Before and After

My shack in Aruba has gone through a number of repairs lately. The most recent project is the replacement of the windows. The old windows were aluminum framed, set in wood, which was fitted to the concrete walls. They were no longer completely serviceable, the screens were broken, and I wanted to do away with the divided lights. Here’s a look at an old one first.

Looks good enough, but they were leaky and had to go. A company called Builder Systems here in Aruba made the new, vinyl framed single light windows for me. Here’s the new one in place.

That’s a better window, more energy efficient, and the installer did a great job fitting it into walls that are approximately 80 years old. That’s no easy job, nor is the finishing up with the stucco. It’s gone well so far, especially given the challenges. I look forward to wrapping this up and getting a nice coat of paint on the place.

Bon dia from Aruba.

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Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Island Bathroom Project

My home in Aruba needed a new bathroom. There was only one bath for the entire house and it worked fine, but I decided to add a second one so that there would be a convenient alternative. Fortunately, the house had a large, walk-in closet off the master bedroom. This became the new bathroom. The tile and fixtures came from a place called BanjoLux, which is located on Schotlandstraat in Oranjestaad. Here’s a photo of their shop.

This place sells tons of beautiful items. Their selection is quite modern but not over the top. They also have qualified staff to help with making your selections. There are other places on the island and in later posts I’ll get to them. So, I took the closet and installed a glass block wall for the shower area as shown here.

┬áThis worked out great, except for one thing: I should have used a darker cement between the blocks. No doubt that white will be difficult to keep clean. Anyway, the wall came out great, as did the glass block in the back, which replaces a window. I like glass block because it lets the light in, keeps the peepers out, and is a higher level of security than a window. The other advantage is that the glass block doesn’t get nasty the way a shower curtain does. You can wipe it down and you’re finished.

For hot water, I installed this simple, point of use hot water heater. The water in Aruba is already warm so you only need to raise the temperature a little to have a nice hot shower. The unit shown below has three settings and I rarely use more than the lowest.

In the middle of the room, I built a sink feature from the ground up. The basin and faucet came from BanjoLux; the granite slab came from Acero, another great store here in Aruba. Acero will cut and drill the granite to your specs. As long as you order by Tuesday afternoon, it’s usually ready by Saturday at noon. So, here’s a look at that sink.

I had to install a temporary plastic drain beneath the basin until I get a chrome one cut to order. No big deal. It works fine. I’ll install a pair of wooden doors beneath the granite, too. On the far wall, closest to the final drain to the septic, sits the toilet as shown here.

┬áThe room does have a bit of the “corridor” feel, but I had to use what was there and did the best I could. Above the toilet I installed a new window to get some more light into the room.

My wife has picked out some great furniture pieces: an armoire-like unit for towels and things, a rack for toilet paper, and some clay pots and such to bring this bathroom up to snuff. Can’t wait to put them into place over the coming weeks.

Well, that’s a look at the finished product. I kept the horror photos out. Actually, there weren’t many problems with this project and I had the help of two very competent guys who can lay tile in surprisingly creative ways along crooked walls. I was impressed with their talent. The results speak for themselves.

Published in: on July 26, 2008 at 12:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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