Monday, July 29, 2013

Finishing Touches, Flowers, and Friends

Although we finished painting our beach cottage over the Fourth of July, it still had an unfinished look--kind of like it had no pants.

It needed lattice to finish it off, so our only plan for this past weekend was to cut and hang about a dozen sheets of the white plastic version of lattice (no painting needed:-). We finished that project on Saturday afternoon and then had an unexpected visit from our friends Jeb and Beth, who were on their way to Rehoboth Beach. They brought us a beautiful coral-colored echinacea--a perennial flower that comes back every year and spreads nicely.

We planted it that evening in front of the house, but it looked lonely:

So Sunday morning found us at Lowes with a cart full of plants:

including two more echinaceas like the one Jeb and Beth had brought:

We also bought six bags of mulch, and within two hours, our formerly weed-filled flower beds were filled with black-eyed Susans (they have a lot of growing to do but were a bargain at $1.99 each):


and ever-blooming hydrangeas:

When we cleaned out under the trailer a few weeks ago, we found some corroded pieces of decorative aluminum from an old screen or storm door.  I saved them because I thought they were cool, and they ended up making a perfect little border for the hydrangeas:

We'll probably thin out our day lilies at home and fill in the bed where the white chair is sitting in this picture:

We even put up a new mailbox to replace the faded black plastic one that came with the place:

We still have a huge pile of construction trash to get rid of, including some pink plastic blinds that we unearthed when we were installing the lattice:

But with our friends Martin and Jennie joining us for an indoor picnic over July 4th weekend:

and Jeb and Beth stopping by for a quick tour and flower delivery yesterday, our little place at Kitts Hummock now truly feels like a home away from home.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The 1952 Ventoura: A Model of Glamour and Quality

When we bought our beach cottage, we got both a deed for the land and a title for the mobile home.  The title listed the trailer as a 1952 Ventura, and I had hoped to find ads or pictures of other mobile homes of that vintage when I googled it.

But I got no hits.  I was disappointed but too busy cleaning up the place to dwell on my failed search.

Fast forward almost a year.

I work in PR at the University of Delaware, and we have a serious push on to use more social media in our outreach and publicity efforts.  We're already doing Facebook but would like to expand to Twitter and Pinterest.

So.... in the interest of learning more about Pinterest, I signed on and then did a search for vintage mobile homes to see how it works.  One of the photos I found was for a Ventoura 500, which isn't our model but was my wake-up call as to why my earlier Google search had failed--the name was spelled wrong on our title.....

So I googled it again and turned up the Atlas Mobile Home Museum, which featured our exact model in this ad:

We didn't know we were buying "glamour and quality in a 27-ft trailer."

However, true luxury came with the Ventoura Loft-Liner, which featured two levels, could sleep eight, and offered the storage space of 28 wardrobes.

Now that our 1952 gem is all cleaned up, it's kind if fun to know how it got its start in life 61 years ago.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Colonel Mustard in Key West with a Paintbrush

Colonel Mustard committed the crime, but he has finally left the premises.

The outside of our little beach cottage is now all decked out in her aqua and coral finery, and the hideous mustard is gone.

This is what the front of the place looked like when we bought it a year ago:

Last week, we tore down the ugly TV antenna, washed and painted the brown plastic shutters, and covered the shingles with T-111 plywood.  This is what the front looks like now:

I love this photo of the side, which shows the shadows of the reeds in the marsh:

Here's the screened porch before:

and after (I just had to buy those aqua and white chairs when I saw them on clearance at Lowes):

The shed was light yellow (they must have run out of mustard) and had a ramp that was suitable only for a mountain goat:

But the shed now has a fresh coat of coral paint and a new people-friendly ramp:

We found the perfect doormats at Target:

and bought house numbers at Lowes:

The trailer had awnings that we were going to take down and paint coral, but they turned out to be in such poor condition that we gave them to a neighbor for recycling:

So the trailer looks a little naked for now, but we have gray and white striped awnings on order for the side and end windows to dress her up:

This project was a challenge from the start.  Delaware had a record-setting amount of rain in June, and there's nothing like watching the paint you just rolled on wash away in a sudden shower.   The good news was that July brought an end to the rain, but it was replaced by a heat wave.  Painting and construction work are not fun in 90+ temperatures with the sun beating down as a bonus. 

But at noon on Saturday, July 6, I threw away my crusty paintbrushes, trashed my paint-spattered shorts and tank top, and took a much-needed shower.  Doug staggered into the house after me and almost passed out.  

But an hour later, I returned from Dairy Queen with two Strawberry Cheesequake blizzards. It was bliss to sit on the couch in the air conditioning and look out the windows at our aqua and coral gem.

Goodbye Colonel Mustard.

And good riddance.

P.S. Highlights of our indoor makeover, completed last fall, are in this post.  Final views of our screened porch are in this post.

Cost update:  We did a final tally (rough estimates) of all of our costs on the project--both indoor and outdoor.  We think we spent about $12,000 on EVERYTHING, including lumber and hardware, paint and paint supplies, electrical and plumbing supplies, furniture, kitchenware, bedding and towels, rugs and flooring, appliances, window blinds, awnings, tools, and air conditioners.  This number also includes $550 we paid a contractor to remove the horribly overgrown bushes and $650 to rent a dumpster when we first bought the place--the entire contents had to be thrown away because it was so disgusting.