Florida Home Goals: 4-Month Update
It’s been a little over 4 months since we moved into our new Florida home, so it’s a fitting time to take a look back at our original short-term goals list and see how we’ve progressed. Besides, what else am I going to do when my babes and I are under house arrest with the ‘Rona? Can’t go out. Can’t even go past the lanai without donning our bio-suits. Baris is still healthy, and we’re doing all we can to keep it that way before he heads back to university next week!
Here’s the original list:
Florida Home Short-Term Goals
Paint craft room walls and set up room Install smart deadbolts on all doors Pantry makeover
- Master closet makeover
- Install 3 additional electrical outlets to lanai
Fix screen on lanai
- Paint front door
- Paint outdoor lantern and run power to it
Remove columns in dining room and replace with walls New flooring Install cabinet in alcove at top of stairs
- Install smart and silent garage door openers
- Interior wall painting (in progress)
Wage war with fire ants Deploy snake shield for bukbukbuk snake-averse wife(We expanded the yard and kept the snakes)
Though we didn’t finish everything on the original list, we also added a few additional projects:
Young adult bedroom makeover (aka Young Master’s Royal Quarters) Back yard expansion Remove ridiculously big chandelier in dining room Plant banana trees, grapefruit tree, guava tree, lemon tree, orange tree, pygmy date palms, etc Side entrance refresh
- Patio expansion (in progress)
Let’s take a closer look at our progress.
Craft room makeover
This was number one on our list and our number one priority. we got it done as quick as we could, but not before my babes snuck in another “top priority” project smack dab in the middle of this craft room makeover:
Because having only one major renovation, makeover or project going on is for chicken-sniffing pansies, my babes wanted me to pull off a start-to-finish pantry reno smack dab in the middle of our craft room makeover.
I did it because I’m good like that. Look, I’m not saying I’m Superman or Aquaman or even Iron Man or Captain Florida, but it is an undisputed fact that I’ve never been seen together with any of them. Just sayin’.
Install smart deadbolts on all doors
When deciding between two options, more often than not, I’ll make the wrong choice. For example, when I sold our Georgia house, I had the choice to take the smart deadbolts off the door and replace them with cheap locksets or leave them there as part of the package. I chose to take two and swap them with cheap locks but leave the front door’s fancy Schlage Encode. Little did I know that by the time we set up in Florida, supply chain issues and god-knows-what-else depleted the nationwide inventory of Schlage Encode. Home Depot didn’t have it. Lowe’s didn’t have it. No other physical store around here had it. Amazon didn’t have it. There were a few listed on eBay selling with a $200+ premium to their retail price. Even with the two I brought, we needed 3 more to secure every door. After an exhaustive online search of every Lowe’s and Home Depot in a several hundred mile radius, we found 3 Schlage Encode locks at a Home Depot in Bainbridge, Georgia – 120 miles away. We made the trip, and it was worth it, because I can’t find them anywhere anymore (besides privately on eBay for inflated prices).
Master Closet Makeover
Soon. Real soon!
Install 3 electrical outlets in the lanai
I will get to this one at some point this fall. It should be a fairly straightforward DIY.
Fix screen on lanai
Aka, Penny’s DIY doggie door. I fixed this earlier in the summer, but I haven’t had the change to write about it yet. May come later this year or early next year.
Paint front door
We just bought a new paint sprayer, and this door will be its first project! After that, it’s going to get a great workout painting our kitchen cabinets. 🙂
Paint outdoor lantern and run power to it
This will be another late summer/fall project.
Remove columns in dining room and replace with walls
Welp, this one is hounding me. We had professional help to remove the columns and frame the walls. Then came the exciting part: brick!
But the guys provided by our contractor botched the job. They never used their laser level because it had a dead battery, and they were too lazy to call the boss for a new one. This resulted in brick lines that were off-square. Each morning, we had to tell them to remove a portion of the previous day’s work and do it over. Not only that, we had to show them how to do it! After three days of this, we had enough. They were not invited back for a fourth day. To top it off, they left a mortar-y mess each night (that I had to clean), they spilled a soda on our new LVP floor and didn’t clean it up or tell us, and they dumped grout-water onto our lawn after being instructed to dump it off the property which resulted in a huge white patch of thin concrete on the lawn that I’m still getting rid of.
So yeah, they’ve been fired since late June, and I’ve been a little bit dreading the task of finishing their colossal fluff-up.
Fortunately, my babes helped me mark the layout of brick on the main arch yesterday, Covid-be-damned! Nothing like climbing ladders with fever!
I hope to have that dining room finished before Baris heads back to school next Thursday. Actually, hope has nothing to do with it. I have to finish that room. Literally everything else depends upon it, from unpacking to cleaning to having a place to display and photograph our Halloween crafts! We’re dead in the water until I can get it sorted.
Look for a few posts about this particular adventure, starting soon!
One of the reasons we’re behind schedule (besides my lazy, half-century-old ass) is that I got myself priced into doing a lot of jobs that were earmarked for contractors when they priced themselves out. Case in point: our luxury vinyl plank flooring in the living room, dining room and front sitting room/guest bedroom. We wanted a professional to tear out the carpet and install the LVP, but their prices were so outlandish that we ended up doing it ourselves and saving thousands of dollars. Of course, the trade-off to those savings was time, but around here with a kid in college, money trumps time any day of the week!
Install cabinet in alcove at top of the stairs
Facebook Marketplace to the rescue once again! Gotta love cheap finds that work just as well or better than something pricier from a store. It was a quick project that gave us some much-needed storage space.
Install smart and silent garage door openers
Yeah, this one’s gonna need a clean garage, and we’re still a ways away from that happening. I have a lot of work ahead of me before we can tackle that particular project. I had hoped in the spring it would get done while Baris was home this summer, but as usual, I squandered the time I could have been working, and now I’m scrambling to catch up.
Interior wall painting
This is an ongoing thorn in my side made worse by the need for three coats to cover the previous green on the walls. Someday I’ll be finished. Someday I’ll look back on all this and laugh…
Wage war with fire ants
I found a company that does what no other company around here can do: completely eliminate fire ants from a property in a single day. Other companies spot-treat mounds with a chemical that may kill the ants, but more often just drives the nest elsewhere in the yard. The company I found sprays the whole yard – every square inch – with a more dilute concentration of the same chemical they sprayed on our foundation for termites. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s been 4 months, and we haven’t seen a single fire ant. When we moved in, you couldn’t take a step anywhere on the property without hitting a mound. Best money we ever spent!
Deploy snake shield for chicken wife
We’ve reached a compromise. By extending the back yard, we’ve shrunk Snakeville and moved it far away form the house. And since I’ve only seen black racers, Handan has agreed to let them live since they eat rattlesnakes. Everyone wins! Well, everyone except the pygmy rattlers. They can rot in a black racer’s belly for all my babes cares for them.
Projects not on the original list
Young adult bedroom makeover
We fit a lot of projects into Baris’s bedroom makeover, and the end result is stunning. I underestimated the time it would take to finish it, plus we tore out his carpet and installed new LVP on a whim one day. We wanted it finished for him by the time he got back from school, but it ended up taking half his time with us! But it looks so good, that all is forgiven.
Back yard expansion
It started out like this:
The grass ended less than halfway to the property line, and the back half was all brush and brambles. We hired a crew to root scrape the mess. Simple mowing wouldn’t do a damn thing, as the whole area was crisscrossed with tree roots, and the roots of every weed, vine and pricker in the Florida panhandle.
When they were finished, it looked a little something like this:
Now at this point, most would lay sod and be done with it. But after chasing down several quotes (it’s like pulling teeth to get a quote down here) and seeing all of them north of $10,000, we decided to seed it ourselves. It was hot work with rakes and a tilling machine (heroically operated by Handan), but we got it done.
They wanted $10,000. We did it for about $500.
The left portion still hasn’t filled in, as we seeded that one more than a month after the first area. By next year, I’ll have the weeds under control and a vibrant Bermudagrass back lawn. Hopefully, the aggressive Bermuda will spread and choke out the Centipede grass that’s everywhere else.
Here’s another one for the They Wanted Too Much So We Did it Ourselves file. A thousand bucks, can you believe it? We preferred the sound of no bucks and an angle grinder!
So that’s where we stand just over 4 months in. Once I kick this Covid, I’ll be full-throttle working on the dining room brick wall and finishing it before my boy heads back to school. After that, we’ll knock out those remaining entries on the original list and start in on a whole new list, all while making and sharing some awesome Fall, Halloween and Christmas crafts!
I hope the both of you feel better since! Covid needs to go bye bye
I have a friend in AL who battles Fire Ants.. Does this treatment harm plants and crops? If not can you share name of company? Thanks in advance
Thank you, Patti, we’re over the fever but stuck in the sore throat phase. But hey, at least there’s no fatigue, so we can keep working, lol! the company I used is Anderson Pest Control out of DeFuniak Springs, FL. It’s a small family business. Here’s the number: (850) 892-9998. He may be willing to give the name of the chemical he uses – I do know it is safe for grass and shrubs and even pets. If your friend is in southern AL, they may even be in his service area.
Sorry to hear you have Covid. Having just spent 6 months dealing with something like that (I thought pneumonia, my doctor thinks it may have been Covid), I’m just now semi functioning.
Was happy to see the picture of your house from the outside, but curious about a couple of things. My childhood homes (built by my dad and grandfather) were all brick, as was my first home (also built by my father). The house would get so unbearably hot that could fry eggs on the brick. The nights weren’t long enough to get the house to cool down. We also didn’t have the luxury of central air. I swore I’d never have an all brick house again. I’ve now owned 2 brick 1st floor and siding 2nd floor houses and find them equally hot, but now have central air. Our house in Florida was a light colored stucco and seemed much cooler. Anyways, I noticed on the right side there is an arch that’s all bricked up (like it was once a window). Was it or was that just a decorative detail? Just can’t believe all the progress you’ve made. Finding anyone in Florida to provide services was our biggest nightmare. We had painters that made messes everywhere and broke things, furniture deliveries that were weeks late, and window treatments that took months. Back in Western New York we’re used to being able to find competent people in a reasonable amount of time.
Hope you are both well soon and don’t have lingering effects.
Hi Patti, oh wow, I’m sorry you went through that. I wonder what it was?? As for that brick window, we don’t know what it was. We do know one of the previous owners here did extensive renovations, so maybe it was a sindow at one point. Only the walls know now, and they’re not telling! 🙂
Thank you for the update. When you see your list you realize how much you have accomplished in a short time. Take the time to take care of your selves..if you don’t the effects just linger on…. We will patiently await your next update
Thank you so much, Regina. We’ll get over it as soon as we can! 🙂
Hope its a mild case and you can kick it out in 10 days or so. although naps may be come part of your life for a few months . To help you fully recover. Your progress is amazing, beautiful, creative and a definite inspiration to those who DIY. Looking forward to you and the family being healthy as its August and that means Halloween is almost here. Your decorations and tutorials for the spooky season are always AH-maz-ing!!!!! I’m sending you all some good healthy juju!
We hope so, too, Barbara. Fever’s gone for both of us – just dealing with annoying sore throat and stuffiness. We’ll be making some Halloween crafts today!
Congratulations on all the amazing progress you have made already!!!
(I wish any of our home project would make just a quarter of that progress ;))
And feel better soon!!!
Thank you, Nicole! 🙂
Hope you both get to feeling better quickly! Can’t wait to see the dining room finished! It looks amazing already!
Thanks, Audra! 🙂
It’s amazing the amount of work you both fit into the little 24 hours we’re given each day! It’s incredible!
Thanks, Jay. Lots more to come!
It’s looking mighty fine and you’ve done a heck of a lot more in four months than we have in four years. Hope you both feel better soon, and the boy is spared.
Thank you, Hanneke! That’s all we care about right now – keeping the boy healthy for school!
So sorry to learn you’ve both got the virus. Naps have been added to our routine since we had our go with it.
Your list is looking good. You’re making progress and, of course, the list never ends. You know that, right?
The brick work will be so pretty when it’s finished. Hang in there! It’ll be one more chapter to your “Remember when. . .” book.
All the best to you three!
Thank you, Rebecca! Oh, I know all about the never-ending list, lol! I hope to get some brick work done today!
Get well soon! I love watching your home reno progress! Looks like you have another black front door. Interesting.
Thank you, Sheri! It’s actually brown, which is worse! Soon it’ll be Stardew blue! 🙂
Beautiful Florida sunset. Makes me homesick even though I’ve moved from FL almost 30 years ago. Best wishes for y’all’s health to continue to improve.
We really have the best sunsets, don’t we? I’ve never seen prettier skies than here.
So sorry to hear that you’re both down with the dreaded plague. Hubby and I are just over the main part, we test negative but we still have little offshoots of things happening. We were lucky to be able to work in our shop or craft room so we weren’t down completely but it’s definitely taken it’s toll. Good luck to you and I wish or you, a speedy recovery.
All your projects look great and I’m sorry that you have to deal with poor contractors. Get well and stay well!
Thanks, Shan. Yeah, this one lingers for sure. We don’t feel too bad though, so that’s a plus!
Wow can’t believe how much you have accomplished. Everything looks great. Hope you all feel better soon!
Thank you! A lot done, but still a lot to go! 🙂
WHEW! I was so worried with all you are accomplishing that the word “halloween” wouldn’t enter your vocabulary lol. Glad to hear projects on the way! x0x0
Oh, we wouldn’t miss it for the world, Wendy! 🙂
So sorry to read you guys caught the rona, that sucks. 😞 Soooo happy neither one of you had an adverse reaction. We hope Baris remains healthy and the two of you are back to 100% very soon.
You have done uh-may-zing work since you moved in!!! Looking forward to seeing more AFTER you get healthy. Your bodies need to recuperate right now. Your faithful readers will still be here. Take care!
Thank you, Mo. Yeah, keeping Baris healthy is priority number one right now. Once he’s back at school and we’re healthy, it’s pedal to the metal until 2023!
So sorry to hear you both got COVID, thankfully either of you got it to bad. Take your medicine and rest. P.S. I’m with Handan I hate snakes too.
Thanks, Cheryl! We be back to full strength in no time!
It’s no wonder you guys fell victim to COVID…you work so hard. I love that photo of your extended backyard and beautiful sunset. Take care of yourselves!
These FL sunsets are the absolute best, Teddee! 🙂
You all have accomplished a lot in the 4 months there. Hope you both get well soon.
Thank you so much, Madeline. We’ll be better in a flash!
1. Wishing you a super-fast, 100% recovery.
2. Sending best wishes to Baris for a successful year of University.
3. Loving all the things you’re doing to your new home.
4. Can’t wait to see the Halloween stuff you come up with.
Hi Michael, thank you for the well wishes. We’re improving day by day. Just waiting for that elusive negative test, lol! I will convey your wishes to Baris as he heads into year 2. Halloween is coming up, and we are fired up for it, especially after this ill-timed illness!
You all have done an amazing amount of work in the few months there. Incredible. It all looks wonderful. Hope you feel better before your son goes back to school.
Thank you so much, Jeannette, that is our number one goal right now!
I knew y’all have been working hard but was shocked to see that’s it only been four months! You’ve accomplished so much. So give yourselves a pat on the back – and some rest! Feel better and thanks for project recap!
Thanks, Katie! Just a short break to get well and then back full-throttle until 2023!
Praying you both feel better soon and that Baris remains Covid free!! Had covid back in December, was down for almost 2 weeks with fatigue. Slept great! Might have used it as an excuse to nap more though. HA! After those 2 weeks we went to the doctor and she gave us a shot of steroids and a Z-Pak. The same stuff she has given me for just about every illness. Within 3 days I was tearing into taking down Christmas decorations and felt pretty much like myself except for constantly needing to blow my nose. It was a relief to feel that much better! Now if I could just get my hair to stop falling out! Oh well! If I go bald at least that’s once less thing I have to worry about. 🙂
Thank you, Cynthia! Handan finally tested negative this morning, but I’m still positive. It really is a nuisance, lol! I may look into the steroid and Z-Pak shot. We need to take Baris back to university next week, and we’ll need some energy for sure!
No joke about trying to get a quote in Florida. My husband and I were ready to seal any deal, no matter the price, for a paver project but 4 companies later and no call backs and no quotes. It’s insane. If it’s any consolation, your home project struggles make for great reading! It’s very entertaining!
LOL, I’m here to entertain, Heather! And yeah, it’s a problem, especially in a small-but-booming town like Freeport. I may have to switch careers!
Prayers for you both to beat Covid and for Baris to stay clear. Our 70 yo bods got it at the end of May; I wasn’t too sick, but got stuck with the fatigue which has been worse than the short span of illness. Poor Al was hit hard and spent 7 days in ICU! Thank God the VA picked up the $27,000+ tab! I figure we are safe til the next variant comes around! Good to see your list reviewed; you really have accomplished so much already! Love your photography!
Oh, shoot! I’m so sorry you guys got wacked so hard with it. And I hear you about those ridiculous ICU bills. We went through that eye-popping trauma several years ago. Jeezum Crow – $28,000 for 2 nights! Someone is sleeping on a mattress stuffed with money!