The above applies to nearly everything good and important in life – especially renovations.
As mentioned in the first post, the Fiesta Iguana was a hot mess when we first handed over money to make her our own. Andy began the transformation by completely gutting out the interior and bringing the house part of the houseboat down to the bare bones.
Like with any house, the demo was both incredibly gross and incredibly fun. I took particular glee in ripping apart the plain white cabinets with a heavy-duty crow bar. We found a ton of garbage from over the years tucked into every tiny crevice. After a week of stripping the boat down, we carted bag after bag of garbage and demo debris to the dumpster and readied ourselves to rebuild.
First priority was getting the bathroom in working order. We removed the holding tanks (they were horribly disgusting) and reframed the bathroom area. After much research (mostly on Andy’s part), we ordered a composting toilet and installed it – in a snap – once it arrived. I was more than hesitant to have a composting toilet on the boat, but the reviews on the one we chose were terrific and, honestly, we have been impressed so far and it definitely beats having to worry about getting tanks pumped once a week.
Next on the list was insulation and walls. This was especially important as we purchased the boat in November and found ourselves doing the majority of construction in thirty degree temperatures. The boat wasn’t holding any heat from our newly installed ac/heater unit and, on extra cold days, our hands kept going numb while we worked.
The day we got the insulation installed enough to hold in heat from the heater, there was a particularly bad storm that had temperatures freezing. We celebrated excitedly when we saw the indoor temperature climb from the twenty range up to the sixty range and hold under seventy. Success!
We had to move onto the boat before we were ready and the first few weeks were interesting… in a borderline oh-my-God-what-did-we-get-ourselves-into kind of way. We didn’t have the shower installed and working yet, so for the first week we had to trek back and forth through the cold to use the marina showers at the front of the property. Andy was sure to get the shower working in time for me to keep my sanity, which brought our bathroom up to complete working order. More success!
We slept on a twin mattress in the under-deck cubby hole storage area for the first month, which was equal parts fun (it was kind of like camping) and miserable (it was kind of like camping). Simply, it was easier to secure this under-deck area and keep it clean while we worked than to worry about clearing sawdust from our bed every night.
This first month wasn’t a glamorous experience, but, honestly, it didn’t take long before we had temporary shelving and countertops, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a working sink in the kitchen and a temporary closet space in the bedroom area. During that first month, we were also able to bring in our washer/dryer combo, set up a working stove, and bring in my wine bar to use in addition to the temporary shelving. Things were getting damn near comfortable!
Work snowballed from there and soon we installed flooring in the bedroom area, installed trimming, ceiling, and, for good measure, painted the walls a light, stormy blue. We kept all of this work in the bedroom area for a few reasons. The waste tanks were held in the bedroom area under the bed initially and, when we removed them, we discovered that the wood sitting underneath was in severe need of repair. We already knew that we wanted to cover the ugly blue floors with nice hardwood flooring, so we decided this was the best place to begin that process since we were already making repairs. Once we finished the floors and the painting, we loaded our bed onboard!!
Oh, this night was blissful! Such a feeling of success and accomplishment to finally be able to rest our aching bodies in our own bed – and to see a part of the boat that looked near completion.
From there, we brought the mattress we were sleeping on to our storage unit and stored all of our tools under-deck. We then finished installing the new hardwood flooring throughout the rest of the boat, built in a couch and an entertainment center, and adjusted and upgraded some of our temporary shelving. We still have the permanent cabinets and countertops to complete and install, all the finishing work to do, and the couch cushions to sew, but we have finally reached the point where we are comfortable – even relaxed – and have slowed down the renovation to where we are enjoying our time with the boat as much as we are working on it.
Looking back at where we started, ripping out cabinets and sleeping in a storage area, we are exhilarated with how far we have taken this transformation – and even more excited for the adventures we have yet to experience.