Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Room with a View

View from the bedroom

We are currently in the process of completely remodeling a condo in a marina overlooking the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, on the Florida gulf coast. Fort Myers, as you may recall from one of my previous posts (see sidebar), was the winter home of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and their homes are one of the main tourist attractions of the area. The climate is tropical and the winters are normally warm and mild. After living in the islands for ten years, you could say we’re spoiled and much prefer our winters warm now.



Our condo is located in a marina with some cute waterside restaurants that we can walk to. The marina has direct access to the Caloosahatchee River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico, making it ideal for boating and fishing. When we lived in the islands, our boat was our only mode of transportation, except for a golf cart that we used to visit our friends that lived on the cay. We referred to it as our “station wagon of the sea.” Once the remodeling is completed and our credit card returns to normal, we hope to get another run-about and keep it in the condo’s marina.


The building we are in is twenty-eight years old and our unit has never been remodeled. As you can see from the pictures, it looked pretty bad. I counted the other day that in our forty-one years of marriage, we’ve owned fifteen homes, lived in twelve of them, and remodeled ten of the twelve. With twelve remodel jobs under our belt, this hopefully will be lucky thirteen.

Kitchen before

The kitchen has been gutted, the carpet and tiles have been ripped from the floors, the bathroom vanities have been torn out, and we’re ready to start putting everything back together.

Gutted kitchen
We have spent a great deal of time with kitchen designers and decorators in the past month. New kitchen cabinets and counters are on order along with bathroom vanities and tile for the floors. Colors throughout the unit have been chosen from Martha Stewart and lighting fixtures have been purchased.


It boggles my mind to think about all of the decisions as we’ve made in the last month. The decisions regarding lighting alone can give you a headache trying to figure everything out. Fortunately, we’ve hired a great contractor to take care of most of the projects for us. Normally we would have acted as our own contractor as we’ve always done in the past. However, as you get older (horrible to admit, but true) your mind thinks you can do the same things you did just a few years ago, but your body rebels and reminds you very quickly that you can’t lug sheetrock up three flights of stairs or chip tile off of the floor anymore.

Bathroom before
The fun part of remodeling for me is feathering the nest, choosing fabrics and furniture, and color schemes. This will be a winter home for us, so our good furniture won’t be making the trip south. I’m hoping to eventually have some modern office furniture in the library where I plan to have the computer and comfortable outdoor furniture for relaxing on the lanai (elsewhere in the world known as a screened porch) watching the boats come and go. Stay tuned.

44 comments:

  1. I love this project! Great condo location - we are fans of the Gulf too... have been looking at real estate in Sanibel and Captiva... too pricey. Fort Myers is on the list. I am surprised that such heavy darkstain cabinets where used in the kitchen and bathroom being that it's a Florida location, even 27 years ago. Your choices are terrific - I look forward to the progress!

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  2. Lucky you! It looks so nice!

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  3. Nice pictures and excellent location. All the best with the remodelling project, with lot of previous experience it should be a breeze

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  4. What a beautiful challenge...wish that I was there to help...love doing remodels!!

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  5. What an adventure! Good luck with the remodelling.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  6. Wow...great project!! I've never been to the Gulf...hope to visit it once!!!Hugs and good job!!!Flavia

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  7. When my daughter was quite young we visited Thomas Edison's museum under the banyon tree and learned about his friendship with Henry Ford. This area of the world is quite the treasure.

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  8. I am with you... after living in HI, I'm not a fan of long winters anymore! I like the cold and really missed it when I lived there, but I'm more of a November-January winter girl now, not October-April :)

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  9. The view from my window is the first 3-4 inches of a huge snow barreling our way. Florida is looking better and better for a part of our future winters! How nice to start fresh with your colors and new furniture. Have fun with it all!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  10. I love Ft. Myers, Sam, and I think that is a lovely place to winter. I can't wait to see the condo when you're finished, and I really like what you've picked out in terms of colors and counters. I'm sure it will be lovely.

    I know what you mean about how it is more difficult to do things the older you get. After finishing a project (not even a remodeling project, but a cleaning one for example), I wonder why I feel like a train hit me. LOL! A while back, I was lamenting to someone how I just don't understand why I can't get anything done, and they said, do you realize what you did last year? Then they proceeded to count off a number of things I had done and forgotten to which I replied well, I used to be able to do that in a month! To which they replied, have you forgotten how OLD you are? To which I sighed because I had.

    Speaking of Florida and things going on, I have been talking to some of the girls from Florida and also some of the North Carolinians who winter here, and we might plan something again this spring. I hope you can come and join us. Will let you know the details as they come to pass.

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  11. It's the dream come true to have a summer home in the mountains and a winter home in Florida. Born in Miami and "found on a mountain in NC", I thought I would always have that and did for a number of years.

    Your photo of the Caloosahatchee River and the palmettos with the Gulf of Mexico in the background makes my heart sing.

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  12. What fun, Sam! I too, enjoy the "feathering of the nest." I had a separate dining room built last year, and the challenged I faced was when to stop "feathering!" Fortunately, now I've settled in and am just enjoying it all!

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  13. We did that once..I loved it.. it was in Venice Florida..

    We had it 10 yrs.. redid everything..great great memories..
    You are doing an amazing job..I can't wait to see it all done..I love the idea that you can walk to charming little restos..the water..everything..Thanks for this post..it's fun.
    Bravo!

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  14. What a view!!! Good luck with your project. I can't wait to see the finished product!!!

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  15. Aren't you just going to love it when it's done! Can't wait to see the after photos. I've been to Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captive several times. GORgeous. When I look at that view all I can think of is alligators. Sorry...I'm a Colorado girl. :-)

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  16. Oh, I am excited for you! It is so much fun to redo a place for yourself. Looks like a nice place to winter. Can't wait for the "after" photos.

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  17. I love renovating! I can't wait to see the finished product, I'm sure it will be gorgeous! Ft. Myers is a wonderful destination, and a place I'd like to be right now! We're bracing for a HUGE snow storm - the 1st of 2 is underway! Think "Blizzard of 78" - have a great day!

    Mary

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  18. Sam, this is such exciting news. I'm so happy for you, and I love Fort Myers. It is such a nice place to live and visit.

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  19. Wonderful views from your condo. I have spent many an hour boating on the Caloosahatchee River. Your condo is going to be lovely when you are finished and I can't wait to see the after pictures...

    Love the firecracker plant in the last photo.
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  20. It looks gorgeous! Paradise! Do you know much about Tampa/ Treasure Island? We're looking at renting a house there this summer!

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  21. Sam, this is going to be wonderful! My parents had a condo in Hilton Head in a marina and they loved being able to walk to everything.
    I did a complete redo in my condo 5 years ago. I used a contractor too. I moved out for 4 months and then had to live with painters and what not for another 3. I love it now, but it was hellish going through it!
    Can't wait to see your "after" photos!

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  22. I love your view from the bedroom. How nice....once the work is done you will enjoy a glass of wine and marvel at a job well done!

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  23. What a great location! And the view is magnificent. Good luck with the remodel - it sounds like you have plenty of experience, so hopefully it goes smoothly. I can't wait to see how it all turns out. And congratulations on 41 years of marriage, too! That's wonderful. :)

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  24. Wow, Sam, what a great view...and I look forward to the new look of the kitchen ;-)

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  25. That's definitely ~A Room with a View~ and what a beautiful location with all those foodie shops just out your front door.
    "All Things French"

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  26. 10 remodels, if your marriage survived that, I think you guys are pretty safe from here on. Our carpet is about worn out and Bev wants to switch to hardwood floors, including where the tile now is. I'm fine with the plan but dread the process. I could sip my morning coofee over that view of yours.

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  27. Beautiful sky and water. I admit to being a tad homesick for the Florida of my youth when I see them.

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  28. So exciting! We've done remodels too and while exhausting and trying...you know it's well worth the effort! And don't you just love when the place becomes YOURS before your very eyes!!

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  29. It's lovely when you can make everything just the way you want it. We lived in Ft Myers Beach in 1972. Ft Myers and Ft Myers Beach are beautiful areas.

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  30. Thanks for sharing your condo remodel project, I think you're going to love it when you've made it your own! The area looks beautiful, what a great spot to spend the Winter;-)

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  31. I want to go there, now. I had family there for 30 years and never went. I don't care if it's a mess. I'll guard it. I'm perpetually cold! When I was an actress - I moved every 6 months to two years (subletting and then finally renting) and after I moved to MN, changed apts, married and moved to Paul's home - we moved and I vowed I'd never move again. And haven't. But if it was warmer...

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  32. Living through remodeling can be a bear. I wish you all the best, Sam. Just think how fabulous it will be when it's all complete.

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  33. I wish you good luck! I know that it is very hard work to remodel.

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  34. It will be so much fun and so rewarding to see it all come together. Sam. Knowing you as I do from your blog, I know the transformation will be amazing and beautiful. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  35. So beautiful to see green grass. You have a big job ahead but so rewarding when it's all done.Fantstic photos. Enjoy watching the boats; one of my favourite things.
    Rita

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  36. Thanks for the peek. Looks like you're off to a great remodel. The location is definitely stellar!

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  37. What a great place to be and good luck with the remodel. It does sound like you've had lots of experience ;)

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  38. Sam,

    What a great area, and close to Sanibel, also!

    Good luck on your remodel. We are finally going to start our retirement home in NC! Let the fun begin!

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  39. Roughing it down there are you?

    We'll hold the fort down up here in the arctic State of Franklin :)

    Your pics make me dread redoing our kitchen this spring.

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  40. Oh my goodness the area is beautiful! Looks like a tropical paradise! How Blessed you are to have such gorgeous weather. I am new to your blog and I love it. Your recipes are awesome. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  41. It looks like it will turn out great. I lived in Marco for a year, at that time I didn't like living there. But I do love going in vacation to Florida, specially Clearwater.

    I can't wait to see the pictures of the new condo.

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  42. That will be so nice when it is all finished! Hubby has an uncle & aunt (snowbirds) down in Ft. Myers too that we see every year. You have the perfect area as the weather down there is gorgeous!

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  43. When I was young and single I needed a safe place to travel by myself for a vacation one spring. My boss had been to the Port Charlotte area for spring training the year before so he told me that area would be safe for me to go on my own. In the mornings I went to Sanibel Island then visited the Edison and Ford homes. In the afternoon I caught some baseball. One day I went north to the Ringling Bros. Estate and museum. I had a wonderful time. What a great place to live.

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  44. Fort Meyers is such a lovely place. I have been to two conferences down in the vicinty: Sandestin and Panama City. I just LOVE the emerald color of the gulf coast and that SAND! So pure and white! We own timeshares in Hilton Head, Florida and Hawaii and love, love, love to go! We remodeled our condo on the Indian River in Florida and it's been up for rent for 2 years now. This may be a sign that we're supposed to return someday since the durn thing's empty anyhow!

    I hope you post your new decor results! I always like seeing what others do!

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