Old Houses. New Houses. Blue Houses. Two Houses: Renovating a Florida Beach Bungalow

It’s a very lazy Saturday morning here at the babe cave. I am here where I always find myself in the early morning, butt planted on the mini, gray loveseat in front of the window that always seems to find the morning light. This is my happy place in the morning. Especially when the rain is falling like it is now and I have a steaming mug of some kind of modern-day witches brew aka coffee, warming my hands. It’s been a busy week for me, definitely not in terms of work, because in the flight attendant world, winter is hibernation time. In the Summertime, I get called to work almost every day but in the winter, I sit, and I sit, and I sit some more. I don’t necessarily sit around, but I don’t get called to work if I don’t want to. Hence why I am here on a Saturday morning, watching the rain drizzle down my window pane and sipping on my coffee. I usually sit here and dream up about a hundred projects I can do around the house. If you are reading this and you really know me you know that home improvement is my thing. I loveeeee love love to do projects. I think I really just love to see a hot mess turn into something beautiful with a little hard work. This is probably the reason my parents asked me to help them out with a project they have acquired this year. It’s a small investment property, a rock throw away from one of Florida’s golden beaches, and a bit of a fixer upper. How many of you just started singing that song from Frozen in your head? I know it was in mine the whole time I was writing this. You’d best just take a moment and sing it out.

A good friend of mine contacted me several years back about half of a duplex that her family was selling. I personally don’t have a Benjamin Franklin tree growing in my back yard, so I knew I couldn’t buy it but I immediately thought of my parents. They have always wanted to own property in Florida, possibly a place to retire, and an investment that doesn’t ride the same roller coaster ups and downs as the stock market. But the stars weren’t aligned and the deal fell through. Fast forward a few years later… at the right time and the right place, my parents were finally able to invest in their dream.

I was the first one to really walk through the house after my parents bought it. I flew in for one day, so I could get the key and do the initial walkthrough. There was one problem. The code to the lock box was not working. I fruitlessly tried every way that I could to get into that house for over two hours. I finally found a set of keys and guess what? They didn’t work either. At that point I was getting really REALLY frustrated, not to mention I looked like I was the neighborhood raider, trying to break into that little house. The neighbor came over at one point and introduced herself, eying me suspiciously, because I KNOW… most people who own a house have a key to it. My last ditch effort was to watch a Youtube video on how to pick a lock using bobby pins. I yanked those bad boys out of my hair and got to work, and I learned one thing: I will never be able to have a successful career as a burglar. The man who sold us the unit called up his friends and told them, “You’d better go help that little woman unlock that door!” They walked up just as I was about to blow an actual gasket and throw my keys like a five-year-old.  He said with a booming voice, “I heard there was a little woman over here who can’t open a door!?” I sheepishly thanked them for coming and let out a deep breath. As luck would have it one of the men actually used to live in that side of the duplex and he quickly discovered the problem: I had the wrong code. And by the way… It isn’t the little woman’s fault if a man gives the little woman a wrong code. Less than 30 seconds later the door swung open like a charm, and my rescuers offered me a Michelob Ultra. I gratefully accepted.

After the key fiasco, my Dad and I finally got to go put in some actual work this past week. We drove to Florida so we could bring some new mattresses and some initial furniture and we got there right around when the sun started to go down. And it was as it should be: tiny, adorable, dated and chock full of potential… but holy cockroach… It doesn’t take you long to realize it if you have a bug problem. And many old houses do. This one was no exception, and had “little friends,” as my Dad likes to call them, running around just about everywhere. The tiny beach bungalow was a cockroach playground. We unloaded all of our supplies and set up camp, setting up our two twin mattresses in the master bedroom (as high as we could possibly get them off the ground), and we got to work. That night we each fell into our twin beds, totally exhausted, but the good kind. The kind of exhausted where you know you made some headway, and you put in some good, solid hard work. 3am rolled around, and I woke from dreamland to a strange tickling. Half asleep I saw and felt a cockroach running up my arm like it was the stairway to heaven. I slapped that thing off my arm and jumped out of bed faster than you can say Sally screaming bloody murder, “Oh Gooooooooooood! Oh Goooooooooooooooooooood!!!! I can’t. I just CAN’T!” Then I turned into the freaking Hulk, and my anger at being awoken by such a horrid little spawn from the depths of you-know-where came out. I grabbed a shoe and I found him, and I ended him. FLAT AS A PANCAKE. HALLELUJAH! I am sorry for all you bug lovers out there, I can’t. I just CAN’T.

The little beach bungalow was sprayed today! Praise JESUS. And it is one small step closer to being the sweet little getaway that my parents always dreamed of. We are going through the house one room at a time and renovating it, bringing it back to the present and I will be documenting every step of the way on In Flight and Fabulous, so I hope you follow along. I suppose if you get to see “an after” you should see a “before” huh? Here are some photos, and don’t worry… No roaches are pictured here. Actually, that may be a little white lie. Don’t look too hard 😉 Disclaimer: everything pictured in the photos was in the house when my parents bought it.












As you can see everything is very dated and in need of some updating, but the bones are there, and that’s about all you really need to know when buying a new house. Does it have good bones? Can you put your own stamp on it, and spin it into something that’s both useful and beautiful for your family? In my parent’s case, they answered yes on both counts, and now it’s time to put in the work and see if it’s true. I can see a lot of projects in my future and I can’t say I am mad about it. No more roaches though… I can’t. I just can’t.


P.S: I will be posting all of the renovations to their little Florida beach bungalow on the blog so be sure to follow along for the ride!


Megan Marie

Leave a Reply

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: