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Point of No Return!

Updated: May 19, 2021

We are well on our way with the houseboat renovation. We are at the point of no return. Dave thought we would have this done in 2 months. I figured 3 just because we have to contend with weather and maneuvering items up and down the dock, plus we are living on the boat at the same time.


We have Leroy and Dixie in storage here at the marina which makes it convenient to check on them, get things we may need, run Leroy from time to time and keep the batteries charged on the RV. There are no hook-ups so the best thing to do is to put them in storage nearby (very short driving distance) at a reasonable rate. We are the only ones that have a RV on site and appreciate them letting us keep it here.


GETTING OLD SUCKS!

The older we get, the more aches and pains we feel. Dave has a lower back issue. It seems to go out about once every 2 months whether he needs it or not. He can just be putting on socks, picking up a towel or breathe just right and “pop” it goes out. Then it’s massage time, off to the Chiropractor, heat, rest, muscle relaxers, etc. About a week or so before we came home it happened again. He put on his back support and worked through it to get us back home and back on to the boat. It took 3 visits to the Chiropractor and nursing from me to get him back into shape. So that postponed the start of the demo stage.


Dave put on his back support and continued to work on the boat a little at a time as he could. After his back healed, he was on his way to full demo mode. But then, he slipped coming down the spiral staircase on the back of the boat and basically ended upside down. On his way down, he scrapped the crap out of the back of his right leg, left arm and pulled something in his left ankle. I heard the noise, ran to him and he was already up and moving. I made him come sit in his recliner and I put ice on everything…right leg, left ankle, left arm and checked him over. I made him put the recliner back and propped his leg up high with ice for a very long time.




I remember, decades ago, I used to race in down hill skiing. Yeh, I know, hard to believe. But I hit a racing pole with my shin above my boot. I hit it hard! I proceeded directly to the lodge and when I took my boot off, you could see the instant swelling and bump growing on my shin below my knee. My boyfriend (at the time), elevated it and put ice on it for what seemed like 12 hours. The next day, I woke up and it was like nothing happened…no swelling, no bruise and just a minor sore spot to the touch.

So anyways, I used the same ice treatment on Dave. It never swelled badly at all, but it was painful! Needless to say, Dave was in his recliner for several days. I wouldn’t let him get up for anything I could do for him. After a couple of days, we went to our Podiatrist and they took an x-ray. Luckily there were no broken bones, just a bad sprain and his Achilles was bruised. Luckily, I had a boot from many years ago that I kept and Dave has been able to get around well with that. It’s been 3 weeks now, but we figure it will be another 3 weeks before he can stop using the boot.


Oh BTW, the step that Dave slipped on didn’t have any carpet on it…just exposed metal. I have been asking him to get some carpet and glue it on there for about a year, “before someone slips and breaks their neck on it”. It now has carpet on it.


PREVIOUS HOUSEBOAT RENOVATION

We have owned this 30-year-old houseboat for 14 years. We did some initial renovation to it by changing the curtains, valance material and painting the cabinets to look like a rustic Florida cottage. Dave added the peninsula by flipping around a couple of cabinets to house our little beverage fridge and a tray base.

Dave used to build cabinets and owned his own kitchen and bath cabinetry company in Michigan years ago. He is a master builder and kitchen and bath remodeler. Yeh for me!


About 5 years ago, we got tired of squeezing around the king bed. The attached bathroom had a bathtub with shower. We never used the tub part, so he reconfigured the bathroom, got a 36” square shower and moved the wall to give us an extra 16 inches in the bedroom. He also closed off the hallway door to the bathroom as there was a half bath across from it which then gave us a spot for a linen closet. This way we have an ensuite bathroom. He proceeded to build a dresser between two closets and replaced the ceiling with plywood and repainted the whole thing.


WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU RENOVATE NOW?

We have been trying to decide what to do for a final destination home and were considering a port home or lot in Florida. Click on pic for video.

But the price and commitment weren’t sitting with us just right. Not yet. So, we thought, we really like Lake Lanier, GA and our houseboat, so why not just call that home like many others do. For several years, we have been talking about bringing it up to date and making the floor plan better for us with more storage and of course a lot less cost than building. So, we decided we’d do the renovation ourselves and get it done while we still can. And as time goes by, we can do something else and sell it if need be.


OH CRAP! WHAT HAVE WE GOTTEN OURSELVES INTO?

Dave has renovated multiple homes and with his experience, knowledge and skill, he can do anything; plumbing, electrical, carpentry, etc. So, this wasn’t new to Dave except it’s on a boat which is structured differently.


When Dave started the electric, he found wires running everywhere and not to code. He found wires just tied off with tape or wire nuts, no boxes.

He had to chase them down to see what they went to and found the lines were run very strangely (up, down, back and forth, instead of straight across). He also has to run new lines from above and below and all new light pucks put in in multiple areas. He is removing all the old lights and putting in 23 new lights in all new locations. He also has to take into consideration that some are 12V and some are 120V and some need dimmer switches. This is taking a very long time to complete.


While in the hull checking out the electric lines, he found the 3 fresh water aluminum tanks leaking. So, he had to get on his belly and pull them out of the hull and order new plastic ones. Marina crew brought them down to the boat for us.


So, then you start thinking, while we are at it, why not…blah, blah, blah. So, while we were doing that, we decided we may as well get two new marine toilets as the old ones sound like they are grinding up tree limbs, and well, just warn out. Another thing that bothered me was how long it takes to get hot water to the kitchen sink and dishwasher. So, we bought a 2.5 gallon hot water heater that Dave is going to hook up in the hull below the sink to get quick hot water to the kitchen.


SHOCKING NEWS!

The biggest shock was the cost of wood! ¼ inch underlayment went from $9 to $14. I'm using that to make shiplap to cover the walls.


2x4s went from $3.29 to $7.14. So, we saved what we could for shelves and cabinets to be placed elsewhere. We are reusing the kitchen cabinets and going to get new doors and drawer fronts.


We still need 7 new cabinets built…no paint, just raw sanded, no doors…just the cabinet boxes, nothing fancy but they are custom sizes so Home Depot off-the-shelf won’t work. We tried to find a cabinet maker in the area and contacted about 7 of them. Dave provided drawings for what he wanted built. Those that even bothered to respond to our request said they were booked up to October or November. We decided to have one quote it for us anyways to see what they would charge…over $7000! Can you say “Are you crazy?”. So, guess who’s going to build his own cabinets?


Dave has built cabinets from scratch for years and did a wonderful job on a lake home we had when we first moved to GA.


However, he sold most of his cabinet building equipment when we sold our sticks and bricks, so he’ll have to do it with what he has. He still has a lot of tools. Now the problem is where are you going to build them? We no longer have a garage and the house boat is too small.


We decided to get a storage unit to put our flooring, shiplap, tools, houseboat contents, etc. in while doing the renovation. Our contract says the storage units are not to be used as a workshop. However, the fine print says you must have permission. Dave asked the guy about renting another unit to use in order to build and store the cabinets (generator and shop vac will work). And said that’s OK. So Yay!


WHAT ELSE CAN GO WRONG?

Since the storm last summer tore up our front canvas, it will be replaced. But we are going from royal blue to black and will be putting screen in.

That way the front deck doesn’t get turn into a sauna over 100 degrees from the sun shining in. We are also putting a wide door on one side instead of a zippered canvas door.














Dave found rotten wood on the roof last year and repaired all that. He also found cracks in the roof and caulked them. It wasn’t pretty, but it kept us dry. Now we are starting to see fiberglass coming through, so we have hired a company to sand the whole top, repair all the cracks with new fiberglass, and put a new coat of gelcoat on it. None of this is cheap, but necessary, especially if we are going to make this our home base.


The worst thing that happened was we lost an outdrive when we hit something the last time we were home and we now have to have the boat pulled out and parts replaced and fixed. Luckily the insurance company is paying for a lot of that. We are just keeping our fingers crossed that the motor isn’t damaged.


IS IT WORTH IT?

So far, the renovation only…not the extra stuff, is up to $6000 in materials. We are hoping to get the renovation project done for around $15,000 with new furniture. Our neighbors have a much smaller houseboat and had a complete gorgeous renovation done by a company and it was over $60,000. So, we will be happy if we can keep to our budget.


We think in the long run, with everything like new, we will fall in love with our houseboat again and call it home for many more years to come. We still plan on RVing at least 6-10 months out of the year, but we will probably start to reduce that as time goes on and spend more time on the boat. When we crunch the numbers for slip fees, etc., it still is much cheaper than a new home.


Luckily, we bought a lot a few years ago during a liquidation sale and recently sold it.

It was in a subdivision and we would not be able to put the RV there, and decided we didn’t want to build a home on the lot especially since the HOA fees jumped up to $1500/year and we don’t even live there. We decided that we didn’t want that location as our final destination, so we sold it.


We don’t know where our final destination will be yet. So, we think the updating of the houseboat and storing Dixie and Leroy here at the marina is a good compromise and will be a big savings for years to come. We think we’re going to love it! P.S. You can’t beat the view!


Click on pic for latest reno video>>>


Thanks for stopping by.


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