Renovation
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A Nautical Renovation

By Mark R. Johnson
Published: March 1, 2007
The kitchen before
Photo by Cabin Life Staff
There are renovations – and then there are renovations. Jeff and Tammy Will have owned their two-story, four-bedroom cabin for five years, and Jeff has spent all of that time gutting the cabin and completely redoing it.

It’s Jeff ’s project, and he’s gone in deep, leaving friends and family, including Tammy, shaking their heads in disbelief and admiration.

The kitchen took only about five to six full weekends – impressive considering he refurbished the kitchen not from floor to ceiling, but from beneath the floor to beyond the ceiling – and out to the walls and windows.

Beyond the ceiling.
The new open ceiling consists of the existing floor joists for the second level painted white, the exposed new flooring of the second level stained blue on the underside, and all new lighting.

Beneath the floor.
Jeff tore out the old floor and sub-floor, replaced the sub-floor and installed tongueand- groove oak flooring.

Out to the walls and windows.
Jeff not only replaced the windows, but actually moved the headers and openings to accommodate the new kitchen layout. He moved one window two feet and another one seven inches.
The kitchen after
Photo by Cabin Life Staff
It’s all in the details. Jeff Will is all about the details. A guest in the Wills’ kitchen could entertain himself for hours looking for all the nautical details. Above the sink is Tammy’s contribution to the kitchen: a stained glass scene depicting a day of sailing on the lake. And the lighthouse in that scene matches the lighthouse embroidered on the custom bar stools.

Where did he get those stools?
The central focus of the Wills’ nautical-theme kitchen is the eat-in counter, done in cobalt blue porcelain tiles, with those boat seatstyle bar stools. Jeff designed the stools himself, then found a woman who makes boat seats for a nearby boat manufacturer. She was willing to upholster the seats to Jeff ’s specs. As luck would have it, the woman’s husband owns an embroidery shop, and he embroidered “Twin Isles” – the name of the island upon which Jeff and Tammy’s cabin sits – and the special lighthouse onto the seats. Jeff mounted the boat seats on bases he picked up at a restaurant supply company.

Sweat equity.
Jeff had almost zero labor costs, doing all the work himself – from initial design to sanding, nailing, grouting and staining. The only labor he didn’t perform was the electrical. All together, Jeff estimates he and Tammy spent only about $3,500 redoing the kitchen.

Where did he pick up those skills?
“I attribute my carpentry skills to my high school shop teacher, Clarence Johnson,” Jeff says, adding that he also took a construction trade vocational class in high school.

Mr. Johnson taught Jeff well. Wonder what he’ll tackle next.
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