Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Vereeniging's new guest cabin

Ever since I've had the Vereeniging, I've dreamed of turning the space under the foredeck into a spare bedroom for guests. In the picture above, it is the area below the white hatch cover behind the chairs. Unfortunately, I never managed to convince myself that all the wood I stored there and all my tools could possibly go anywhere else, and so my dream wasn't realised - that is, not until now.

With Craig and Mo taking the Vereeniging over for a while, I've had to clear out all my things, including my tools and woodworking materials. I've been ruthless too and a lot has been thrown away, while the rest is either being stored at the cottage or housed in Koos's vooronder. I've mentioned before that they also wanted a guest room, so between the three of us - Mo, Craig and myself - we've worked our backs off to do the conversion in the last two weeks. I'm using the word 'backs' deliberately as there is nowhere of standing height in the vooronder so it has been very hard on us from that point of view. We've had to work in very cramped space, constantly bending over and bashing our heads on things, and I'm still in some pain as a result... but boy, the results have been worth it. The pictures below tell the story from start to finish.

The beginnings. Insulating the hull and starting the back wall

Cladding the insulated sides of the hull with flexible plywood

The plywood walls are then trimmed with strips to seal the joins and painted. The pine plinth is to finish the forepeak and provide a place for a portapotti.

The back wall is varnished with teak coloured finish and the floor is insulated.

The ceiling is also painted

The floor is then carpeted

Finally, we make two single beds that are built into the sides of the hull

The beds have mattresses cut to fit, then today, Mo bought duvets, pretty covers and pillows. With a small table (later to have the tiny basin built in) and two night lights, it's ready to receive the first guests. Tomorrow, my stepson (Mo and Jo's brother) and a friend are arriving for a weekend in the Netherlands, so we were just in time!


  1. Val, I am so impressed!!
    Where do you find the energy, not to mention the knowhow, to get this all done?
    It looks so lovely and cosy now. I love it!

    As I've mentioned before, I can appreciate small spaces and feel quite comfortable within their confines, but I don't know if I could live there with the hatch closed...

    is there any other exit ;)


  2. Wow, this is an impressive addition. I think it's amazing! To answer your garden question, I really don't know why the weeds are so few and far between- we've had a pesticide ban in the city for quite a few years now, but perhaps it's because we're close to the lake or the fact that Whiskey runs around so much they have no chance to grow under his busy active feet. It's certainly nothing I've done!


  3. Wow, fantastic Val. I can't believe what you guys can do with a space. Very chic and comfortable. I like it.

    great work. xo

  4. Now that is cool...some great work there! Comfy too!

  5. Thanks everyone. It's been a real reward to see it taking shape. I must still add a pic of the 'loo corner' as it's also really cute.

    Dale, there isn't another exit, so until I've made a hatch that can be used as a window too, guests will have to sleep with it slightly open. I couldn't shut myself in totally either.

    Anne Marie, I think I need to borrow Whiskey then! The weeds in my garden definitely have the upper hand ;-)

  6. The little loo is so Cute!!


  7. Small as this new space is, it looks incredibly cosy! I sure would love to stay there!

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  9. I tapped out the brief FB reply at the galley table at noon, but this got me to ruminating on boat carpentry while I headed off for the afternoon snooze. What a world where you have to make things fit where nothing is plumb or square! Granted, I have it easier because a towboat is pretty much a stack of rectangular boxes, and I don't have to do much of it in the first place... (And, I'm not that good, anyway!) My hat's off to anybody who does it, and can do a halfway decent job to boot. The guest cabin certainly came off very well; I'd have to say from the photos that it looks professionally done! :-)

    This also pulled up memories of finishing the Joy Anne Keller (Now renamed the Michael G. Morris.) My employer sent me to Houma, Louisiana to Quality Shipyards for the last month of the Keller's construction early in 1999 as it was going to be my regular boat.

    The pilothouse was being finished when I showed up. All of its interior was trimmed out in solid mahogany, and I got pretty absorbed in watching the carpenter/cabinetmaker who was doing the work around the big pilothouse windows.

    He was a little Cajun dude, maybe about 5'5", made up of gristle and cigarette tar, and he seemed to almost always have a dead cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth. He would mosey up the stairs with some cut pieces of trim, spend a little time fitting them in place, and then he would get out a tape measure and his notebook and move on to what was needed next. He'd make a few measurements and a little sketch or two, and then leave for the shop. Forty five minutes or so later, here he would come back with more cut pieces, which would be put in place with little fuss and almost no trimming to make things fit properly.

    We're not talking easy here. Nothing around those windows was plumb or square. All of it was compound angles. If I was attempting this, I would have to make cardboard templates, it would take forever, and probably wouldn't look too good when done. Not him! This was utter expertise and economy of motion at work. With a minimum of information, the pieces fit almost perfectly every time, all he might need to do would be a bit of trimming with a razor knife or a block plane. The only thing that ever saw any putty was countersunk nail holes. I think he lived in a world of compound angles, and that things like this he just did as naturally as breathing comes to the rest of us.

    This went on for the better part of a week, as he worked his way around the pilothouse. The finished product was, and still is, all these years later, spectacular. There was barely a time in my ten years on that boat that I didn't admire that craftsmanship when I was up there. Many times, when I have a project underway, that job of his comes to mind, and I'll do my sorry best to duplicate the craftsmanship he did seemingly without even thinking about it. Just a tad jealous...

  10. Glad to see you've got it ready for me!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Glad to see you've got it ready for me!!


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