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The Reveal

18 Mar

Now that SFC has seen the finished work at the house, I guess I can share the photos. Lord knows I had enough to say about the whole process as it went on…

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Think Globally, Act Locally

25 Oct

I spent a few hours the other day on the hunt. The hunt for a solution to my lighting troubles. And in the end, I was reminded of the value of acting locally and how customer service really makes a difference.

Before the renovation even got underway, I had already purchased much of the materials that would be used. And they sat in the basement waiting. Time went by and piece by piece the materials got pulled out of the basement and installed. The pile of materials had dwindled down until only the light fixtures and paint were left.

The day came for the lights to go in. I happened to be at the house with the electricians and proudly pulled out my sleek undercabinet fixtures. I explained that the plan was for them to be installed in a continuous run the length of the cabinet. The electrician then looked at me and said without so much as a pause, “We’ve never worked with those before.” Uh-oh. So we spent the better part of the next hour looking at the installation instructions, looking at the fixtures, and looking at each other because the diagrams and the fixtures didn’t match.

I called the manufacturer who told me there was a connector available but I couldn’t buy it directly from them.

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One, Two, Cha, Cha, Cha

18 Oct

I’m trying to keep a positive spin on the renovation experience. Most days it feels like two steps forward, one step back. I suppose if I were a different person, I could embrace the notion of each day being a surprise when I get home and not be so disappointed by the disruptions in progress. But I’m not. And I don’t.

I’d say the work is about 75 to 80 percent complete. So why is it that this last bit is so difficult to get through? I’ve spent weeks surrounded by destruction, construction, dust and debris. At the height of all the chaos, when the kitchen and bath were merely shells of their former selves, I had far more patience. As work progressed and the pieces started coming together in the form of floors and cabinets and appliances, the idea of being done seemed to become more elusive and out of reach…which of course, makes me want it even more.

Patience Grasshopper

11 Oct

Life is filled with ‘hurry up and wait’ right now. With SFC being away I hurry up and wait for phone calls or emails. And with the renovation that took months to begin, I hurry up and wait to get my house back in order. At least I know that one of those things should happen in the not too distant future. That’s because in the last two days, two major milestones have been reached.
Appliances have been delivered. So what if they’re sitting in the middle of the dining room? They’re here and ready to go. It was quite something to watch the delivery guys haul away our old stove down the wickedly steep back steps. If our house had been built today, there’s no way those steps would be up to code…too dangerous.
And the countertop has been installed. What can I say, it’s beauteous. When the new lighting is installed and shines down on that beautiful black stone, it’s really going to be something. Best of all, we have more counter space now than before. By using a smaller stove and sink, we gained about a foot of counter. In a tiny kitchen, every inch counts.
Now I’m hoping that we pick up some momentum and get the rest of the work wrapped up because I’m pretty tired of all this waiting.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

4 Oct

Wednesday was a busy day at 2158.

The tub guy showed up bright and early. Back when the shower tile was being installed, there was a little accident and the tub was chipped. Instead of just letting a professional fix it, the installer tried to cover it up. He might be skilled with tile but he sucked at tub repair. So the contractor had a porcelain guy lined up to make it all better. Since we were going to the trouble of reglazing one part of the tub when the whole thing really needed it, and since I wouldn’t be able to use the tub for two days either way, I arranged for the entire tub to be resurfaced.

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All In A Day’s Work

1 Oct
I’m starting to feel a little better about how things are shaping up in the kitchen. The weekend work resulted in doors, drawers, and hardware going on the cabinets.

So after a much needed nap on my reclaimed basement sofa (previously home to the 80 flats and miscellaneous packages that have been transformed into cabinets), the migration of displaced kitchen goods began. Since there’s no sink yet in the kitchen, everything had to be hauled to the basement, rinsed in the utility sink, dried, hauled back upstairs, and put away.

We went with a slightly different cabinet configuration than what we had so I think it’s going to take a while for me to really figure out where everything goes. Poor SFC, he’s not going to know where anything is when he comes home.

Caution – Men at Work

28 Sep
And no, I don’t mean the 80’s band…although I’m amazed at how good Overkill sounds as an acoustic track – check it out on iTunes.

(Note to readers – grab a comfy chair and settle in for a long one.)

Work at the house has been underway since the 12th. The progress has been slow going. I’ve even been reduced to petitioning to St. Jude – patron saint of hopeless cases, things almost despaired of – to intercede. Work happens in spurts. Some days I come home to find that the crew has been hard at work, other days nobody has been here at all. It’s totally random.

For instance, not long after I got home from TIFF, the kitchen looked like this:


Cabinets completely removed, subfloor installed, new electrical lines run.

From there it took almost a week for new cabinets to be placed:

At about 5pm on Friday the contractor called to see if the guys could come in and work the next morning. Um, yeah, but I am completely shocked and honestly a little sad that noisy, dusty work will get me out of bed early on a Saturday.

LIFE LESSON #1 – Have patience.
LIFE LESSON#2 – Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

I’m sure there are more Life Lessons in this whole experience that I just haven’t discovered yet. One Life Lesson I knew going into the renovation, thanks to many hours of viewing of home improvement/home flipping shows on cable, is that sometimes it pays to hire a professional. It’s amazing how, in the name of saving a dollar, people who should know better will take on the challenge of perfoming skilled labor. What they don’t consider is that hiring someone who knows what they’re doing is cheaper in the long run. By the time you add up the cost of wasted time and materials from messing up as you work your way through the learning curve, the contractor’s number to do things aren’t so bad.

The agenda for this weekend is pretty ambitious. But if the guys are willing to work on a Saturday, who am I to say no? And at the end of the day, it may help to keep us on schedule which is kind of funny since despite my tendency to try and have a plan for everything, I never actually asked the contractor how long the job would take. I figured that three to four weeks was a pretty optimistic timetable to complete the work. But I didn’t want to tie my expectations to a specific date only to be disappointed or frustrated if it took longers. I’ve got my fingers crossed that two weeks from now I’ll be putting away everything from the kitchen and dining room that has made its way to other places in the house…and of course, getting professional help to clean up all the mess.

I sincerely cannot wait to have my house back. Since work began, I’ve been literally pushed into a corner…a corner of a table with a folding chair in the living room where I eat frozen meals, watch tv, and try to keep on top of household chores like paying bills. There has been no refuge or relaxation in the house for weeks. But there is reason to be hopeful; next week should be busy here at 2158 – countertop templating and floor tile are scheduled which will open the door for appliances to be delivered and hooked up, finish work can begin, paint can go on the walls, and the electrical work can be completed.

I am confident that by the time SFC comes home on leave (still don’t know when that will be but definitely not in the next few weeks), the renovation will be complete and the kitchen and bath will have been transformed. Won’t he be surprised by how different everything looks?