Friday, April 5, 2013

Protecting our ASSets!

The first house Ken built, and it was for us!  More pics below.

Whew, what a busy two weeks ... or should I say months!  Since our last post about seeing Eric Clapton, Ken and I have been busy fixing up our rental for occupancy on April 1st.   This is the house that we briefly tried to sell, but reluctantly concluded that we needed to rent it again because we couldn't afford paying two mortgages.  We've already paid the mortgage for two months, plus spent more than we budgeted on getting the house back in shape.

This house isn't just an investment for us, it's a place that was our home for 11 years and that held a lot of dreams for us.  We designed the house ourselves and we spent countless hours building it ourselves over 4 months.  Back then, I worked full-time as a secretary and would join Ken in the evenings after work.  I was so tired at the end, and had lost about 8 lbs. during that time.  About 3 weeks before we were supposed to be finished, Ken stepped on a nail and was on crutches for a couple of weeks.  This house was a "labor of love" with a lot of blood, sweat and a few tears.  This house was going to be the place we lived "forever".  However, we've never closed the door on opportunities and we later decided to buy another waterfront home that needed renovation.  Our home became a rental property, and recently (when we got the cruising bug) has become part of retirement/cruising dream.

After renting the house for about 5 years now, it was starting to show the effects of age and tenants who didn't care for the house like we do.   So, Ken and I decided to use what little funds we had to get the house back in shape instead of just paying the mortgage.  We've spent many days and weekends over the past two months (with one day for Mardi Gras and a quick trip to Vegas squeezed in) working on this house.  I cleaned the house (cabinets, appliances, floors, bathrooms, fixtures), weeded the garden beds, trimmed the shrubs, and emptied then cleaned the swimming pool.  Ken (and 2 helpers) made sheetrock repairs, painted every inch of the interior (trim, doors, walls), replaced some damaged wood flooring, cleaned the carpets, pressure washed the house, built new top deck in place of the old, built new staircases, stained the lower deck, cleaned the gutters, and made some plumbing repairs.  Are you tired yet?

On Easter Sunday we went to the house one last time to finish up a few last things.  No bunnies or peeps this year!  After all the hard work we've put into the house, it was good to look around and see it looking so good again.

We got the built-in wall idea from looking at houses in Florida, and we saved money by not adding wood where the carpet goes.

Breakfast nook on the left, dining room on the right by the front door

Lots of windows were a must!

New upper deck and stairs

Clean pool and stained deck .. notice that real clam shell my uncle gave me.  It weighs a ton!

I landscaped everything by myself, front and back.  It's really pretty in the summer when flowers are blooming.  Oh, and those columns aren't bent .. just the photo.

The two pictures below are from when we lived there.  Can you tell I've always liked the tropical feel?

Ken did a pretty good job building his first house wouldn't you say?!  We saved a ton of money by building most of the house ourselves.  I am truly lucky to have such a talented husband.  Without him, this house and its recent renovations wouldn't have been possible.

Now, the house is rented and better weather is around the corner!  We're looking forward to cleaning again soon ... perhaps our own house because we sold it?!  We're also looking forward to cleaning our sailboat and spending some time sailing on the water.  If you've wondered why our sailing blog hasn't been about sailing lately ... well, we've been just a little busy lately!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Emily said...

The house looks great -- I love the modern, open design! And it does look SUPER clean. I would never be able to keep that white carpet looking good! Hope your new renters will prove to be responsible and take great care of the place. And I hope your "other" house will sell SOON! Good job, guys!

Sandee said...

What a lovely rental it is too. I could live there no problem. You sure fixed it up to look like new. Awesome.

Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

Latitude 43 said...

Wow. You guys did a great job on that house. Looks awesome. Man, I could really stand to lose 8 pounds right now. Let me know when you want to clean the other one :)

Hope the homestead sells soon, and you get your ASSets out there.


Laura and Hans said...

What a beautiful home, I can't believe renters would have the nerve to trash it! Hans and I rented for a few years in a very depressed area and we would have loved your house (actually we may not have wanted to leave). You guys have worked so hard, I sincerely hope things finally fall in place for you.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks ya'll! We still love this house. Laura, we think and hope that our new tenants will be as conscientious as you.

Unfortunately, I didn't lose a pound this time around! I don't know why, cause I sure felt like I was working hard. said...

And they say boats are a lot of work. I got tired just reading that list. But that's a lovely house, and I love the tropical look, too.

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