So it has been about 6 months and a lot has been done at the PS mess. The mold, termites are gone. We removed all of the old windows and replaced them with Millgard aluminum thermal break windows and sliders. We opened the walls in the bedrooms and installed sliders out to the pool. The master bath received a door out to the pool. The plumbing was reworked and electric in the master bath and throughout the house….then I called the drywall guys to come and fix the mess I made! It took them a week to do the drywall but it was sooooo worth it. We removed our old 1950’s metal cabinets (super gross) to take to the powder coaters, picked out the right white, and made sure the appliances we bought matched. We were going to buy old appliances from the 50’s but we decided to go with new appliances that looked old due to the ability to accurately match the whites and the high cost of potential repairs. In the end we went with Big Chill appliances. We removed the wall between the living room and the kitchen. Neither one of us really liked how cramped it felt especially since it is a galley kitchen, it felt like a cocoon. I decided to go with wood counters to soften the space considering this was going to be a white kitchen and a concrete kitchen floor…we needed some warmth. Besides I loved they way it looked in this pic I found on Pinterest. So we went with walnut. I love the contrast of the dark wood with the white…. It has been fun but hard especially on the pups. But they seem to adjust fairly well as long as they have their beds and their mommies. At times I was pretty desperate while working on the kitchen…a tofu dog, caulk gun, fork, some tape and fire was good enough for a meal 🙂 Breakfast was frequently chocolate and a decaf Starbucks. Yup… No matter what the day brings…there is always a chance to relax and enjoy this beautiful life 🙂 The kitchen is still a work in progress….we just got our Big Chill range in the other week after waiting 3 months for its delivery along with the hood for the range. Since I have shifted gears and started working up the hill in Joshua Tree, the house will get done, but when who knows 🙂
Now that the mold and termite issues are resolved, we are finally moving on with the inside of the Palm Springs house. It has been a 6 month long pause and we are absolutely done with camping in our inside-out house. When we first found out about the mold and termites we thought we would temporarily rent a place – but who rents to 2 people with 3 dogs for only 3 months (at least we thought it would be). Then we thought about buying a trailer in Horizon Park near Araby Trail. We didn’t want to get strapped with the $600 a month rent fee after we were done using the trailer so we scratched that idea. Instead of a trailer, we adopted a vintage 1967 Airstream Globetrotter to live in our drive temporarily and then once done living in it, use it as a vacation rental. Since I didn’t have the time to get it in live-in condition, we took it too Wagner RV out of Indio & Morongo Valley. BAD IDEA. They had it from August to January. A very negative experience and I will avoid writing about it other than saying it was the worst experience with a business. We never even got a chance to live in the Airstream. We stayed in the house confined to the guest room and the guest bath with the toilet, shower, using the shower to brush our teeth and wash our faces since there wasn’t/ isn’t a sink… Since the termite and mold discovery, I have spent most of my time working on the front and the back yard. I removed a ridiculous amount of sand probably at least 20 tons just to get things somewhat level for the low desert rock. At some point we will add in more edibles other than fruit trees and cacti. The pool equipment wall was an odd structure behind the pool so we used it as the beginning point for the shed. Thankfully, Lowes does not throw out their not-so-perfect wood. It takes a little longer to work with warped wood but worth the 50% off savings. The door is a craigslist find from a mid century remodel and it even came painted a perfect turquoise. I would be happy living in the shed…it is the perfect size for me. K and I keep saying the PS house is way too big for us (1,200 sqft) we are happy with about 400 – 600 sqft. Summer, fall, and winter flew by…well I guess it is still winter but it is unbelievable how fast this year went by. We had a lot of challenges with the PS house but some great things happened during the year including buying the little blue homestead cabin across from our other homesteader in Joshua Tree. I remember working on our cabin and looking out at the homesteader thinking I am buying that one day. Mainly because it was a complete shit hole (still is) and I wanted to fix up the lil 280 sqft blue square of cuteness. I am thouroghly obsessed with putting life back into the old homesteaders. As fate would have it, we ended up just putting in an offer on property on the other side of our homestead cabin. The house burnt down a few months ago and I have always loved the land which backs up to the mountain, so now no-one can destroy the mountain view with a bunch of desert trash. The bonus feature is the garage survived the fire and the water meter is paid, septic still exists but the electric was cut due to the house fire.
The pool is complete, ficus are planted along the fence line for future privacy.
We had to cover our sandy backyard with something otherwise it would ruin the pool equipment. Ultimately we went with grass in the backyard. I started putting rock down and experienced a fowl odor on warm days and realized rock probably wasn’t the best idea with dogs. Before laying the rock, I put black 6 mil plastic to keep Bermuda grass and other weeds from growing up between the rock. It took a few days but I finally woke up from my work induced go-mode when it hit me that dog urine sits on the top of plastic and cooks in the desert sun. Not the most pleasant odor. I thought I better remove the rock I already laid and find a better solution. In total we planted about 350 square ft of grass. Not horrible, but not the best. But when you have dogs and a pool in the same location, it seems like the best solution, at least to us. With grass, came the addition of an irrigation system.
We went with Mexican black river rock between the sidewalk and started to build a shed. Rather than having an odd block wall in the middle of the backyard, we utilized the pool equipment wall as a starting place for the shed. It should tie together nicely. Our outdoor shower will be mounted on the outside of the wall and the giant Birds of Paridise and mexican palms I planted will give some additional privacy when showering.
I thought it was time to update a little, and I mean a little. The roof is slowly being put on. Since the metal roofing is so awkward in size K helps me on the weekends.
The electric company came out and wrote up a design to run the power to the cabin. It will be $268.00 to have it run underground or $1700 overhead. Here is a good example why you should not listen to what other people tell you. Over and over I was told, “overhead is always cheaper.”
Meanwhile, I have been occupied with a new addition to the family and her name is Oola. K has never had a puppy so little ms Oola is her little baby. However, it seems as though I have picked up a another job as her nanny. She is named after “Oola the Owl who Lost Her Hoot.” Oola is a little owl in a childrens book who went out at night and hooted so much the next day couldn’t find her hoot. So she took off to find it. It seemed fitting for our new little puppy who resembles an owl. Not to mention the name Oola is fun to say. Oola la la!
It is Oola’s unfortunate fortune, and ours, she has parvo. The day after we adopted her we noticed she was having excessive amounts of fluid coming from anywhere it could possibly come from. That evening we came home from the vet and had to throw out all of her new toys and her bed we just bought her. Having two other dogs at home, we have to worry about them and the possibly of transmitting the deadly doggy flu. It’s not comforting when the vet tells you the dog has a 50/50 chance to live and that is suppose to be encouraging. So we spent about 2 hours cleaning and bleaching just about anything we could think of Oola, K and myself might have walked on or touched with the chance we were spreading it.
Regardless of anything the day or months bring, the sunsets and sunrises are my favorite time of day here in Joshua Tree, and you can always see them.
I decided to put in a key code lock on the door. I LOVE IT! It is soooo perrrfect. I don’t have to worry about pulling out my keys and fussing around. A light turns on the keypad once you push any button, so at night there is no issue. We got the idea from an amazing house we rented in Abiquiu, NM from http://www.vrbo.com. We thought it was the greatest idea for a vacation rental. No worrying about finding the key under the mat or the rock to the left of the can under the 3rd step.
Since we decided to keep the original color of the salmon block cabin you see spotted across Joshua Tree, we felt color was a must somewhere on the house. The only remaining door, which was eaten by termites, had remnants of teal under the scraped paint. So it was an easy choice what the color would add to the cabin. The front door was a teal once before and now once again. It is an Egypian ancient belief that teal wards of off evil. Native Americans associate the color to fertility, water, and the endless sky. Besides all that, teal just makes me happy. Right now I am wearing a teal sweatshirt, teal headband, turquoise earings, and porcupine quills with turquoise beads! OH how I love teal.
Today I had a nice visit from a tarantula. It was randomly walking next to a piece of plywood. This was the second one I have come across while living in JT. I’m just glad it was only a tarantula. I find them kind of cute because they are fuzzy. Since reading their bite is equal to a bee sting, I am less fearful of them. I feel sorry for them in a way because they live as recluses. I wonder if they ever get lonely for other tarantulas?
Today we put in all of the windows!! It only took us about 4 hours and it was so easy. All it took was some muscle and some screws. It is amazing what a few windows to can to a place! No more boards. The cabin is really starting to look like a habitable home.
I love the road we have to take to get to our cabin. It is down a dirt road with a few gradual hills and each time you make it over the top of one you expect to see something but it is just more sand, rocks, Joshua Trees, and sky.
To my surprise when I pulled up to the cabin at 8:45 this morning, the carpenter Brian and his helper were at the cabin. They started at 7:30 AM and already did so much.
The roof was prepped and ready for the main beam to be removed. The rafters were propped up with 2×4’s to support the weight of the roof. Then the rafters were cut and disconnected from the original support which was then removed completely. The only thing left holding up the roof at that point was the 2×4’s. The crane showed up around 12:30 to lift the 25′ x 16.5 main beam in place. Lastly, they attached the rafters to it. It was a lot of heavy work I would not have been able to do myself and I’m glad we paid someone to do it!
During the process, it made me realize how much light we are not getting in the cabin. We don’t have any south facing windows, so it is fairly dark inside. We are considering the possibility of a skylight.
I installed the front door “sunrise patio,” otherwise known as the midget door (Home Depots -2″ width mess up). Possibly the carpenter comes tomorrow to do the main support. I didn’t hear from him to confirm, but the wood showed up for the job. The delivery driver told me about his grandfather homesteading up in Pioneertown back in the 40’s. He said when you wanted a parcel of land for free to homestead on, you had to pick out a few plots, submit them to the county and the county decided which one you get and the new owner had to pay the Processing fee. Back then it was $90.00, which still was a lot of money. Luckily, his grandfather got his first pick and built his cabin out of reclaimed barn wood he got for free for tearing down an old barn.
After all of the debating back and forth whether or not we should get the county involved, we did.
It is unbelievable how many people told us not to get a permit or to deal with the county. One guy told us, “they are like the police, once they get into your house it’s all over.” My favorite was, “that is why the county is called San BernardiNOo.” In the end, I went my gut, and I’m glad I did.
The county bases the cost of a rehab permit off of the square footage of the house and a percentage rate. My cabin is 25’x20 and it cost about $320 for the rehab permit.
Today I removed some of the window boards in preparation for window installation. After pulling off the plywood on the north facing side, it was like a completely different space with the views. I realized I wanted my kitchen below the large window facing north. I am hoping the plumber doesn’t say it will be too much work or money.
We ordered windows and doors from Home Depot and it has been nothing but a hassle. I won’t go into great detail with all of the mishaps but I will mention how messed up the “special ordered” doors were. So messed up we ended up returning them. Two days after returning the doors, it just so happened to be the “Managers blow out Special Sale.” And guess what doors we ended up buying back for a ridiculously cheap price! They were worth it this time around.
Today I installed the door facing the sunset patio. It feels very monumental being that it is the first real structural work done to the place besides the beginning of the roof.
I met with Brian Rush today from Rush Construction. We are going to have him put in a new beam that spans the full length of the cabin and put in some 2×6’s between the existing rafters. We knew something had to be done, and really this is the main reason why I wanted to have the inspector come in the first place. I didn’t want to be sitting around drinking a cup of tea in the morning with K and then all of the sudden a random earthquake shakes the roof loose onto us. It isn’t going to be cheap but then again neither was rent in NYC.