Archives June 2019

Bayview Boat Club

After a second consecutive year of terrible weather and flooding on the Wisconsin River during the month of June, I made a somewhat drastic decision: I bought a slip at the Bayview Boat Club in Tipperary Bay on Lake Wisconsin, which is a much more stable part of the lake. I’m maintaining by dock at the lake house and will likely buy a jet ski and/or kayaks to keep at the house, while keeping the boat at a location that will make it usable from May until September. It also has the benefit of being right next to the tiki bar at the Moose!

It was a pretty quick process to get the slip, which is located here:

Now I’m just waiting on Deano Docks to do the install, which (after a significant bribe on my part) is allegedly going to do before the weekend.

Here’s to a great July, August, and September of boating!

Painting and Flooring

After months of planning, the remodeling of the main level of the Verona house is finally about to begin. First, all of the walls will be repainted during the first week of July. We’re going with a very light taupe color combined with accent walls in light brown and a light blue green, depending on the room. Here is the Paint Chart by room:

Before the painting started, I had to do some prep work to move various pieces of furniture, including the fish tank and the TV stand enclosure.

In addition to painting, I also ordered 62 boxes of hardwood flooring along with subflooring, quarter rounds, and other accessories required for installation. I was able to negotiate Home Depot down to right around $12,500 including installation, which should happen the first week of August.

It will look amazing when everything is done!

Starting the Stair Reconstruction

This past weekend, I truly started the stair reconstruction project. Most of the beginning of the project was demolition: removing bad railing that needed to be replaced, angle grinding pieces of metal sticking up out of the ground, and ripping out rotting boards.

After that, I had to fix the posts on the final staircase, which had fallen over the winter and was hanging on for dear life. I used a bottle jack to lift the stairs back into position, and then screwed in temporary 4×4 beams to hold it in place while I attached the real treated 4×4 posts.

It is now stable, and can support the dock when it is finally installed by Deano. From there, I moved onto the landing above the stairs, which had badly rotted. I used treated 2x4s to build a stable structure that would support the floor boards, which will go in next week.

Next week, during the four day Fourth of July Weekend, I’m going to finish removing the sand and dirt that had fallen onto the stairs, and finish installing the new floor boards.

For now, I’m off to Las Vegas for a fun vacation weekend!

Bentley AV Update

I had posted about this project last summer, but put it on hold amongst other distractions. This past week, I finally decided to pull the trigger on getting the Bentley’s infotainment system upgraded. Here is roughly what the finished product will look like:

I went with a largely button-less JVC head unit, the KW-M75BT, which looks really clean and won’t look tacky in the Bentley. It also supports Apple Car Play, which gives it a slick UI.

The kit and head unit are shipping now, and will be installed on July 8th!

Lake House Stairs Update

Now that the trees have been cleared, and the outhouse and boulders have been removed, I can turn my attention to the stair reconstruction, which I had started planning awhile ago. I had to change my plans a little bit though, as the bid I got from the one contractor who would quote the deal was insanely high:

$42,350 for 80 stairs is $530 per stair! Based on that, I cam to the conclusion that I’d do the work myself. It’s really only 2.5 flights of stairs that need to be rebuilt/repaired, and should be less work than the original railing project I did two summers ago. Here is the task breakdown I came up with:

  • Angle Grind Exposed Pipes
  • Replace Broken Railing/Posts
  • Remove Rotting In-Ground Steps
  • Replace In-Ground Steps with 4×4 + Rebar
  • Reinforce Steps with 4×4 Base Posts
  • Replace Old Treads with 2×10 Treads
  • Cover Concrete Steps with 2×10 Treads

In other news, I’m also exploring purchasing land across the street from the lake house to build a garage. I’m looking at a plot that is just under a third of an acre, and would give me the right amount of space in a perfect location.

The only issue currently is that the owner seems to want more than the parcel is worth, $25k instead of the $5,100 that the land is assessed at. It remains to be seen whether we’ll be able to reach a deal or not, but I’m hopeful that we will be able to.

Interior Design Progress

I’ve been working with my interior designer for several weeks now, and she’s been helping to change the layout of the main floor of the Verona house, along with selecting new furniture, paint colors, and flooring. As we iterate through the selection process, she provides space plans like the following:

I can then take material samples and look at them in the house, to make sure we’re on the right track. Paul the cat likes to help with this process as well…

The biggest things to select initially are flooring and paint. She suggested going with a dark-stained hand-scraped hickory hardwood throughout the entire main level of the house, with large area rugs to add color. I think the end result of that will look really striking, and will pair well with the furniture we’re picking.

I did some really rough photoshops of the color in our existing rooms, and I think it will look awesome!

For paint colors, we’re going with light taupe and light grey, which should contrast nicely with the dark wood floors.

I’m really excited to see how it all looks when the process is done! The goal is to have all of the designs, decor, and furniture selections done in the next month or two, and to gradually implement everything by the end of the year.

Landscaping at the Verona House

As with every spring, there was a lot of yard work to do at the Verona house to get it ready for spring and summer. I had to replant grass seed in certain areas, replant annual flowers, plant bushes and arbor vida, fertilize the yard, mow, put bark in the planters, and prune the trees. I started out with a trip to the Home Depot that completely filled the Super Duty and let me take advantage of its hauling capabilities…

I got to work, and was able to use the Ranger, which I had recently tuned up, to haul bark and bushes to where they needed to go.

All of the areas that needed bark looked great after it was added:

All the shrubs and arbor vida were planted:

The planters on the front porch looked great with orange and yellow begonias and decorative grass:

And after fertilizing, reseeding, and mowing, the lawn looked great too, as did all of the paths and walkways around the land after pruning was completed. After a busy weekend of work, everything was done!

Outhouse and Boulder Removal

After removing the trees from the hill at the lake house, the last two things that needed to be done prior to stair reconstruction were to remove the old outhouse and remove two large boulders that had fallen onto the stairs over the past two winters. The outhouse was kind of a funny conversation piece, but at the end of the day it was decaying and blocked part of the view of the lake from certain parts of the backyard. Removing it was pretty trivial, I simply chainsawed the posts and pulled the entire building over, and use a combination of the chainsaw and a reciprocating saw to break it into pieces and load it in the truck.

Once it was gone, the backyard looked even better!

Next up was the boulders:

In theory, this should have been easy: stay above the boulders on the stairs and use a shovel as leverage to dislodge and roll the boulders down the hill, and let gravity do the work to take them into the lake. However, a moment of stupidity on my part made this much more involved. I didn’t have an easy way to get at the smaller of the two boulders, which was blocking the big one. So, without considering the danger fully, I climbed over in front of the boulder and worked to dislodge it. Things seemed fine, but as I moved it, the shifting weight of the boulder cracked the step that it was balancing on, and it started to fall towards me. I had to dive out of the way, and managed to mostly avoid the boulder, although I got hit pretty good on my right foot and fell onto some other rocks at the bottom of the stairs that tore up my legs pretty good. Diagnosis (after visiting urgent care): broken third metatarsal in my foot.

It was definitely a lesson to remember to always think about the potential consequences when working on projects, and especially when working with large and dangerous things like boulders or trees. I stayed off of the foot for awhile, and after it started feeling better I returned to the scene and finished off the last boulder:

Tree Removal Complete

Over the past several weeks, I’ve removed roughly 25 trees from the hill leading down to the lake from the lake house. It’s massively improved the view of the water from the house, and has also opened up the walk down to the lake, making it less claustrophobic and buggy. I bought a Ryobi electric chainsaw for the job; the current generation of battery chainsaws has massively improved and offers similar power to gas chainsaws. The saw I purchased did a great job and I’d highly recommend it.

After marking the trees I wanted to take down, I just started sawing away…

It was hot, sweaty work since I had to wear protective clothing and a helmet, but I kept at it.

Gradually, I was able to clear all of the trees along the stairways down to the water.

Finally, I bought an electric pole saw to complete some branch trimming on the trees closer to the house, to thin out their lower branches a little bit.

The resulting view is incredible!