Around the "House"

  Wednesday, November 26, 2014 / Stephanie / Projects  

In-between larger projects we've been paying attention to some minor details in order to make Detour feel more like our home. I, of course, also wanted to remove some of the traditional, nautical flare. Working on the details has helped us to stay busy when we are waiting for ordered packages to arrive or change our focus when we've run into a problem that cannot be easily solved. Here are a few of those projects that have actually been completed! Butane Tanks - The butane tanks (cooking gas in France is not propane) were in need of new butane tubing and a new regulator. A simple installation. This required two trips to the Port Napoleon chandlery. Viola! The stove top is ready for cooking! Doorknobs - Those old doorknobs were ugly! The knobs were bulb-shaped, brass, and each weighed about two pounds! We changed out those doorknobs for aluminum knobs. The job was not as easy as it looked. The through pieces for the new doorknobs were a bit too long for the boat's doors which are slightly thinner than standard house doors. But we took a hack-saw to each through-piece and viola, custom-fit as if they were made specially for the boat. That ought to brighten the interior and lighten the load! Head Faucet - Both the galley and head faucets had been leaking. Brian was able to disassemble the galley faucet and replace an O-ring to stop the leak. The head, however, required the entire faucet be replaced. Once again, a seemingly simple job was nothing of the sort! We searched the faucet selection of the hardware store for at least an hour back and forth between the two aisles comparing and contrasting faucets. We were brainstorming, trying to determine a way to reduce the amount of water used when showering. The head faucet has an extendable shower head but the shower head does not have a stop switch. This meant that when showering, the water would run continuously. Brian wanted to add a selection valve so that we could choose either faucet or shower head. I liked this idea! We could not conceive a way to do this with the available faucets, shower heads, extensions, etc. at the hardware store. So we opted to make this project simple and selected the same exact faucet that we were replacing. In addition to the faucet, we did find a valve that could be added at the base of the extendable shower head. With this valve, the water could be stopped at the extended shower head therefore saving a bit of water between sudsing and rinsing. We returned to the boat with the same exact faucet and new valve only to discover that the new faucet was not exactly the same. Shocking! It didn't fit into the hole in the counter-top! Now Brian had to drill into our new, shiny counter-top to make the hole larger. Finally, the faucet fit through the counter-top and...the extensions from the faucet to the hot and cold water connections were too short and didn't reach! No easy fix there. We made another trip to the hardware store (several days later with a new list; the store is 40-mins away) to buy longer extensions. Back at the boat, the water lines could now be connected. The best part of this entire process was that the valve we'd selected fit and still enabled the shower head to be reset into the faucet when used as a sink. Light Fixtures - All of the interior lights and exterior navigation lights aboard Detour need to be changed to LED bulbs. This provided an opportunity to update the light fixtures which were brass, probably to match those ugly doorknobs, and most were corroding. [caption id="attachment_372" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Saloon light fixtures; these are identical to the fixtures in the forward cabin and in the aft cabin.[/caption] The lighting continues to be a work in progress because we want to find aesthetically pleasing lights and not spend a fortune on "marine" lights. We've been browsing home stores, hardware stores, the chandleries, the internet, and RV suppliers to find 12V LED fixtures or 12V halogen fixtures that can be converted. We've had our first light fixture success! We found cloth sconces at a hardware store; very lightweight, not breakable, removable sockets. To convert the sconces, we found converters for G4 LED bulbs and Brian simply glued the converters onto the socket ring inside the sconce. We also found switches which were necessary because the previous fixtures had integral switches. After essentially building light fixtures and wiring each fixture and switch into the current wiring, Brian then mounted the sconces simply by adhering double-sided tape and affixing the sconces to the bulkhead. The double-sided tape is meant for hanging frames, and since the sconces are extremely light this worked perfectly and eliminated the need for any additional holes to be drilled through the bulkhead. The switches are mounted just below each sconce, accessible but slightly out of view. The ceiling light fixtures seemed impossible to replace for various reasons; the size of the mounting holes, no space behind the ceiling for recessed lights, the coverage area necessary to cover exposed screw holes from the old fixtures, and each old fixture had integral switches. My solution for the ceiling fixtures was to paint the ones we had with chrome paint. My first attempt at this was a total failure. I hadn't roughed-up the rings enough for fear of roughing-up the only fixtures we had and so the paint didn't adhere to the metal. The paint dried splotchy and easily flaked. For round two, I took coarse grain sandpaper to the rings to speed up the paint removal process and discovered that there was a coating on the rings that hadn't previously been removed by my tender prepping. I continued sanding, very much roughing-up the rings, to remove this coating. I painted again with the chrome spray paint and this time it dried flawlessly! I also sanded and painted one of our bathroom fixtures which was salvageable and LED convertible. The bathroom fixture can twist and turn; it will be adjusted often so this quick fix won't last forever because the chrome paint chips easily. But at least we are making progress toward coordinating everything in sliver rather than gold. Cockpit Table - The cockpit table needed a bit of refreshing. It's varnish was flaking badly and the table was various colors of varnished and un-varnished aged teak. I stripped about 50 coats of varnish from the table, then sanded it thoroughly. I applied two, hearty doses of teak oil to the table. The table does have water damaged edges and will eventually need replaced, but I suspect we will have many a cocktail hour before we part ways.


  1. From Stephanie Grandjean on Dec 01, 2014
    Penny, already leaving France this week headed stateside for the holidsys...Hope you and John had a fabulous, island style Thanksgiving!

  2. From Brian Grandjean on Nov 28, 2014
    Thanks, Scott!

  3. From Scott Kuhner on Nov 27, 2014
    Wow you two could go into business rehabing cruising boats. Your end products look great.

  4. From bahama mama penny on Nov 27, 2014
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING! You 2 are s resourceful! Same here living on an island....everything has to be fixed before it can be used! Thankfully John boy is master of jerrigging! How long do you plan to be in France? MISS YOU!