I had to laugh when I went back to this post draft, originally labeled Winter Projects. How quickly time passes when we aren’t paying attention!  Spring came and went and we are now pushing into the end of June…the summer month….but at least we are pushing forward.

When we relocated to our little paradise on the east coast four years ago, we lucked into this mostly perfect (for us) little space, RED by the Sea, as of this writing, an almost 100 year old abode  fairly recently renovated with wiring and plumbing and structurally sound.  We had to do next to nothing when we moved in except maybe refresh with a coat of paint. (OUR FIRST RENO) (CROW’S NEST )

This winter, the plan was to finally get doors made for our two bedroom closets.  Up to now there were tension polls and window curtains to close the space.  They served their purpose, but it was time.  The problem with old homes is that nothing is square and each of the two openings had different measurements so they required custom build.

The Door

Another challenge was the configuration of furniture in the guest room.  We had purchased a bed that nicely transformed from single to king sized as needed for visitors so that when the bed was at its maximum there was no way any standard door would open, custom or not.  I found a reasonable compromise with an accordion style….not the prettiest but it sure beats those old curtains inherited from the previous owner.

The Compromise

The other project was to do a bit of a facelift to the basement bathroom.  It’s functional but has no character…and after all of this time, do I ever need a decorating project!

The laundry space just outside that bathroom is small but again, functional….barely.  The side by side washer dryer takes up so much precious space that I thought, why not stack those babies.  The machines were at least five years old when we moved, also Sears models, but with a bit of internet search I found out which company made those particular models and located a stacking kit to fit.

So now we have stacked machines and a laundry tub to make washing up so much easier.  Also F’s bathroom have been refreshed with a coat of paint and some new furnishing.  He chose a fresh sunny colour and a nautical theme with some fun kitschy accessories.


Zula, the Road Warrior update: our now six month old kitten loves the outdoors, harness and leash, backpack and sling, car rides and walks to the beach, welcoming visitors and as of this writing is moderately comfortable placing her two front paws into the water. She is the proud owner of a life vest but it still remains to be seen that she will wear it for water excursions. We try to make her a part of daily activities as much as we can.

Grocery pick up

First car wash

First Camping Trip

She loves intently watching F at his renovation projects.  In the galley she is much less likely to ‘watch’ and has become more ‘paws on’ in her approach. The first time she found the nerve to mount the counter top, I was preparing a grilling supper enclosed in  foil packets. On first leap her paws grabbed each piece of foil as our whole dinner dropped to the floor. I emitted several very salty words, cleaned up the mess, and laughed.  Was the first but no doubt will not be the last…and who could stay mad at that beautiful little innocent face?

Miss innocent

For the Battle of the Atlantic ceremony this year we were able to have a full parade.  My son Luke gladly agreed to participate and marched with pride with the rest of the Legion veterans.

Battle of the Atlantic Parade

We recently attended the Bluenose marathon. Two grandkids, aged 7 and 5 both ran it this year in the 2km and 1km respectively.


My daughter works as Marketing and Communications Director for Brigadoon Village, an organization that provides camping experience for kids with health challenges.  Several months ago we attended a fund raiser.

My Girl

The aim was to raise 12.5 million to complete an expansion project.  Having met their goal, they held a grand reopening to mark the success…

Grand reopening

Adding a bit of culture to our country existence we attended a very interesting exhibit highlighting the life and works of Van Gogh…

Van Gogh

Van Gogh

Another proud grand parent moment was watching my grand-son live on TSN, chosen from high school players from across the country (the only one chosen from New Brunswick/and one of three from Atlantic Canada), for a CFC Prospects match…


Our gardens are flourishing and a duck couple blessed us with ten babies, seen below in front of Duck Pond island…

New residents

And finally for all of you RED fans.  We are still in touch with her current family who continue to send us news from the Yukon.  As much as we miss her, we can’t be more happy for her to have the life she  was meant to lead…

Northern RED

I’ll leave you now as we make preparations to jump into our summer months full tilt.  It’s looking like a busy one for the crew of RED II at RED by the Sea. Camping trips.  Guests from away. And the times in between filled with the  day to day…

…peace and love…



When we moved into R.E.D. by the Sea a little over a year ago, we felt she was perfect just as she was.  The previous owner had presented the space is such a charming manner …painted white throughout…allowing her things to speak.  We fell in love with the simplicity.  

The home inspection confirmed a solid envelope.  Little things needed correcting he said but these we could easily do ourselves.  

Energy tests showed that we were a few points more efficient than a new build…surprising for our eighty-eight year-old gal.

The roof we knew would have to be replaced in a few years but being a vital part of a secure envelope and with the couple of nor’easters we had last year, we decided not to wait, so a new metal roof is in place that will last well beyond our life-time. There have been other smaller improvements…water treatment system, storm doors (more nor’easter lessons) and a heat pump which we love!

With R.E.D. securely resting in her new driveway spot for the winter, it was time to work on the Crow’s Nest.  

Look at that perfectly cured concrete pad just begging for the rest of the ‘he-she-storage-greenhouse-shed’.


….there’s always a but…

So here’s the story.  One day after using the bath we noticed bubbling of the ceiling downstairs in the kitchen.  Not a good sign and to add a little stress, it was just before guests from away were to arrive!  So, fast forwarding to present time, it turned out there was a small leak in the bath’s hot and cold water lines.  

There were plans to make minor changes to the main bathroom anyway ….the toilet was old….and I had a few ideas decor-wise…you know, nothing major.  It was quite lovely as it was with that old country home kind of charm all of which I wanted to retain.  Just add a little something more to make it ours.

If we were going to have the leak fixed, why not change the toilet at the same time.  And if we were going to change the toilet, why not change the flooring.  Well then, if we were going to change the flooring then I’m sticking my design foot in the door and adding my ideas to the reno pot.  You can see where this is going can’t you?  And since Francois is Mr. Builder in this home and since he can’t be in two places at once, the decision was made to concentrate on the bathroom and leave the Crow’s Nest build until spring. (Squeee!!!…Kat’s project is officially in motion!)

As I mentioned, there was nothing at all wrong with the bathroom design-wise. The fixtures kept with the loveliness of days gone by. 

I love the claw foot tub with the chrome feet, and chrome and porcelain faucet/shower combination.

The console sink is a beauty too…maybe not the most practical but really pretty.  The previous owner had such good taste.  

So that’s your tour of what was.  Small….barely 8’ by 7’….and with the sloping gabled roof, it left precious little space for storage.  We try to be minimal with our possessions but even minimalists have needs for the basic conveniences. 

As with any reno project I’ve done, it’s fun to create a mood board which helps to bring concept ideas together while still allowing for flexability during the process.  It’s a guide that also helps with budgeting.  I was given a general dollar range and was determined to come within it.

On to demolition day…

With the tub, sink and toilet extracted and resting happily outside in our yard (what will the neighbours think?), Francois started removing the vinyl floor tiles.  Forty-five minutes later, this was his progress…one tile.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, the plumber was due in four days to install the toilet because we had another guest-visit for the weekend the following day and we needed to have at least the toilet part of the flooring done by then.

I called a friend who is a tile expert for some help and he gave us really good, time-saving advice.  Leave the floor ‘as is’ and screw  quarter-inch plywood on top for a solid substrate.  Easy fix!  Thanks so much Travis!

Nothing in an old house is square so trying to make everything level is tricky. The fun part (sarcasm) will be to make it appear straight.  I have confidence in you Francois. 

Thankfully the weather has been typical-east-coast-mild so working outdoors has been possible.  Dancing between bouts of rain was tricky but all the cutting is now complete.

I’ve finished the tub painting…three coats of mat black was more than enough and it rested happily upside down in the middle of our living room waiting to be installed….the only logical place, don’t you think?  

There’s not much a little elbow grease and baking soda can’t clean.  Just look at all of that sparkling shiny chrome,  good as new!  When the plumber dropped by to check on our progress he asked if we had bought new fittings.  Insert proud Kat moment here.

Back to the flooring story….yet another addition to ‘if we change the floor, we might as well… So the small baseboard radiator was removed and floor coils with thermostat installed for radiant heating.  Another simple fix.

Wainscotting was installed to add some texture so now to get on with flooring. If time allowed it would be preferrable to finish the tiling and grouting, then replace the baseboard, then paint, but plumber day was fast approaching and we needed that toilet installed (at the very least) before the weekend guest arrived so just the toilet space was grouted for now.

In the meantime my part of the project was on hold.  With such a small space in which to work, if the two of us were in there together, probably only one of us would come out alive…so I handed things, unpacked things, made countless trips to the hardware store for supplies, shopped for accessories and, the hardest part for me otherwise was to stay out of the way.  Oh, and I assembled the new vanity.  Let’s hear it for more storage!

Dan the Plumber did such a good job!  Just showing up gave him a five star rating in my books and he more than exceded our expectations.  Great communicator, great service, creative and really nice all in one package.

Now on to more flooring.

I found the perfect tiles for this space a couple of months ago but when we decided to purchase, there was a lady who was there ahead of us buying up what we thought was the last in stock.  The tile guy told us to wait and he would see if he could get us more.  Thankfully he did and we cleaned the store out of all they had hoping it would be enough.  Imagine  that wee moment of panic when the flooring was almost finished and we realized we were two square feet short.  So I quickly went online and found two more.  Whew! Disaster averted!

Welcome to our new favourite room…

Many years ago, Francois asked me to put together a concept for our condo bathroom…a spa experience, like a boutique hotel he said.  In spite of its small size it turned out to be a little haven with deep soaking tub, rain shower, white fluffy bath towels hanging on their heated towel rail.

I get that bathrooms are mainly functional beings but it elevates these simple rooms to another level when you add a little extra imagination so that when you open the door you feel ‘ahh’.  This one at our little home by the sea makes me feel that way.  The site line from our bedroom makes me smile…  

The curtains make me smile. The ideal complement.  Just enough.  Not too frilly.  Like a bow on a present they serve no real purpose. Just enough for a little bit of ‘pretty’…

The indulgent porcelain ‘cat’ toilet brush makes me smile. I mean, why would’t it?…

The minimal with a blend of the new……and the old…the just enough space for essentials..

…the local art with a little seaside charm thrown into the mix. It all makes me smile.

And when I fill up that pretty bathtub with lavender bubbles, put on some of my favourite tunes, pour a frosty martini and step in, I smile.  This little, rather ordinary bathroom is no longer just functional.  It has become a retreat.

And as with any of our renovation projects…condo…even on the boat…we add a little something of ourselves, a symbol of successful team work and love, hidden for any future owners to find.  So before closing the wall, Francois left his mark.

There you have it.  One project completed.    When you think of it, this had all the elements of building a house…flooring, drywalling, electrical, plumbing, decorating…of course on a small scale…but still.  We planned it so that we would still be happy with the look several years down the road…maybe forever. And on final calculations I was way under budget.  

This project has wakened the design demon in me but the focus has to be on the Crow’s Nest for now….although it doesn’t mean I can’t dream and research and plan does it?  I have one major project in the concept stage that spans both boat stuff, creating, designing and lots of things I love…


…no spoiler alert from this Galley Kat….


Thanks for dropping by.  You can always count on us to have something new coming down the road.

For those reading this in a language other than English, please forgive the automatic translation.



Several years ago we bought our dream place.  Top floor, amazing view.  We could just lock the door and travel.  The perfect retirement plan.  It was a condo in a 1980’s building so there were upgrades needed and wanted.  First came replacing all the windows and patio doors.  You know that stuff that requires a fairly large financial outlay.  The stuff that no one notices has been changed but we started there.  In the end we have noticed a reduction of our heating costs each year so I can say now it was well worth it but at the time I would have voted for starting with making our home pretty instead.

Next came little renos room by room. Some rooms more extensive than others. Flooring replaced.  Lots of painting.  Upgrading the master bath.  A major kitchen redo.  You know, the pretty stuff.  That was ‘before R.E.D.’.  Then things changed almost overnight.  We found the boat, fell in love.  We saw our future unfolding in a new direction.  Renos came to a screeching halt.  We became obsessed with anything sailing.  We took courses during off season.  Became involved in the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron locally.

Now in full retirement mode our thoughts are changing yet again.  We crave more of that simple life that being on the boat has given us.  We are still in love and obsessed with R.E.D. but in the off season our lives are jam packed with obligations.  How did retirement become so full?..and not always in a good way.  This year we are stepping back a bit to focus on finishing some of those things that have been put aside for far too long.  Several years ago we installed a thermo pump which meant cutting into walls.  We never did anything about fixing the resulting holes in our little den because there were so many more attractive things to do.  Some would call it procrastination. Some, denial.  We could just close the door  and pretend that mess didn’t exist.

So this is where the denial ends.  Sorry if it’s not directly boat related but some of you will be able to understand the challenges of having to split yourselves between time constraints, finances and passions. It’s still our story, just a different season. It’s all a part of what makes us those crazy boat people And blogging about it helps me with the frustrations of putting up with all that plaster dust and mess.

To begin, bulk heads were built to hide the lines, wires, tubes from the air conditioner.  It gave us a chance to refresh the walls with a coat or two of paint.

Bulk Head

Bulk Head

The flooring in the den wasn’t very attractive so we took advantage of some great sales to replace that too.  One of my many pet peeves is wires.  Visible wires. Wires for wall plugs.  Media wires hanging everywhere.  So Francois got creative and in  replacing the baseboards added space for hiding those dastardly messy wires.


Flooring & Base Board

Before R.E.D. came along we were going to make our little den into a super media room with some cool lighting.  That cool light fixture stayed in it’s original box on a shelf for the past eight years.  Sad but true.  Embarrassingly sad.



Time to hang some art and bring the furniture back.  This is the one room where family pictures are hung.  In two of the composite frames I have small mirrors so that if anyone accuses us of not displaying their picture they just have to look in the mirror and there they are.



Next was reorienting the furniture placement.  The TV used to be in the east corner of the room and the couch on the opposite wall.  In the beginning it all seemed logical but we realized we were missing out on the sunsets.





Now we can enjoy the occasional beautiful sunset at the end of a long day.  All pretty again and for now at least, dust free.



The View