Counters, Color, and Not Blowing Up An Airstream

Because of my work schedule and tendency to occasionally wander off, the Dharma remodel has been going in spurts. I may not even step foot in the door for a week and then knock a chunk out of the to-do list in an afternoon.

The weeks before Christmas I didn’t get a whole lot done because of work, but I used the arrival of my parental units for the holidays to my advantage and knocked one big thing off the list… the kitchen counter!

Kitchen Counter

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The original countertop was a lovely yellow formica. By lovely I mean kind of icky. And by yellow I mean I’m not really sure what the original color was, but I doubt it was named ’36 years of weird brown stuff’. It had to go. And since I’m pretty fond of tiling, that’s the route I chose. It’s easy, it can look more expensive than it is, and the cool glass mosaic I picked feels very gypsy caravan to me.

IMG_20141226_150118_363Since you need a sturdy base for the tile (and to hold up the stove, sink, and most importantly, coffee pot) I lured my Dad into going to Home Depot with me to pick up some plywood, and then somehow further convinced him to help me cut it out using the original top as a template. It didn’t actually take a lot of persuading… in part because he was excited to help work on Dharma, and in part because he wanted to take me around the basement and show me all the circular saws and various other tools I had overlooked. I think the I-told-you-so tour took longer than the actual countertop. (Love you sir!)

IMG_20141226_155123_582Anyway, with the top cut out it was just an issue of finding all the screw holes and brackets that held the thing on to begin with, and then a short series of contortions to tighten the new plywood down. It looked better already. Clean plywood trumps dirty formica every day of the week.

The single handle faucet I chose made cutting the hole for that pretty simple. The proximity to the expensive three decade old window made it slightly more complicated. But it worked out with no damage or smushed fingers, and surprisingly little cussing. Voila! Functional countertop, ready for tile.

IMG_20150104_103921_451The plan was to finish cleaning and painting the walls before I tiled the countertop. But I got excited and knocked it out today instead. I fastened the stove back in and used Liquid Nails to put down the 1″ glass mosaic. I have pre-mixed grout and edge trim to finish it off when everything’s dry. That will be a week or two though, because I had to order one more piece of tile to finish the job… who the hell measured that anyway?

I love how it turned out and how the little mirrored tiles sparkle when you walk by. I can only imagine how cool it will look in the summer with the sun coming through my curtains! Also, I can see it through the window when I stand on the front porch now, and I may occasionally just stare at it and giggle. Or I may not. You’ll never know.

Stove and Gas Lines

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I had two gas lines in the kitchen that weren’t going to be used… one where I took the furnace out, and the other where I’m using an electric-only fridge instead of a gas/electric model. I also had to get the stove hooked back up, and have all the lines and the hot water heater looked at. My plan was to either figure out how to do that stuff myself, or ask some talented friends to help.

In a fortunate coincidence though, the gas company needed to come look at the gas logs in the house, and it turns out they will examine your Airstream for you if you ask nicely! This seemed like a much better plan, considering when you have no sense of smell the odds of you blowing something up due to a propane leak go up exponentially.

The nice gas company fellow capped both lines, hooked the stove line back up, checked the hot water heater, and tested all the connections for leaks. He was even able to light one of the stove burners, which was one of the most exciting things I’d seen all week. I have fire! I can cook things in my tiny house!

We weren’t able to get the hot water heater pilot to light, but he felt sure it was just because I was almost out of propane. So I’ll get the tanks filled and try again. I also have to get a new tank-switcher-thingie because a spring popped out of mine. I’m pretty sure that’s not the technical term… but I’ll figure that out later. The important takeaway here – I have fire!

A Little Color

graywallsOne thing I did manage to do before Christmas was throw some paint up on the walls. I didn’t get much done, just enough to see how it would look and what the coverage is like. The blue/gray is called Atlantic Shoreline and I love it! I painted this whole wall with a brush and it only just barely needs a second coat. Vinyl apparently covers really well.

yellowwallsThe yellow is Moondance Yellow, and I like it a lot, but I was hoping it would be a bit more… yellow. Maybe when it’s up on a big wall instead of the small area over the dresser. Regardless, it still looks better than the dingy pattern that was there.

I also got all the inside window trim painted white. I should have used something with more gloss to it, but I can always go back over those later if I don’t love it.

I tried the Atlantic Shoreline on the nose cap, and it covers really well but will scratch off. So I’m going to find some Krylon Fusion brush-on for that. It will probably end up an off-white color since I won’t be able to find the yellow or gray in an exact match.

There’s a ton left to do, but the list of things that have to be done before I can start calling it home is getting shorter and shorter!

Hindsight Is 20/20

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2014 was a strange year.

At the very least, I probably won’t ever forget it. It was a year of affairs, separations, divorces. Of losing stability. Of packing my belongings in the trunk of a Toyota Corolla and driving away. Of being scared. Of sleeping on couches. Of knock out blows and bad news. Of mattress nachos. Of late nights and long days. Of starting over.

If that’s how I choose to remember it. Which I don’t. Because what’s the point in that.

It was also the year of reconnecting with friends and family. Of learning I can be a badass. Of realizing that sometimes the things you think are good for you are really holding you back. Of growing my business. Of clarity. Of realizing dreams. Of taking charge of my own life. Of being authentic. Of finding Dharma. Of being scared and doing it anyway. Of finding stability. Of growing myself. Of learning to lean on people even when I hate it. Of being happy, really damn happy, all by myself. Of starting over.

I realize now it all had to happen. Sometimes even good things have to go away to make room for new, better things. That doesn’t mean that the old way was wrong or a mistake, it just means it was only a chapter, not the whole book. I’m finished with that chapter. I’ll always remember it, but I won’t be reading it again. It’s time to move on. Life’s both too short and too long to dwell in the past, and this is a whole new year.

So here’s to moving on. To a fresh slate. To making room for better things.

Happy New Year everybody! Welcome to 2015. :)

Airstreams And Kayaks And Solo Trips… Oh My.

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Fifteen Hour Days and Dharma Lights

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Screws and Rivets and Cussing, Oh My

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I have good news for anyone sleeping in an Airstream bed… or at least a center double bed in a 1978 Argosy. You are safe. Your bed will not collapse, and there is no possible way that funny looking wall light over your head is going to fall on … [Continue reading]

Stress Relief and Carpet Removal

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The Dharma Tour: Before

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No good remodel would be complete without before pictures, and luckily this time I remembered to take some before tearing anything up! So here's Dharma, in all her natural beauty except for the new carpet and upholstery the previous owners added… and … [Continue reading]

Bringing Dharma Home – Part Deux

Note the lovely palm tree border… it's gotta go.

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Bringing Dharma Home – Part One

Dharma waiting at the truckstop for the next leg of her journey

I've been holding out on you guys. When last we met I was hunting for a shiny little tin can to call my own… that was seventeen days ago, and Sunday morning I set Dharma's jack down in the driveway. Now, in all fairness I was searching for a … [Continue reading]

Cunning Plans and Finding Dharma

In the words of my Dad, I have a cunning plan. A slightly off-kilter, incredibly awesome, if-you-know-me-at-all-you'll-understand cunning plan. You see, the recent detour in my life has brought a lot of bad, but it's also opened up a lot of … [Continue reading]