Welcome to our Plum Island Makeover blog, which will chronicle our journey to rebuild our Plum Island home. My fiancée, Kate, and I fell for this house because……It is located on the narrowest part – the waist—of the island, with very little shoreline to buffer it from the Atlantic. I thought I’d begin our shared journey by describing to you why I decided to document and share our experience transforming our home.
When we purchased the two-story or some type of description home just over a year ago in February of 2012, we planned to someday renovate it. We even had preliminary architectural plans and consulted with a conservation consultant and an engineer. Kate and I had a vision of what the top two floors, the kitchen, and the exterior would eventually become. The basement was already finished, so we were just focused on transforming the top two floors. However, life got in the way. It was just when my work got beyond crazy busy (primarily due to the NHL lockout ending, crushing me with a few months’ worth of work to complete in just 12 days) and our personal life got hectic (Kate started planning our wedding.) that Mother Nature decided to test our will and spirit just a little bit more.
Despite the ferocious onslaught of Hurricane Sandy last October, we considered ourselves extremely fortunate. The extremely cold weather and beach erosion on the Southern Side of Plum Island devoured several homes. We watched in horror the devastation in New York and New Jersey as families tried to rebuild. We decided to hunker down for Hurricane Sandy, the brunt of which hit on October 31st. Our house passed its first storm test! We felt blessed. Kate even baked cookies for the TV crews and we delivered them to the reporters who were huddled in their trucks and braving the ferocious wind and high tides.
Ironically earlier that year, in July, we hosted a beach day shindig that lasted well in to the night. We decided at the time, like so many other families on Plum Island, that we’d give our home a name. So it became “Sandy Cheeks”.
We didn’t quite escape winter on the island, though. Hurricane Sandy might not have been able to shake Sandy Cheeks, but the terrorizing temperatures in January wrapped their icy fingers inside and outside our home. By the time Kate and I returned from a long weekend, we had already received a phone call from our neighbor with the devastating news that water was pouring out of the second floor walls and water was freezing on its way down the house like a glacier, almost as if our house was crying.
When Kate and I got back to the island, the damage was extensive. More than three feet of water had gushed through all three floors of Sandy Cheeks, leaving in its wake a mess that we weren’t quite prepared to tackle. Gone were the relatively simple renovation plans. We now had a major renovation in our future. We were fortunate that Sandy Cheeks is not in imminent danger of slipping into the ocean, but we had quite a project looming ahead.
So here comes my explanation of why a blog? First, I am a communicator. Communication is my business and I will very much enjoy sharing our experience rebuilding our beloved home. Secondly, I think people learn from experience, and what better way for my audience to learn than through my experiences. I will regularly update this blog with information about how and why Kate and I have chosen particular craftsmen or vendors. Whenever possible, we will share videos of the work in progress, so you can see the process and how the renovation unfolds.
Sandy Cheeks will no longer have icy tears rolling down her sides, but she will be transformed over the course of the next six months and you, our readers, will join us for this very personalized journey.
Winter is over, but the devastation that ripped apart the southern coastline of Plum Island has just begun. Two more homes slipped into the ocean after the winter storms, 13 houses have been declared uninhabitable, and more than 1,00 feet of beach has been devoured by the Atlantic in the past decade.
Fortunately for us, Sandy Cheeks is not in imminent danger of sliding into the ocean, but we share the concern of the other homeowners about the beach erosion. We will keep up to date on the efforts being made to salvage the coastline and provide links to organizations dedicated to this cause.
Plum Island Tax Payers and Association (PITA) is devoted to addressing this problem. Link to site…
News reports on the erosion and subsequent loss of the homes in 2013.
Storms of the past and the effect on the island….