DIY Beach Mail Delivery Sign

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Many of my projects come from need as opposed to desire. Yesterday the new mailman was confused with the names of the individuals in the front and back house. Like most women I have two names I’ve been associated with and get mail that comes in different combinations. Desues-Wil or Wilson-De or, well you get the point. On top of that I’m new in the community and so is the family who rents my two story home in the back.

Add to this mayhem the amount of renters that lived in these homes previously who have not forwarded their mail and the whole mail delivery system collapses at my mailbox…sniff. So I have a need to help the mail person know what my name is right away.

Last night, I forged through my boxes of art supplies, seashells and hardware to fashion a sign. I found clear glue, glass beads in different sizes, seashells, and sea glass. A trip to the woodpile was successful for the sign. All I needed was something to print my name with; paint, marker, or stickers. I found some black stickers I’d purchased on a whim at a dollar store and got to work.

When the sign looks more appealing than the surrounding area.

When the sign looks more appealing than the surrounding area it’s project time!

Mission accomplished, right? Oh, no…sadly, I’m renovating my two beach houses and everything looks like it could use paint or hammer and nail. Soooooo, recognizing that my mailbox, metal fence and 4X4 is drab, ancient and sad looking to my neighbors, I had to begin a curb appeal project.

The front home is a shotgun style. Narrow in the width and long in the length to avoid extra taxes by taking up too much space in the width of a home, circa 1920’s laws. So many islanders on Galveston have this style with a one, two or three story home.

Fence, mailbox and mail delivery sign upgrade.

Fence, mailbox and mail delivery sign upgrade.

Hi, I’m back…So after an hour of finding the three spray paint cans of white paint, applying the color to the fence and 4X4, I think the job is done for now. Oh, and I found these cute starfish shower curtain hangers I added to the hooks to hang on the fence.

The wood looks like driftwood now and I really like that surprise. The fence still looks silver, but with a face lift. I plan to put one more coat of spray paint on to cover a few polka-dots on the posts. Still, my neighbor came out and loves the upgrade. Not bad for a 100 y/o home, what do you think?

A little spray paint and the metal fence is looking much better!

A little spray paint and the metal fence is looking much better!


Shotgun Beach House Renovation II

Before kitchen renovation

Before kitchen renovation

After kitchen renovation

After kitchen renovation

When I took the keys to my two beach houses, I had no idea what would be waiting for me inside. Although I’d had pictures sent to me by my real estate agent, most of the interior still had furniture and walls in the worst possible places. As I got out of the moving truck, I entered the front shotgun styled home and held my breath.

Inside I found drywall covering shiplap (tongue and groove wood) that needed to be removed. I am grateful for the beautiful walls four months later, but the removal process is overwhelming. Drywall, nails, old wallpaper, termite poop, sanding, painting…whew!

The two kitchen pictures show a wall made out of old fence posts. I plan to keep that wall in the kitchen. When taking the drywall off the wall behind the stove I found a window. The previous owners had bordered the full sized window up for some reason. Not everything in the kitchen is set in stone, I’m still working on many rooms concurrently to bring back this vintage beauty.

Before Pic of Dining Area

Before Pic of Dining Area

I’m breathing a sigh of relief that I found a diamond in the rough with the 1920 Shotgun home. As you can see in the before picture, the wall between the kitchen and the dining room was taken down. I kept all the shiplap pieces and used them where I closed off the hallway the prior owners had installed to accommodate a second bedroom. It wasn’t the original design so I got rid of the hallway that leads from the living room to the dining room through the second bedroom which is now a den. Got all that. Good, let’s continue.

Bedroom door revealed when makeshift closet is removed in dining area.

Bedroom door revealed when makeshift closet is removed in dining area.

My bedroom is off the dining room now instead of the kitchen when I removed a closet that blocked the doorway. I have a substantial armoire in my bedroom with adequate chest of drawers so a built in closet is unnecessary. The closet the prior owners had built was so flimsy that the thin wallboard and tiny nails just fell off. The 2×4’s however were a real bitch to remove.

So here is a picture of the door-less bedroom entryway that I have used silk drapes to cover during the night. The sea air blows the silk around and it is quite soothing as I sleep.

Entrance to master bedroom from dining area.

Entrance to master bedroom from dining area.

The diy plank floors will be the last to be done as I am still painting and fussing with the high ceilings. The ceilings are shiplap just like the walls, but require a bit of sanding and nail pulling before painted bright white. I chose a light blue with a bit of green as the color for the kitchen, dining area and master bedroom. This color goes well with my beach furniture, watercolor art, bedroom quilt and dishes. Very important.

Painting, Stenciling, Sticking to Coastal Floors, Cement or Wood

Like most DIY homeowners at the beach or really anywhere, USA, who want a coastal decor, I will fill every possible nook with ocean finds. You give me a corner and I’ll make a vignette of a painted sea green table, shells, a coral fan and ocean watercolor. (I actually paint watercolors).

Side view of Shotgun beach house, Galveston, Texas

Galveston House55So what about the cement patio, the wooden floor under your feet, the lonely wall in the kid’s room?

For the small 8 X 15 cement and wrought iron enclosed patio in the front Shotgun house I want a large compass in aqua blue and yellow/gold. The blue will match the shutters I plan to attach to this 100 year old home and the yellow is to match the color of the house. I have white trim, so I can use that color as the base if I paint the entire cement pad, three stairs and short path to the fence. If you’re not an artist, no problem, stencils and huge stickers are available at every hobby place or online. Not so tough, right?

I want to point out the original gate, dogs on the top and mailbox that will very quickly get a facelift with paint and landscaping. I’ve already planted fuchsia bougainvillea to climb the iron trellis and a gardenia bush near the mailbox. Photos to come soon.

Okay, now let’s talk about the shiplap walls that this home is completely exposed now.octopus (Thanks to my accidentally picking at the drywall when I moved in and finding this gold mine). I fancy an octopus for the painted white wood in my bathroom. A really big blue one! I found this Huge sticker at Amazon for $28.00 and it is less expensive for me to buy the sticker than to paint an art wall. The best part is a waterproof sticker is perfect for a salty sea bathroom.

HINT: When you choose your project, just remember to seal your artwork with polyurethane, a spray sealant or wax if you’re applying to furniture or wood.


Shotgun House Renovation

Galveston House11


Galveston House02


One day I’m on the internet looking for a place to retire at the beach and I find some great bargains on Galveston Island, Texas. I’ve been to this island to work at the hospital for a short contract and loved the area. Soooo, with the help of a real estate agent, I buy these two beach houses on the same lot sight unseen. (Agent gave me LOTS of pictures though.) The front home is a 100 year old Shotgun House modeled after the beauties in New Orleans, LA built in the 1920’s. It has wrought iron work around the front patio. Lovely. The home in the back is two stories and was built around the late 1940’s for the daughter of the owner. Both have wooden flooring, but the front home was too damaged by Hurricane Ike to reveal and fix the floor. The pictures show the day I found out that the front house is completely done in shiplap. I was picking at the drywall with my fingers and kept peeling off hunks and found a mix of shiplap and fencing on a kitchen wall. Further picking, (by now I had found my tools and started taking off sheets), and I found tight beautiful shiplap on every wall in the house. OMG! Galveston House06Remember, I had just moved to Galveston and hadn’t unpacked yet. Three months later, I’m finally done ripping the nasty drywall off. You probably don’t want to know about the termite poop that looks like swirls of sand where you have to use a sander. Ten foot ceilings made it a real touch and go for my sanity. Oh, and don’t forget the hundreds of nails that held up the drywall that needed to be pulled out. Of course, one of the most exciting moments is finding the 100 year old wallpaper.Galveston House49 Still, I am certain I have been introduced to every creeping, crawling, spinning, bug in Galveston.