Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yellowdog....where your friends are

Last night Stacy and Mark McLeod threw a fantastic party in honor of my 13th 29th birthday and, way more importantly, to celebrate Yellowdog.  McLeod came up with the motto above and I think it just might stick.

Stacy gave me a few coastal magazines, a standup paddle board magazine and a beautiful book on beach cottages.  To our collective amazement, the March edition of Coastal Living magazine has a great article on west coast Florida islands - and the first one in the article is Matlacha!  Rock on!  Also mentioned were Boca Grande/Gasparilla and Cabbage Key, our new next door neighbors.

I tried to find the article online but they must not have the current issue online until it's off of the newstands.  But I did find a few old articles - to see go here and here.

Here is a picture of downtown Matlacha from the article.

Courtesy of and the Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Property description and pictures

OK so for those of you to whom we haven't described this property ad nauseum, here's the quick breakdown.  Four buildings and two docks.   One building is the commercial restaurant kitchen and one will be used as a rental cottage, right now it is called the "Key West" Cottage.  The third building is the Gallery/storefront/rental cottage and the fourth is the owner's cottage and current indoor dining area.  I'll describe as best I can w/ the pictures below.

 Taken from the one of the docks, this is looking west.   The building with the red roof is the Bridgewater Inn.

 Taken from the same spot, this is the cottage connected to the gallery.  Currently there is a full time tenant in there.

 Another picture to the west.  The dock in disrepair is owned by someone else.  Somewhat of an eyesore, but not a huge deal.
 Looking to the east at Bert's Bar and Grill. 

 Looking back toward the property, there is some of our restaurant seating.  We plan to clean this up and maybe re-arrange a bit.
 The restaurant kitchen.
 Right now this is indoor seating for the restaurant but it's also connected to the house we will live in.  We are thinking about moving the indoor seating to the gallery and opening this up to the house for more space.

The kitchen/living room of the house where we will live.

The dining room of one of the "Key West" cottage.

"Key West" cottage kitchen above, and bath below.

Bedroom and closet in rental "Key West" cottage.

"Key West" cottage living room. 
The large gallery space.  Through the door is where the boutique will be.

The other side of the gallery.  The doors here lead to the occupied rental cottage.

Boutique space.

Outside between the 4 buildings.

We'll take more pics on our next trip down and of course lots of pics along the redecorating/renovation process which we will be able to begin in April!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Starting off with a bang

So we put our house up for sale this past weekend. 

Literally not 15 minutes after I put the for sale by owner sign in our yard I received a call from a couple who wanted to see the house.  They had been in our neighborhood seeing a couple of other houses for sale and in between the time they arrived to see our neighbor's house and the time they were leaving was when I put up the for sale sign.  I couldn't believe my luck w/ the timing.

They really liked the house and said it had many of the things they were looking for.  They liked the colors and decor of the house, and were hoping to buy a boat, so a dock and lift were important.  When we took them outside to see the dock, a bunch of dolphins were chasing mullet fish up against our seawall for a very close up view.  The timing was impeccable.  They left with a request for a follow up from us for tax and school info, and I felt maybe we did have a good chance of selling relatively quickly.  With this economy, unemployment, the fact that there are several other houses in our neighborhood for sale, the questions about whether real estate will continue to drop, etc. etc. it just seems like all the odds are against us.  But meeting this couple gave us hope that there are still people out there looking for properties like ours.

Then yesterday morning we woke up to terrible news.  A police officer was shot Monday night, just a few miles from our house.  And not even a month after two other officers were shot just southwest of this shooting.  There hadn't been an officer shot and killed in St. Pete in 30 years and now we have 3 down in 30 days.  Just horrible.  As much as I absolutely adore our city and our home, I can't say I would blame people if they were reluctant to buy here.  It's such a sad thing to see these things happen anywhere, but especially to our beloved St. Pete.

Being Thrifty

Having SO MUCH STUFF to buy to turn Yellowdog into our vision is going to mean being extremely creative.  My thoughts are to buy whatever we can find for a reasonable price and paint it all into a beachy-chic color scheme.  Between thrift stores, craigslist and garage sales, it shouldn't be hard but will be time consuming, so I figured we should start asap.

The morning of February 19th I read the garage sale section in the paper and saw that there was a yard sale in a very expensive part of town.  Chris humored me by agreeing to drive up there.  It was either very picked over or didn't have much good in the first place, but I did spot a small end table for $3.  Since that is the same as free in my book, I figured it was worth taking home. 

On the way home we spotted another sale, and this is where we hit a jackpot.  A lady had a garage that had been used for storage for some VERY old items.  Like, a million years old-old.  First I spotted a small desk that I could tell will be super cute w/ some paint and new hardware.  Mine.  Next we spotted this ancient hutch-type thing but it had some broken glass and a piece of rotten wood....but it was really interesting all the same and we could see it's potential.  Mine too, please.  There was also a beautiful antique cedar chest we were eyeing....for what, who knows, but it looked like a good deal.  Fortunately for me (since no doubt I will be doing 99% of the facelifting on all of this stuff) Chris came across a working electric sander for...get this....a buck.  We walked away with all of this (the 4 wooden pieces described, not the entire garage)

We rule!!  Or, I guess the people who sold these things to us for practically nothing, do.  Thank you, crazy-letting-your-furniture-go-for-free people, you make my bank account happy.


Sometime during the week of January 24th, 2011, my husband Chris was reading a Boat US magazine.  He described to me a "for sale" ad for a property - cottages with a cafe, marina, art gallery - then went to the computer to look for more information.  Soon after he called me in to look.  From his verbal description I assumed he was describing one unit within a larger one, and I wondered what could be different about that one vs. the many other resort-type properties to which we have dreamed about retiring.  But upon seeing the website, I realized it was an entire property for sale at a price realistic to us.  We agreed it was worth seeing and made plans to go down that weekend.

Upon seeing the property that Saturday and were blown away by how it looked as good, if not better, than the pictures online.  We met the women running the restaurant and they were as nice as could be.  We walked around the town and were charmed by its old Florida feel.  Our good friends Rich and Lesa joined us and we stayed in Matlacha for the night.  We had a great dinner at Bert's Bar and Grill, then returned to the Griffin Cafe the next morning for breakfast and to show the property to our friends.   They were equally (if not more!!) smitten.  We returned the next weekend with more friends (Tom and Wendi and a repeat visit from Rich and Lesa, who came equipped with champagne!) and the excitement built as we all agreed, it's a perfect fit for us.

We made an offer that week.  After some back and forth, we came to a verbal agreement on February 18th with the official paperwork to follow.  I was already shopping for furniture and planning inventory for the boutique.  We wanted to name it in honor of our golden retriever-child, Tiki, and Yellowdog was born.

Our plan is to take over operations on June 1.   As the restaurant is already being run, we will continue to have that operate as is.  We will furnish two of the three cottages for week/weekend/weekly/monthly rentals, and plan to advertise these for rent on VRBO and  We plan to open the boutique on our first weekend in operation, June 3rd.  There are currently yoga classes being held in the gallery on Tuesdays and Thursdays that I hope will continue and expand.  We plan to purchase stand-up paddle boards to rent out, along with some kayaks.  Once we build a boat lift and bring the boat down, Chris hopes to operate boat tours and fishing trips.

That's the plan....please wish us luck!