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So, it’s taken a little longer than we expected (doesn’t it always?), but our renovation projects are finally coming to a close.
We moved into our new bedroom the weekend before last and are loving it. We have this enormous bay window with the most incredible view. This is the scene that greeted me each morning last week:
I have yet to order blinds, which is becoming more and more of a problem every day as the trees continue to shed their leaves. I should probably be doing that right now (there’s always so much I should be doing instead of blogging!), but those few days of glorious color inspired my autumn decorating theme:
The closet is done as well and what a joy it is to no longer have to rummage through the storage boxes under my bed to find clothes. Here are some pre-moving in pictures:
And my, how quickly we’ve filled this thing up:
The glass for the shower was just installed today and now Mark and I have to tackle painting the bathroom. We’ve been doing all the painting ourselves to save a few bucks, which has been a huge job because of all the trim and cabinetry. But every day, we’re a tiny bit closer.
And this evening, when Braedan walked into the bathroom to see the completed shower for the first time, he exclaimed, “Wow! This is like that dream house we saw on TV.”
Indeed. And in so many ways.
Our house has been invaded. Third floor to basement, inside and out, from 8 am to 7 pm every day of the week.
It all started with the porch project. This was one of those big plans we had when we first bought the house (exactly two years ago) but put on hold until we sold the other house (exactly three months ago). We happen to live on a lot and a half, which gives us an extra large side yard, most of which we’ve decided to turn into a huge Victorian-style porch that comes off our kitchen, without losing any of the play space in the backyard. We laid the foundation last fall and then began in earnest this spring. It’s almost finished and spectacularly gorgeous and I promise we’ll invite you all over for a drink one of these fabulous summer evenings.
We’ve also long planned to paint the exterior of the house this summer, which starts on Monday. And Mark and I are actively re-landscaping the front, shoveling an awful lot of dirt on these fabulous summer evenings (instead of enjoying a cool drink with friends on that lovely porch).
There were a few windows that had yet to be replaced, so that’s been happening this week, with a crew of five guys, who are very pleasant but reek of cigarette smoke, traipsing in and out all day long, upstairs, downstairs, in between. Which is just great when Braedan starts randomly opening doors as I’m changing my clothes and — lo and behold — there just happens to be a strange man on a ladder outside the window. Great.
I’m sure our neighbors love us!
And since the invasion was already underway, we decided to do it all at once (and get it over with) and tackle our master suite renovation. Demolition started last week and we are now sequestered to the front half of the upstairs, having lost access to our bathroom, three closets and two small bedrooms.
And the someday master closet …
It really will be lovely, I swear.
Now I’m not complaining or anything (am I?) because I know I am extremely lucky to be able to do all this and we are very very excited for the end product, which will basically be our dream house. But it is a little hard to feel so invaded (especially when I’ve been caring for sick kids). The guy who is doing our indoor renovation is also the guy who is building our porch and happens to be a friend of ours. The second day of demo, as I balked at the temporary walls he was constructing to contain the dust and debris, he kindly said, “Listen, this is your house. You have to tell me if something isn’t okay and if you want it done another way.”
“Well, sure,” I replied, “except that there’s no other way to do this. What should I tell you? Finish tomorrow and get on outta here?”
No, can’t do that. Instead we’re the ones who’re gonna get on outta here.
More from the road ….
It really wasn’t our dream house. But it took us a while to figure that out. Actually, it took us being outbid to figure that out, so we’re quite thankful and none of you need to offer us the sympathy that you’ve been very kindly offering over the past week.
It was a beautiful house, fabulously redone, and there are a few rooms that I still wish I had the chance to repaint and decorate and live in. The dining room, which had a curved wall of windows, and the 26-by-26-foot living room are among them. Yes, you read that right: TWENTY-SIX square feet. How does that make my city-dwelling readers feel? Those rooms and the walk-in closets and the master bedroom will all be missed. But the kitchen, which aside from my “office” is where I spend all my time, was less than ideal. It had been updated and had great countertops and nice cabinetry, but because of the attached garage, it did not have a view of the backyard or the driveway. And now that the house is not ours and never will be, I can admit what a huge problem that would have been. In our current house, I can easily see the kids as they play on the swingset from my regular position washing dishes and I can see who goes up and down the driveway, and it would have been very isolating to not have that view (to not have any view actually; the sink faced a granite wall). So we are not disappointed to not be moving in there.
But we do love the block and we are ever hopeful that some other opportunity might arise there in the next year or so. In the meantime, we are continuing on with the improvements we furiously started on our house a few weeks ago, albeit more slowly now that an impending move isn’t driving us forward. Those of you who’ve been following this story since the beginning may remember the ceiling that fell in back in September of 2007. This was right in the midst of the absolute worst week we had ever had, which has only ever been topped by the more recent “recurrence” weeks. We found out on a Wednesday that Austin’s primary tumor was resistant to chemo and that it had grown by 50% over a four-week period. He then had that almost six-pound tumor and the entire right kidney removed on Friday. He was released from the PICU late Friday night and was just embarking on what proved to be an excrutiatingly long and difficult road to recovery, while Mark and I were anxiously awaiting the pathology results that would define the rest of our lives, when Mark went home on Saturday afternoon to find that Braedan’s bedroom ceiling had fallen in. Just crashed to the floor, in various bits and pieces of dust and plaster. Well, we obviously couldn’t be bothered with it then and there, and after a few months we moved Braedan into what was then the second floor office and moved the office downstairs to the sunroom (which, while beautiful and sunny, was never actually used when it was the sunroom). And Braedan’s original room has sat empty for the past year and a half! No, not empty; it has become the “art room,” which means it is strewn with construction paper and markers and crayons and glitter paint at any given moment. If you have an “empty” room in your house, you won’t be surprised to hear that it has also become the repository for anything and everything that we’re not using or that we don’t know what to do with. From my winter clothes, which have yet to make their way up to the third floor cedar closet, to all the pants and shoes my boys have outgrown to suitcases full of law books, it has turned into a space that is much easier to ignore than to tackle. Part of the reason we never repaired the ceiling is that there is also something wrong with the chimney that runs through the walls of that room. So anyway (!), we have finally found the source of the chimney problem which will be surprisingly easy and cheap to fix and will finally repair the ceiling and then repaint the walls and hopefully move Braedan back in there before we end up putting the house on the market.
So this was all a long and convoluted way of saying we are glad the deal fell through on the white house. It just wasn’t “us.” Mark described it as that feeling you have when you’re single and you know someone else who’s single and available and they’re nice enough and smart enough and attractive enough and you really feel like you just ought to give it a try, but something just isn’t there. The chemistry, the “this is it, this is right” feeling, just isn’t there.
We’re gonna wait for that.