Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Sometimes you just need to take a break from the real world.  
This is one of those times.  
My real world involves too much work, too many deadlines. 
Too much divisiveness.
So much hurt.

Sometimes all that hurt sparks an urge to create.

This feels like one of those times.
So after careful consideration 
(also known as unrelenting, unproductive conversation),
my family decided this would be the perfect time to remodel our downstairs.
We kind of had a plan.
But not really.

The front two rooms of our house currently look like the back room of the Goodwill.
Everything is stacked up so we can work on the living room and kitchen.
It is crazy making.
But oddly enough, it distracts me from the rest of the world 
which is also...
crazy making.

When we moved in, our house was only about a year old. 
Much had been left untouched.
The landscape which was one of the first things to fix 
and was discussed long ago in these pages.
That part is my jam.  
I can whip a surburban lawn into shape in no time.
In fact, our yard has grown and overgrown
itself several times since then.

The inside of our house was basically builder grade
with no changes.
The owner lived there a year but ultimately decided 
to move to a quieter street
in an adjoining neighborhood.

There was some unfortunate Laura Ashley wall paper.
But that is a mere memory.

We built a fence.
We painted some rooms.
Then came the precious second born child.

So there was a pause.
After the pause there was more painting.
We added a deck.
And a stone backsplash in the kitchen.
We fixed a bunch of stuff that the builders messed up.
Nonsexy stuff like moving the hot water tank out of the attic over our closet.
Replacing the crappy HVAC unit.
But we did stuff.

There are two projects that have bugged since I stepped through the door.
Fireplace in living room and master bathroom.
Both are huge and disruptive.
Not able to be completed in a weekend.

Today's install is a glimpse into what gutting the living room looks like.
It's mostly in pictures.
I couldn't possibly begin to describe HOW we did this.
We barely know ourselves.


Ta-dah!  Behold the green marble and awkward cutout that must go

It's possible that you would not describe this as a monstrosity.
You are entitled to your opinion even when you are wrong.
Green marble surrounding a dangerous gas fireplace.
Strangely too-high cut out for a deep deep TV.
These 'features' were installed by builders who didn't actually 
try to sit on a couch and watch TV in this cutout.
Or watch their toddler shove their dogs tail into the exact 
place the flame would be if this was ever ignited.
Also...where is the mantel?
Who decided to frame this like a picture?
Or the top cutout like a window?

Well, sorry if you like them.
Now they are gone.
No one who knew them is missing them at all.

Here are pictures from demo day
We live in the south so we can have windows open in January

My shirt says 'Namaste Bitches'  

I am a small person...and this was dangerous.  But fun.

We hauled out the fireplace (and sold it on craigslist).
We took out all the molding.
and then we worked on reshaping.

It took a lot longer to get this done than any rational carpenter would think.
We'd never built custom cabinetry before.
We had never messed with drywall before.
We had rarely used a miter saw or a table saw before this.
But like all broke (and broken) people, we can do hard things!
And this was not easy..
Here it is coming along:

And here it is a few days (weeks) later.  Are you starting to see it?
My mother in law was convinced there was going to be a fish tank in here.
Long live the 70s!
There will be no fish tank.

Getting closer.....almost there

I spent New Year's Eve doing this:

So that the first day of 2017 could look like this:

Of course...Now I'm back to painting. 
This was just phase 1.
We had to paint the ceiling because we had to repair a crack.
And now we're painting the walls because this color is no longer working for me.
And then we will be replacing floors.
So the front rooms still look like the back room of the Good will.
But positive change is happening.
Even in all this mess.

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