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The Rooms
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105 N. Alister Street

Port Aransas, TX



Renovation Photos

We are literally rebuilding the hotel from the inside out.  This is similar to changing a flat tire without stopping the car -- but we have come a very long way! 

Exterior Landscaping  When we purchased the motel in April 2010, the landscaping was a weed-infested mish-mash of white marble and washed-out redwood bark.

The solution?  Fifty bags of volcanic rock, and several days of back-breaking labor.  The results are gorgeous...

It's amazing -- these trees are 50% taller now than in these photos!

The lava rock looks spectacular.

The tree in front of the big sign has been moved to the South side of the property.

Oleander bushes bloom year 'round on the island!

White borders on lava rock just looks sharp.

Building Exterior  In October, 2010 we started adding "gingerbread" to the exterior. As can be seen in the pix, below, those little details really make a nice difference. The scrolly things somehow tie the whole porch together, no?

Before the scrolly things.

After the scrolly things.

Pool Area Renovation

From the first moment we saw the Harbor Inn, we knew the pool had to be completely renovated. 

Starting the day after we took possession, April 20, 2010, the pool was completely resurfaced and brought up to legal code.

Here are the "Before" and "After" photos -- what a difference!


The entire pool had to be drained, sandblasted, and replastered.

New, legal drains also had to be installed. It was an incredible job.


THAT is more like it!

Absolutely gorgeous!

Jay enjoys a dip, right after we filled it.

Room Renovations

After purchasing the motel in April, 2010, we had *just* enough time to do the landscaping, the pool, the hot tub, all-new linens and towels, the HDTVs -- and then all hell broke loose!   For the next 90 straight days, we were too busy to renovate anything else.

Starting the day after Labor Day, however, we tore into our first few rooms.  This has continued now for almost two years.   Here are some pix!

Room 23 -- the Amelia Earhart Room

Room 23 -- soon to be "The Amelia Earhart" Room

The cheesy indoor-outdoor carpet had to go!

Unfortunately, we discovered that it was held down by the best glue known to mankind.

It was a war of inches, getting that old carpet out!

To put in a new shower, we had to move the floor drain. What a nightmare THAT was.

A soft spot in the floor had to be cut out and replaced.

The old cobbled-together vanity had to GO.

Putting down new subfloor.

Where the new shower was about to go.

Jay, installing the new stand-up shower.

New subfloor ahead of the tile.

Cement board around the shower ensures no soft walls in the future.

A tile border really dresses up the shower.

Starting to come back together.

Laying tile is fun! (Not!)

Can you say "Oh, my aching knees!"?

A new fiberglass door.

Remodeling while remaining open makes for long hours.

Now that is looking pretty good!

That's the way it should look!

Room 19, the Red Baron Room

Room 19 had only one redeeming trait when we bought the motel -- it came with a beautiful Pergo wood floor. Sadly, the previous owners had botched the installation by laying the wood planks UP TO the kick molding, rather than taking the time to remove the old molding first.

Because of this, it was impossible for them to cut the boards perfectly up to the molding, so they had a bunch of gaps to cover. Their solution? Hammer ANOTHER layer of floor molding ON TOP of the original molding!  Better yet, they used a different color molding, for a truly classy look. Brilliant!

Removing the molding turned out to be a nightmare, since it was BEHIND the wood floor boards.  We practically had to tear out the walls to get it off!  After both layers of molding were removed, I needed to replace it with a thicker wood that would cover the huge gaps.  Trouble was, no one makes molding thick enough to cover a 3/4" gap anymore.

Solution? Make my own.

Thus, Room 19 has hand-routed, hand-made molding -- a feature you won't find in too many island motels!  Add new paint, some electrical work, new plumbing fixtures, and lots of detail work (all new faceplates, etc.) to round out the room.  We think it turned out great!  See the pix, below...

Room 19 -- soon to be "The Red Baron" room

Making the molding in my off-site workshop.

Yes, the previous owners had PAINTED AROUND THE PICTURES ON THE WALL. Really!

New molding really dresses it up.

Nothing like a 32" HDTV to make for a nice stay!

The Parking Lot Nightmare

When we bought the hotel, it was evident that the parking lots had not been maintained in a very long time.  The very first thing I did was to shovel THREE truck loads of sand out of the lots.

I seal-coated the South Lot in late 2010, but it was evident that the North lot was going to need more attention than I could fix with a few buckets of goo from Lowe's. The old pavement was full of cracks and potholes.  So, we started looking for a paving company. 

No dice.  I couldn't even get one to return phone calls.  Supposedly we were in the middle of The Great Recession, but the paving companies in Texas were obviously going strong!

In March, 2011, I received a phone call from one of the companies I had contacted in 2010, called "Asphalt Pavers" out of San Antonio.  Did I still want my parking lots repaved?  "Heck, yes!" was my reply.  Amazingly, they had a few "extra loads" of asphalt from another job in Corpus Christi, and they could be by in just a few hours. 

This SHOULD have been "Warning Flag #1", but I was so happy to hear from someone, that I bit...hard.  They came by, we negotiated a great price -- and they paved the back half of the South lot, which was in the worst shape.   It looked GREAT when they were done. 

In fact, it looked so great, that Mary and I agreed to bite the bullet, spend money we didn't have -- and gave them the go-ahead to pave the rest of the South lot, too! 

When they finished, it looked fabulous -- for a few weeks.  Then I noticed that cars were able to scrub loose rock up simply by turning their steering wheels while stationary, or by accelerating quickly.  It soon became obvious that those "extra loads" of asphalt did not have enough binder in the mix, and that our parking lot had been paved with highly compressed black rock, instead of real asphalt.

What to do?  Calls to the paving company went unanswered.  Our "1 year warranty" was worthless.  When I finally got ahold of Jack, the guy who owned the company, he said he would "Be by in a few days to take a look".   We are still waiting for him to show up.

So, in August (see the pix, below) I realized that we had two options: 

1. Tear up the lots, and start over.

2. Have the lots seal-coated and re-striped, and hope that the extra layer of tar/goo would hold the surface together.

We opted for #2, simply because we could not afford to do #1 again.  Here are photos of the whole ordeal.  In the end, it looks great!

Jack, driving the equipment in March of 2011.

They were very professional -- so we thought.

Their crew was very polite, and stayed with us for a couple of nights at the hotel.

We had no idea that this stuff was NOT asphalt.

There's Jack, doing his thing. He had to know that this stuff was NOT asphalt.

It looked great, for a few months.

Here's what it looked like just 5 months later. This is what I blew into a pile with a leaf blower.

That filled a 44 gallon garbage can. The surface of the lot was just coming up every time the wind blew.

So, in August, we hired a company to seal coat it. We are hoping that this holds it together for a few years.

The stuff they put down seems to be holding the surface together, as I'm typing this a week later.

Of course, the lot had to be restriped, after they were done.

It looks great -- again. Good money after bad? Only time will tell!


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