The Inn blog is a great way for us to keep a record of our renovation progress....the good, the bad....and the downright ugly (and yes we've had quite a few of those) 😊
Hopefully, it also provides our family, friends, neighbors, past guests, future guests, and anyone else that's interested in our adventures restoring the Atlantic, an insight into how each area of the inn is coming along... and also an understanding of why I sometimes like to escape to the beach!
We could have waited until we were finished, and the Inn was looking incredible, restored and resplendent before sharing - but we thought it would be more fun to let you all follow along with us. You get to see the "before"s, the "wish we hadn't started this particular project"s, our triumphs...and tribulations - each room, from "before", to work in progress, to finishing touches, and finally to the "after" pics (which of course are my favorite 💗)
So...what have we been up to this week? It was bathrooms, bathrooms, bathrooms, painting our apartment...oh and a burst water heater....never a dull day here!
We've kind of gotten into a routine on Saturdays - If it's Saturday....it must be Home away from Home (Depot) day!!!
When you're renovating an almost century old inn, you deserve to have frequent flyer miles from both Home Depot and Lowes home improvement stores. I guess if we ever get finished the renovations and improvements, the Home Depot share price will most likely plummet!!
Usually, we take JB's truck as opposed to Jake (the Jeep), so we can carry much needed lumber and supplies for the renovation. I love this, as I get a chance to just sit back, relax, sip my morning coffee and enjoy the beauty that is NC12.
I am so thankful that it's winter just now, which makes the weekly pilgrimage to Kitty Hawk an easy drive. During the summer season, the traffic was super busy, with so many people either in a hurry to get to the beach, or unfamiliar with the road, stopping, starting, and turning all over the place....it really was not great for JB's blood pressure! But for now, it's a relaxing drive with our coffee, watching the incredible sand dunes and catching glimpses of the ocean in the early morning sun.
Bailey and Bodie sometimes join us, as they both adore road-trips. Their particular favorite is when we drive over the Oregon Inlet Bridge, which they seem to sense as we get close, as they both wake up from their lazy sleeping positions just at the right time, to look out the windows....
When we start over the bridge, we always open the windows, regardless of the weather, (and yes, I have been known to wrap myself up in a blankie to stay warm), just so the dogs feel the exhilaration of the salty wind blowing through the truck, making their ears flap in the breeze, whilst we watch the pure magnificence of the Oregon Inlet. The bridge was recently awarded the American Infrastructure magazine 2020 “Bridge of the Year,”... and I can see why, it's an absolutely spectacular structure.
There is just something so completely magical about that bridge, with the Sound on one side and the sight of the mighty Atlantic Ocean on the other side. Every time I look over to the ocean, I marvel at how the fishermen manage to cross the shifting shoals, to get out to sea, which so often look tumultuous and treacherous.
Then it's onto highway 158 through Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and finally our destination Home away from Home in Kitty Hawk.
On one particular trip to " Home away from Home" (we had been on several trips by then), JB suggested that once in the store, I should remain in one place with the cart (usually piled high with lumber, doors, flooring etc.), whilst he went around the store looking for the many items on his "list". When I asked why, he admitted that this was the one store that he didn't like shopping with me in, because apparently, I asked too many questions.... questions I thought were pretty legitimate, like - What are we here for? Is it really essential? What does it even do? Is there not a cheaper one?...
Alas though, this worked in my favor 😊, as now I don't have to walk around looking at plumbing and electrical stuff and pretend to understand what their purpose is. Instead, I get my trusty notebook out and whilst I "guard" the collated building materials, I can write. Now you may be thinking that Home away from Home Depot is not the type of place you would think inspiration strikes...but I usually have had several thoughts and ideas mulling around in my head from our hour-long journey up NC 12 in the early morning and it's a great chance to note them down whilst they are still in my head.
Once we've managed to fill 2, sometimes 3 carts, it's off to the checkout for the really painful part.... paying 😲, and then back to the truck. Once we're loaded up, it's off to Lowes Home Improvement store for more construction "stuff", where I will once again play the waiting game, guarding the carts, reading, or writing, until I'm needed for those crucial decisions like, which faucet would I like in one of the 12 bathrooms (whichever one is being renovated at that time)? Which color flooring do I prefer for a bathroom? which light fixture do I want? what color paint? what finish on the doors?....and so it goes - you get the picture.
Finally, we're finished and now it's time to grab a quick snack of popcorn chicken for Bailey and Bodie, before heading back down to Hatteras. As the dogs have had a walk, eaten their KFC and had a drink of water, they are ready for a snooze in the truck, while we have some lunch at one of our fave eating places on the way home.
Meanwhile back at the Inn, bathrooms have been a major focus of JB's time and effort.... we both thought it super important that we did something with the rather run-down bathrooms in the Inn. As with many of the projects we start in the inn, they are never quite as straightforward as they may initially seem. The latest example was the bathroom in "Starboard" that we initially thought may only need sprucing up with some fresh paint and new floor covering.... how wrong we were...
On starting to lay the new floor covering, JB noticed that when he pressed down on one part of the floor it seemed to sink a little, so he started investigating further - and it led to him discovering that the wooden flooring under the cast iron bathtub was rotten!! In fact, the bathtub had been leaking (probably for years), and the underside of the cast iron was all rusted. So.....out came the cast iron bath that was beyond repair, which in turn took out the tiled walls and drywall, and shower fixture and then the floor had to be stripped back and removed until we reached strong, healthy wood. The WC, sink and vanity unit, followed, until the entire bathroom was stripped out.
So, although this was not quite what we had hoped for from a financial perspective, Starboard now has a beautiful new bathroom, which I love!! Just needs some finishing touches and it's another completed project 😊
One of the inn projects that has been a little more straight forward, was the construction of a new breakfast server, in the guest lounge/dining area. In the past, breakfast items were put out for guests on several tables.
We thought it would be a good idea to have a more permanent serving area, that would hold a microwave, large toaster oven, toaster, and coffee makers, but also have storage for dinnerware and silverware, and have a couple of fridges for milk, butter, cold drinks etc.
JB has done an awesome job of constructing the base and adding some beautiful heavy butcher block countertop. All he needs to do now is add a couple of shelves above the server and we can check another project off the list!
Now I need to go find JB and see if he needs any help - the problem with living in a 7500sqft inn with so many rooms, is that it can take a while to actually find each other. If we don't have our cell phones, it's a game of "Marco Polo"...😁
On my next blog post, hopefully I'll be able to introduce you to The Lighthouse Suite and Port and Starboard rooms that are almost completed, just awaiting the final touches of artwork and window blinds.
Until next time.... Take care, have fun, and stay safe!