Hamptons Reno Inching Forward


MEASURING OUT PROGRESS in coffee spoons here at my low-budget Hamptons reno. Can’t even call it a reno, really; it’s more a matter of making sure I don’t get electrocuted, burgled, or die for lack of water. That’s all I ask at this point: safety, not ultimate convenience, and certainly not luxury. That can wait, for years if need be.

Last week’s biggest mood boost, above: the garden seen from inside the house, without filthy old screens obscuring the view.


The builder who’s re-hanging the awning windows, above, so that they close properly, and doing the bathroom tile work, gave me two days last week. I’m holding out hope for another day this week. He also put Durock (cement board) down on the bathroom floor and started building the shower enclosure wall, below.


Notwthstanding what I said in my last post about being tired of hexagonal bathroom floor tiles, I got them again. I decided it would be more interesting, since the wall tiles for the shower area are 8″ squares.


Today the electrician, back from his vacation, showed up and gave me some good news on the electrical front: I have the “Cadillac of circuit breaker boxes,” it turns out. Also, the outdoor lights — half a dozen path lights and two in the driveway — actually work. I just need to buy new fixtures to replace old corroded ones. This is fancy; I’ve never had outdoor lighting before.

The electrician is giving me dedicated circuits in the kitchen, GFI outlets in the bathroom and kitchen, getting rid of Rube Goldberg wiring throughout, and hanging new light fixtures I now have to provide.

And in an effort to get out there and DO something while waiting for workmen to show up, I set up four raised beds in the area where once was a swimming pool. I’m making my own soil by filling them with dead oak leaves, manure, and kitchen scraps. Composting in place, as it were. It’ll take time to become a decent planting medium, but I won’t be planting my vegetable garden this year, anyway. First, a number of tall, sun-blocking trees have to come down — but meanwhile, it’s another place to put some of the leaves I’ve been raking up.


6 thoughts on “Hamptons Reno Inching Forward

  1. Cara: Happy to see another update on your renovation progress. The vision and love for your new place will take you far, so my hats off to you. I’m sure the right people will show up when you need them to make it all happen.

  2. Great progress, I love the windows :-)

    Now for us UK readers can you explain what GFI outlets are please? I have no idea and I’m curious.

    Your raised beds look lovely, they look like a nice slot together design. I built some in our veg garden a few years back using gravel boards and my wife now demands that I build some more as we have run out of space. It gets addictive this veg growing hobby. We are now planning on stealing another chunk from the lawn for more raised beds.

  3. Thanks, folks, for the cheerleading. Glad the windows are meeting with approval :-) Mud, GFI means ground fault interrupter, I think? They are used in rooms with water, i.e. bathrooms and kitchens. Prevent electrocution, don’t ya know. Yes, the raised beds require no tools, nails, screws of any kind. Just slots and pegs. I ordered them from a company in Massachusetts – it’s an old Colonial
    design. Perhaps brought over from England.

  4. Ah, thanks, I’m sure we probably have those in modern homes over here too. Ours is an old house and the radators, plumbing and electrics are simply earthed with wires to the incoming underground water supply. Not sure if that is basically the same thing.

    I think you could fit twice as many raised beds into that area if you wanted more veg production, it looks quite a large area. We’ve squeezed all our beds together, having just 24-36″ between beds but then our veg garden is quite small and we are growing enough veg for a family of four. It seems you can never have enough growing space! :-)

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