Monday, March 31, 2008

Home Stretch ...

Feels like we are in the home stretch now that April is almost here. Our renovation project is drawing to a close and none too soon, having depleted my savings completely. Still, I am glad we undertook this necessary remodel since the northern wing of the house had not been touched since the early 1970s, when my parents added their “one-butt” kitchen and turned the 1825 kitchen addition into a dining room. Now their kitchen is a beautiful bathroom, visible beyond the doorway in the enclosed photo. We made a decision on the wallpaper last week. Here is a quick look at the sample.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

How Does One Turn Off the Modern World?

Yesterday evening the lights were out for an hour. Even Google went dark in support of Earth Hour. I do not understand neighbors who light up their houses like Christmas trees whenever they come down for a weekend. Otherwise the woods along Old King’s Highway remain dark at night except at full moon. Moonlight can be breathtakingly beautiful, a joy the modern world does not enjoy once a month anymore. Light pollution is something we take for granted. Folks today also expect everyone to have a cell phone. Neither Sven nor I have bought into this convenience. We had a guest with radiation sickness call last year. He told me he must even avoid proximity to cell towers and spoke eloquently about brain tumors caused by cell phones. The phone companies are trying to convince the world to abandon land lines, with profit alone in mind. My belief that cell phone use is dangerous seems to be confirmed in this article from the UK. Here at Chez Sven, we have wireless, but I turn it off overnight, fearful it may be dangerous for health, too.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

WHAT Presents "Last Train to Nibroc"

Wellfleet is extremely lucky to have WHAT and its director Jeff Zinn whose passion for theater was obvious when he took the stage last night to introduce season opener, “Last Train to Nibroc.” The three-act play, directed by Steven Russell, transports the audience to Tennessee, during World War II, for a sweet and simple love story, featuring actors Abby Huston and Lewis Wheeler. “Last Train" will be performed Fridays and Saturdays through April 13. Zinn revealed the other plays chosen for 2008 and announced WHAT has received a $600,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Last year Chez Sven was able to offer a discount on tickets, sending many of our guests to the theater, a great way to end a vacation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wellfleet's Shipwreck & Renovation Update

Knowing how many people are interested in the shipwreck, we went down to see if it was still there on Easter Sunday. It was! There is a meeting about Wellfleet's future this evening at the library. As much as I would have liked to have attended, I simply did not have the energy. Sven and I were away for two days in order to accommodate a couple from England and their two small children, who booked the cottage months ago. We are yearning to have the electricity back in the main house, which maybe, just maybe, will happen next week so that we do not have to move anymore and can start receiving guests in Liberty Coin Suite as well. The template man came yesterday, so our counter-top will arrive in two weeks. As soon as I got home, I started painting. The plumber is scheduled for next week as well, so this renovation is, in fact, advancing ...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Chez Sven's Green Room Gets Eco-Friendly Towels

The Easter Bunny left a Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card that sent us shopping for towels this weekend. The new MicroCotton line is advertised as eco-friendly. The towels are wonderfully soft to the touch, light, and absorbent. The manufacturers, in India, use materials and methods of fabrication that conserve energy and do not harm the environment. We cannot wait to hear the reaction of our first Green Room guests!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Beautiful Day!

What a beautiful day on Cape Cod! The wind may be gusting, but the sky is bright blue, reminding us why we choose to live here. Since there has been a lot of rain over the past month, the sunshine feels particularly welcome. We were not able to walk today, too busy with preparations for cottage guests. The photo above was taken in March last year at Duck Harbor, one of our favorite Wellfleet beaches.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Visit to Town Hall

As spring has sprung, I decided to head down to town hall for a quick update on the latest buzz. I found Assistant Committee Secretary Mary Rogers at her desk, busy typing minutes, a job that was mine for two years. I asked what’s on folks’ minds. “Amnesty Day, of course!” she said. “And, town meeting.” Both events will take place in April. Mary also told me the Planning Board is collaborating with the National Seashore on reworking Wellfleet's zoning bylaws. I found town collector Marianne Nickerson getting ready to mail out tax bills. Assessor Nancy Vail told me values are staying flat but taxes are on the rise. Bob Nazarian, her assistant, described the “hoop-de-doo” over the fire station – the groundbreaking took place this month – and the upheaval that has ensued from a request to greatly enlarge a house at the Gutt. I already knew the Select Board recently appealed this decision, but learned the Seashore has done so as well. McMansionization will be the subject of the next Forum meeting, Mary said. Finally, town clerk Dawn Rickman suggested sending readers to the town Web site for updates. Indeed, I found a long discussion on the proposed teardown in the March 5 Planning Board minutes. Before leaving, I got a glimpse of Planning Board chair, Denny O’Connell, above, one of the town’s most active volunteers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring, At Last!

I haven't yearned for spring this way in many years and soon it will be here. Renovation does that. You want everything to be normal again. No chaos, no dust, no open paint cans. Soon the tulips will be up and the peonies, my favorites. Yesterday our new bed arrived, the very last bed sold by the wonderful furniture company Eldred Wheeler, which has been forced to close by the recession. When I happened to call to inquire about pricing for a later purchase, the rep told me the sad news, so I placed an order, although renovation is hardly the right time for such purchases. Still, it was a case of now or never. The recession is making me rethink the new room rate, to be announced soon, so stay tuned!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rockin' Out with Paintbrush Thanks to Dunes 102.3 FM

The sun broke through the clouds this afternoon here
in Wellfleet after a morning of drenching rain. I did not much notice the weather because I was inside, painting doors for our new B&B room. Luckily oldies were playing on the radio. Tuned in to Dunes 102.3 FM, I rocked out with paintbrush in hand. At last the Cape has an Oldies station! Van, Van, our wonderful tileman introduced us. Since I was once a DJ in Paris, memories of spinning records came flooding back and with them the urge to return to radio. But, for now, this innkeeper has transformed herself into Painter Extraordinare. We cannot wait for life to resume as normal once this renvation is done. Gas prices are up, reservations are down. I posted a few specials for April and May, hopeful that guests can enjoy more than just our cottage by then.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Let There Be Tile!

Renovation is known to be challenging for innkeepers. Sven and I are doing fairly well, all things considered, but really long for the process to be over. Yesterday the counter-top man came for a preliminary template. Tile is going into the new powder room. Wallpaper is being considered. Choices, choices! With the budgeted monies running low, I paint every day now. In fact, both Sven and I are madly applying Harmony primer to new surfaces as I write. Today we start the tile in the new bathroom ...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wellfleet & Cars

Consider this Outer Cape vehicle, a means of communicating ideas that drew my attention in the Newcomb Hollow parking lot last week. Note the pirate flag, symbol of support for Caleb Potter. Speaking of cars, gas has become expensive. Tourists need gas in order to reach Wellfleet, unless they bus out, or bike, a challenging option in winter. B & B sites suggest members offer help on gas to attract more guests. This idea is something to consider once spring arrives. For the time being, we still have a number of cottage bookings in March, and the main house is not yet ready to receive guests. Wallpaper choices, painting duties, scheduling appointments for the counter template and floor sanding have occupied my time this week ...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Contact Chez Sven?

Flowers always make me happy and our garden is beginning to show tips of jonquils and tulips pushing through the ground. Everyone is eager for spring, and it is only a matter of weeks now. Even Wellfleet Marketplace has early spring fever, because bunches of tulips made their appearance this past week. For those readers who have been following the renovation, we are almost done. The final trim is going in. Next week we will paint the new room and its bathroom will receive wall tile. Several people have mentioned being unable to contact us, so I decided it was about time to make our email address available in this blog. If our contact page does not work, just shoot me an email at