*Lyrics from St. Vincent‘s Champagne Year from the Strange Mercy album. I still really adore this album, and this song really just felt appropriate for this post. I don’t think I’ve used it before, but I apologize if I have. Plus, we at the new job were all discussing that we felt that this coming year was going to be good. Perhaps not a champagne year, but, well, we could all use a bit of a respite from doom, couldn’t we?
So, I’ve been pretty absent from the blog lately, and, well, that’s because I’ve been pretty busy in real life. We got the pied-à-deux livable, and then had to immediately return to life in the Big House, in part because I was asked to help some clients design a whole house remodel. You heard that right: they found a fixer in an incredible neighborhood (on a coveted street) and wanted to just go for it. And they requested me. (Picture a small tear of gratitude welling in my eye.)
Having seen Dave’s craftsmanship and my design work in this kitchen and bath, as well as my entire house, they asked to have us come through the house and toss out a few ideas. You can’t imagine how overwhelming it is to meet new people, have brokers, builders, and other subs there, and to try to get to know someone’s taste/aesthetic/vibe right away. As we walked through the house, I got a feeling right away for what it should look like. For how it should be changed to meet the needs of a modern family. I felt like I could do a good job. And I was scared shitless.
*Lyrics from “If I Were a Bell” as sung by Beverly Kenney which can be found on her album Come Swing With Me. I know this song from Guys and Dolls (the movie), but this version is decidedly sweeter, and somehow fresher than the version I know so well. Maybe it’s because I have Mad Men on the brain, or maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to the Ella Fitzgerald station on Pandora. Either way, this song, combined with the crazy-beautiful weather we’ve been having, has been lingering in my mind.
Ok, so, remember how at the end of last summer I teamed up with Dave, Jonas and Pappy to help some clients renovate their kitchen and powder room? Of course you do. But, in case you may have forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory.
Well, now it looks like this:
Remember way back when, in late August, when we closed on a condo for my mom to live in? I mean, really, if you read this blog at all how could you forget. But, what you may have forgotten is what it looked like before we got our grubby mitts on it. Oh, and I have some semi-after pictures for you, too. So there.
Now that the dust has settled a bit, and mom’s things have arrived, her old place has been relinquished back into the hands of her landlady, I can start to appreciate the entire journey that was renovating the condo. It was rough, for sure, but it was my lifelong dream to be able to give my mother a home. Of course, when I first imagined that I was probably 12, and thought she might like a cottage in Canada. She might still, but she’ll have to settle for a condo minutes from her only grandchild. (Something tells me she’s pretty ok with the current situation, and has no desire to move to Canada, Joni Mitchell or not.) I could not have done any of this without my dear husband, Jeff, for whom I am eternally grateful for being in my life. (He barely reads my blog, but when he does I hope he feel sufficiently embarrassed for being singled out.) I love you forever. Thank you for giving my mom a home.
*Lyrics from Matthew Wilder’s hit 80’s song “Break My Stride.” The video is pretty remarkable – the fashion, the dancing, the Solid Gold. I’ve been saving this one up for today’s post.
Day 1: Client Kitchen & Bath Renovation
It’s hard to imagine that last year at this time Jeff and I were excitedly and nervously counting the days in our own renovation, already hitting day 11 by the beginning of August. Well, today was day 1 for my clients’ (heretofore known as Mr & Mrs K) kitchen and bathroom renovation. I don’t know that they’re as nervous or excited as we were, but I know that they’ll be counting the days as we did. How can you not? I mean, when more than half of your house is taken over by teams of people, tools and materials; when the only sounds you can hear during the daytime are hammers banging, power tools vibrating, and things being heaved into a large, and loud, dumpster, it’s pretty hard not to pay attention.
This is the AFTER post. There are no days or weeks to quantify, save for the 16 (plus) weeks that have passed full of work (that’s over 80 days!), and the months prior to that full of planning, shopping, drawing, contemplating, anticipating. There are no more major events happening (I hardly think the installation of a new panel schedule for the new electrical warrants a photo shoot). All that’s left is to enjoy. Oh, and completely rearrange our second floor, and deal with the basement that looks like a stage 3 hoarding situation is happening. But I digress.
First, I must thank everyone who wished us well, who read up on what was happening (even if reading up only included looking at the photos), who showed us love and interest during this life altering process (who partied with us on Saturday!). Your support, your interest, your excitement helped when things got tough. Which they did. And when they were going well, your interest fanned the flames of our passion for the project. I am so glad I took the time to blog it out. It made the whole process so much more fun.
When Jeff and I first bought our home, we knew we’d like to overhaul the kitchen someday. We also knew it would be a huge undertaking, one we’d like to really design, and not just redo. So, in the meantime we painted the cabinets, updated our appliances (since most were non-operational), and accessorized as best we could. Now, here it is, our long-awaited renovation is about to begin. Our baby is coming, after months of designing, drawing, consulting, shopping and contemplating.