams are concrete and steel.  The exterior walls are up to 10 inches thick and the roof had a very low slope.  Needless to say Mike and I will not be doing much demo here.

Here is your chance to give some ideas on what you would do to this house.:):)  Let us know what you think before we get started, lol.

The house itself was built in 1960.  The square footage is "supposed" to be 2378 although it doesn't feel like it.  The garage is 1104 sf and the boathouse is 336 sf.

Here is the layout:

Let's take a walk up our drive so you can get a feel for the house.  Here is our mailbox and driveway:

The boathouse is on the right:

Now for the old walkway:


And the front door, which we will be moving:

The entrance although I have no idea why the wall is there.  The eaves are wide enough to block the sun and with all the windows on the house it doesn't really add much privacy:

OK…here we go.  When you open the front door this is what you see:

Walk around to the left and you end up in the kitchen.  Looking back towards the front doorway.  There is no doubt that we will take the brick wall on the right down.  At least we are going to try.  At some point the kitchen will be redone but that is a long way off.  BTW, the floors in the kitchen and living room are terrazzo.  We haven't decided on a floor yet but we are leaning towards tile since we are surrounded by water.

And the kitchen…which is huge:

I hate having a stove next to a wall or a cabinet.  It is dangerous for pot handles.  At some point this will be changed:

I do have a refrigerator now:

It's a very big room:

The countertops, cabinets, and sink have all been painted but there is still an old smell in the house.  I have been airing it out each day and it is better:)

As we continue through the kitchen you end up in the dining area.  I'm not sure if this was an original dining area or a breezeway.  You can see the painted brick on the walls:

It does have a gorgeous view.  This is where I sit with our patio table, lol, each morning:

And the back side of the room…towards the boathouse:

Continue through and step down.  This was the "original" garage many years ago.  This room has it's own bathroom and a separate heating and cooling system with patio doors going outside.  Mike and I think we will redo this room to make it a guest suite.

We promise…it will look much better but that will be a later on project:)

The laundry set up is in this room:

And the lovely bathroom:

OK…time to leave this room….going back into the dining area and we will turn left.  The closet ahead has the water heater in it:

This is another small step down and a short hallway.  We think this was originally outside and the original front door…to the left:

And now into the living room and the great big fireplace.  I know many of you will love this fireplace but since I have an aversion to red brick and we don't want a fireplace something will be changed here.  We also need more wall space in this room. At first we thought we would take it out and open up the LR and kitchen.  Now after seeing how this house was built we may just knock part of it out on the left, if possible, and cover the brick with drywall to make a brighter room.  We will see.  Any input will be considered:)

The bay window which is nice but has bathroom tile.  We will change the tile at some point:

Facing the original front doorway.  Right now it has and 8 foot slider.  We would like a nice set of double front doors but they don't make 8 foot ones.  We would either have to get a 6 foot door with side lights which is very expensive or we will get a 6 foot double door and fix the stucco:

Our built ins in the living room.  They have been painted and they do offer a lot of storage.  We haven't decided what we will do with these.  Would you all keep them?  Leave them the same color?

And into the bedroom hallway.  There is more great storage in these built ins.  They are old and may need to be fixed/and or replaced at some point.  For now they are filled, lol.

And the two bedrooms which are identical but a mirror image.  They are each about 20x20 and have their own bathrooms.  They have new carpet, new windows and fresh paint.  This is new for Mike and I.  We have never bought a house where we could move right in, lol.

The spare room.  This will be the guest room until we get the guest suite set up.  After we move guests out of here, the pool table will go in here.  Yes we did move our pool table and moving that slate was no fun at all.

This room faces the boathouse:

The master which faces the garage:

And the side of the peninsula where we would like to put a desk:

And the third wall with yet another window:

The bathrooms in the completed bedrooms.  They are almost the same.  One had a tub taken out and all of the walls, tiles, shower, and tub has been painted.  We will leave these alone for now:

The big thing we have to figure out is how to get electric into these bathrooms.  Mike got a new outlet for the switch that has both and outlet and a switch but we may have to cut out some concrete to get it installed.

Quickly back outside because we were asked about the boathouse.  It is in good condition and it has electric to it for the lift.  It just needs a boat:

Mike adding a temporary light to attract the fish:

Here are my banana trees:)  Tell me what you know about banana trees…anyone??

So cool how they grow:

One of our many water birds:

And we saw two baby alligators last night.  Here is one of them.  They stay close to the dock so I keep Niki on the other side of the house:)

I know that was a lot of pictures but I hope you get the feel of the house.  We are not quite sure where we will begin the big jobs but it will be sometime this week.  We did get the appliances last week and Mike has started hanging blinds…oh joy, lol.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  I will write again next Monday and I am looking forward to your ideas:)


  1. Loved seeing the pics! Can't wait to see what ideas you come up with. The only thing I know about banana trees is that they multiply, you cut them down to about 4 inches or so when they turn brown (machete style), AND if you get any of the "juice" on you when you cut them, it will NEVER come out of your clothes! Of course, where I lived was not as "tropical" so not sure if yours ever need cutting for the winter.


    1. Thanks kats. Wow you mean I might ruin some clothes:wink wink:, lol. Thanks for letting me know that. I will wear work clothes when I tackle those trees:)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. Very interesting lay-out. I couldn't really see the terrazzo in the kitchen. Is it the pattern that you object to -- or the fact that it is terrazzo? I'm not familiar with that. I LOVE the floor in the living room. As far as the brick fireplace -- I agree with the red brick, but I love fireplaces and would have a hard time seeing it go . :D The built-in bookcases? I LOVE them. Maybe painted -- or something if you don't like the dark wood (I know that it is "out") -- but I have LOTS of books and love the storage in the bottom for games, throws, etc etc. Again.... thank you for sharing! I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with this project!

    1. You're welcome. We don't really like the look of the terrazzo and some of it has worn spots worse then some other areas so it is not so uniform. It kind of reminds me of confetti being thrown all over, lol. I would love for a product where you could redo the concrete and have a beautiful floor.

      I know a lot of people like fireplaces. Mike and I would never use it. If anything we will just close it off so it will be there for someone else to uncover.

      I like the shelves also and I do have a lot of books, lol.

      Thanks for writing in:)

  3. Nice lay-out on the floor plan, you’re moving up. lol I figured the walls were concrete or cinder block from the door openings being so thick. If you do plan on making new openings I see many concrete anchor bolts, steel cutting guide plates and a huge water mess in your future L definitely not a DIY project. Maybe you can go down to the county and look at the building plans they submitted to see what you’re up against. I suspect that wall in front of the door is to keep it from being blown in during severe storms. Don’t the newer codes req. exterior doors to open out for that reason? From looking at the pics of the outside someone has put a lot of time and money into developing the property. Very nice job from what I can see. As far as the interior maybe try living there for a while first. I’m sure a plan will come to you guys. Only thing I know about bananas is they go on my cereal. lol

    1. Ha. we needed anchor bolts just to hang some hooks in the bathroom, lol. I will have to check on the codes for exterior doors.

      Yes…this is the nicest house we have ever moved into:) We love love the lot. The house will be really nice I think with just a few changes.

      Yeah…that's about as much as I know about bananas. Oh and Elvis liked them with peanut butter on a sandwich, lol.

  4. Question - what makes the master bedroom the master (facing the garage)? I would think the masters of the house would want the nice view of the water :-)
    I'm with you on that huge brick wall surrounding the fireplace. Whack it down or cover it up. You can always have a fire ring outside!
    Love, love, love all the storage space everywhere. The kitchen cupboard next to the stove, I'd just get rid of the upper half and put more counter top in.

    The previous owners really liked red brick didn't they, LOL


    1. That was our choice. Both main bedrooms are identical except for the view. Since they are both on the side of the house when you drive up each of them has windows facing the garage. The difference is the other two sets of windows in the rooms. The one we are calling the master looks out to open water on both sides. The other one has a view of the small canal. We prefer the open water view. We plan to out the bed in front of the driveway side window…oh yeah that will be another decorating issue since we have no "wall" to out the bed on, lol.

      When we get to the kitchen I think we will do like you said and get rid of the upper part. That will be down the road a bit:)

  5. It seems as though the house is in very good shape. You can make cosmetic changes as you want, but it seems very nice as it is, so you can take your time. If it is all constructed of cement block, this is great hurricane protection. My son's GF is from Puerto Rico, and she says that most houses are constructed this way because of the weather. Maybe this time, stop and enjoy life, and go slow. gentlearts

    1. Thankfully you are right. It is in much better condition than any other house we have bought in the past decade, lol.

      We like it and with a few fairly minor changes I think it will be great.

      Go slow…ha…Mike is taking down brick as I write back, lol. I need to hurry so I can help him:)

  6. Oh, I forgot to comment on the bananas. I have some in GA and you can cut them down in the winter, because they get so darn straggly and ugly, and they will make some nice new growth in the spring. I doubt you can kill them. Maybe down there, you will even get bananas.

    1. I hope we can eat them…otherwise why have them, lol. I will talk to some local landscapers and pick their brains a bit. I would love an avocado tree:)

  7. Right off, I can see how the house and property could be very therapeutic! Much like the mountains. You can't go wrong with either one! Gorgeous!

    As for the wall around the current front door - I would venture to guess it is there to protect the doorway from storm winds and flying debris. Just a thought.

    Kitchen is fabulous! So much room for a huge island. I think I'd have to refinish the cabinets to white. To freshen the house, I would recommend mixing vinegar, water and essential oils and spray down counters and cabinets. Tea tree oil and lemon or lemongrass leave a fresh scent and are antibacterial. Thieves oil is another excellent oil with a cinnamon/clove scent and kills mold spores; is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial. You can get plenty of info online.

    The bathroom in the future guest suite definitely looks like a "garage bathroom!" lol.

    Red brick .. yeah, I feel ya! I love stacked stone and Lowe's sells a product called airstone. Maybe you could knock down the left side, like you said, and then cover the brick with a stacked stone and put in a fireplace insert. That's SUCH a tiny fireplace for such a HUGE wall! Good luck with that! I'm interested to see what you end up doing with it.

    I would DEFINITELY keep the buit-ins! LOVE THEM! But I would have to refinish them, probably white with darker walls. Can't tell in the pic; are there terazzo floors in there?

    I had banana trees when I grew up in Florida and they were right up against the seawall, so on occasion, they attracted rodents. But we LOVED having free bananas. As many smoothies as I consume now, I wish banana trees would grow in Georgia!! =)

    Your "water bird" is a Gray Heron. And all I can think of when I see your gators is ... LOVE ME SOME FRIED GATOR TAIL!!! YUMMMMM!!!! =9

    Awesome home... as usual. Can't wait to see you guys work your magic. LOVED all the pics!! Keep 'em coming!! =)


    1. We love both places for different reasons:)

      I think you are all right about that door as the other two exterior doors are hidden between the walls of the house.

      I love the size of the kitchen and it is almost begging for am island:) I need to get used to hardly any upper cabinets. It's a long walk from the stove to the refrigerator, lol. I need a garbage bowl on the counter.

      Thanks for the essential oil idea. The smell is really from being closed up and the old wood of old cabinets. It is already getting better:)

      That airstone is really cool.

      I'm pretty sure the built ins will stay. If we change them that will be a much later on project. First is the brick. It's got to go.

      You will have to switch form banana smoothies to peach smoothies:)

      I had fried gator once and it was pretty good. Then again it was small chunks and fried…anything tastes good like that, lol. I don't think we can hunt those gators.


    2. Hey Lisa,
      When I saw how the house is sitting on a peninsula and all the water around you, I figured if there's a storm, stuff is gonna be flying through the air so the wall would make sense.

      Oh, trust me, when peaches are in season, I buy them by the case. I have bags of frozen peaches in my freezer just for smoothies!!

      What are you going to do with the store? You didn't even get it open, did you?


    3. I think this house will be pretty safe…but we do have the RV:)

      I love peaches.

      We did open the store for a couple of weekends and we sold a lot of things. It will be there when we go back up. We will decide next year what we are doing.

  8. Very nice, but as you said, a bit strange. They sure did love brick!! One of the first things I'd do would be to put up sheet-rock on that brick wall in the kitchen. (unless you decide to tear down the wall) The cabinet next to the stove could be removed, but you'd have to change the soffet, and also those cabinets might not take to that much of an alteration. Would it make sense to remove the cabinet, and get a large Chef's stove to replace the current stove...or maybe use cabinet for a wall oven, and then put sheet metal (stainless) as a back-splash against the side to protect the wood from the stove top.

    I personally think that 8' sliders are just too wide for an entry door, and I agree that you should put in French Doors, which may require you to close up the opening abit, and have to do some stucco work, but it will look a lot better that way...from both inside and outside.

    I am pretty sure you were being sarcastic with regards to the "lovely" bathroom in the future guest suite. It looked like the bathroom in a gas station..or maybe at a high school.

    The trouble with this house, as I see's just nice enough that you don't have to do anything with it, but there are enough things that you WANT to change, and the construction will make each one a real project. I think sitting back and figuring what is a priority is paramount. I think the guest suite would be high on the list, though I know that you will want to get that kitchen up to Lisa Standards :-), so you can get to cooking and enjoying yourself.
    Things like the built-in shelves would be very low on my list....I think they look great, and we love shelves....and you have lots of other stuff to work on. Yes, I think the fireplace should go. I don't see a need for it, and as mentioned, if you want a fire, set up a fire pit outside....but, is that a load bearing wall, and will the removal of the chimney require extensive roof work....making it to cost effective....when you could just knock down a section, and then cover the rest with sheet-rock, once you removed the hearth section that sticks out.

    Bananas may or may not be the kind you will want to eat. We have had some on our plants, and they were not edible...though they looked nice. The leaves have seen a hurricane.....or at least high winds, which tend to shread them. Yes, you will want to cut off the old dried out leaves, as the new plant will come up through the middle of the existing plant in the Spring....and you will probably get some additional plants coming up around it. We had a little plantation of them at one time, until I transplanted them around the yard.
    Geez, I'm writing my own blog looks great! A beautiful home and property. Thanks for the pictures of the boat house (though it's really not a house(enclosed), but it will look great with a boat in it).

    1. We are working on the brick now. This week is about the brick and the garage. We cannot take the whole wall down as that os the back of the utility closet where the A/C and water heater is. We are thinking sheetrock to cover it.

      Ha, ha…sorry about the sarcasm, lol. Yeah I am not in love with anything that looks old.

      We don't really have to change too much. The kitchen can and will be improved but that is not a priority. My time will come and I can cook in some pretty strange places, lol. At least it is fully functioning.

      Mike and I don't have need of a fireplace. I think we will learn how to safely close it off and go with that plan.

      Thank you. Yes it is more like a boat cover.

  9. Another note about those banana plants. You've go the same kind of grouping that we had, and I thinned them out. Dig them up and move them around.....maybe 2-3 in a section, as they will grow well together, but also need the room to expand and multiply.

    1. Thanks. I will need some picture books about it, lol.

  10. I love the built-ins, both in the hall and the living room. I guess you could paint the brick walls, but I would love to see those walls lessened in some way. They separate the living room and kitchen too much - like a big prison wall! Although a lot of people really like the open floorplan these days, I do like some separation - just not as much as you have here! I see a bulkhead over the kitchen cabinet next to the stove - is there something in that top cabinet that might keep you from removing it, or that would need t be moved if you did remove the cabinet? Just to be safe, I would put up some fence someplace, for a yard to keep out the gators and make it safe for everyone to be outside. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it! SassyKat&Joe

    1. Yes we have too much brick wall. We are working on that now. Next weeks pictures should show some improvement.

      Eventually we will get into the bulkhead. I think they will be OK to take out.

      We have seawall around about 95% of the property. I think the only way for gators to get up is where a boat ramp started to go in over by the dock. I feel the yard is pretty safe and it seems we only have one mama gator and two babies.:)

  11. "it seems we only have one mama gator and two babies.:)".....just wondering if she is the "Virgin Mary Gator"?? LOL!!
    My guess is that there is a Daddy out there somewhere.....and probably a lot more.
    Just make sure not to put any food stuff in or near the water that will attract them to your little piece of heaven.
    The light that Mike set up for the fish is probably not going to have an effect, unless it brings them over for fish.

    1. Geez…now I have to learn alligator habits, lol. My garden is going on the other side:)

      I think Mike wants to get an underwater light to attract fish. That will be when we start leisurely running around. Right now our Lowe's/HD list is growing.

  12. I have a dream..or I should say I had a dream last night and your fireplace wall was in it. I saw that you had torn down the bricks on both sides of the fireplace to make openings (I guess) into the dining room, kitchen?. Not like I don’t have enough work of my own to dream about.."hey you, stay out of my dream"lol BTW…it looked really good except for the pile of bricks on the

    1. You must have a link to our minds here. The brick clean up is a mess, lol. We should be done with taking out the brick later today:):)

  13. Wow, lots of red brick! Huge house, your kitchen could be beautiful after you two are done with it and I love the idea of a nice big island in there. I'm sure you two have your improvement minds going full time right now, so I won't say much but yeah, some of that brick has to go. Bedrooms are nice and fresh and the dinning room is great, the floor in there looks relatively new? The built ins in the living room are too dark for Florida, I say paint in a fun light color. Your banana trees have fruit on them, have you tried them yet? Definitely need to be trimmed up, but I'm not good with tropical, so I can't say much else. Did you ever consider orange trees and grapefruit trees too? Start your own little fruit paradise! Enjoy!


    1. Thanks for writing in. I love Islands. I just e-mailed Nicole the kitchen layout. She can use her graphics and design the kitchen for me:) Do you like a dining room? That is going to be a question for Monday's story:) Floor in there is new but it was just a cover for the raw concrete. We will take it out to make the main floors flow together. We are down to 3 flooring choices. Waiting on one sample to arrive in the mail.

      I have not tried the bananas. Supposedly you pick them while they are green. I will give it a try:)

  14. I think you should think about keeping the terrazzo. Isn't terrazzo, rare, expensive and beautiful? It seems wrong to replace it with the ubiquitous ceramic tiles. I am not one of those people who can't bear the thought of ripping brick out, but you might enjoy little fire in Jan or Feb. The brick could be painted to blend with the room.

    1. I think you might be thinking of Travertine. Terrazzo is fancy concrete. "Terrazzo flooring consists of small marble chips, glass pieces or colorful stones embedded in a concrete base and polished to a high shine." We still have a problem with the dining area. Under the laminate it is raw concrete and we want the house to flow.

      I thought about a nice fire this morning when we are having lake wind advisories, lol. I don't mind the painted brick so much…Mike hates it. I will get my kitchen and he can do what he wants to the walls:) It's a happy partnership.

  15. I loved the whole concept of this place. I think you all are going to like it, I hope you I took out my banana trees sometime ago because I didn't have enough water that they liked. I had the small, we call them "lady finger" bananas,. that were so delicious. I figured between the water, fertilizer and a yard guy helping me, the bananas cost about $1.50 My DH still dreams about the banana pies I made with those. They will get out of bounds if you let them. And after they fruit, that stalk needs to be cut down. Go over to Miami and check out some of the tropical gardens. I think there are like a blugillion varieties of bananas, some with very exotic tastes. Same with mangoes. Same with figs. All can be grown very well on your island, I think. I grow figs in Central Fl, inland. Mangoes might need some protection. Citrus is perilous right now with the greening problems.

    The built in are lovely and need to lightened up, of course. Kitchen has great possibilities and will come together in time. Be sure and get building codes and permits if needed. Of course, permits may not have been issued when these add on's were done.

    Good luck with this project and please, please, don't wear yourselves out though I know you enjoy what you do. I hope all goes well.


    1. Mike and I are really enjoying the land here. We see some boaters and that is fine but no one can just walk into our yard. That is nice.

      Ooh…I love those finger bananas. Yeah it does cost a lot to grow things. We have some good flea markets close by and I know they have good and inexpensive produce stalls. I will still grow some things for fun:)

      We did take a day off from work yesterday and we drove around to check out the area. We really like it and it was a nice day. Mike says we need to do that at least once or twice a week:)

      Thanks for writing in.

  16. I know you hate the fireplace but if you paint that brick and that paneling, the texture will make your walls look like a million.

    Don't cover up that terrazzo! If you want to resell, it is worth a fortune here in Florida. During the summer, it keeps your home really cool, carpet and hardwoods don't do that. It will reduce your interior heat by as much as five degrees. That can drop your power bill a lot.