Category Archives: renovation

project addition: this is huge

This is huge. (Just please don’t say that in a Trump-voice.)

Just wanted to celebrate what might seem like a really minor, unglamorous milestone to most, but is huge for our project. We have all signed, sealed, sworn, notarized documents / maintenance agreements / general buy-in on the project. As I’ve mentioned before, this can make or break a project when building on just a tiny, narrow lot. Sure, there are ways to get around stubborn, non-committal neighbors, but those methods are long, drawn out, expensive, and not always effective. So this is big. It took a bit longer than we thought, but we put together a reasonable package, took the time to answer questions, tried to make the notarization process less onerous – and in the end, both neighbors took the time to get their own documents in order for us and delivered them to us. That’s a really, really good feeling.

The structural engineer is hard at work, we’ve had a tree guy out to look at the neighbors’ trees near the property lines, our house is slowly filling up with samples (like fifty shades of black brick), and we’ve got more kitchen appliance appointments set up for the weekend. I’m cranking on sections and interior elevations, we’ve got zoning signoffs in the near future, and we should have some early $$ numbers coming in soon. Then we’ll tighten up the bid set and start making final decisions on the big items, and then the little ones.

Progress, progress… huge progress!

$#&^! ouch


Renovation can be dangerous for your health and safety.


I was at a Back-to-School picnic on Friday night and was talking to a friend and neighbor about the current renovation project in his home. He’s an architect, and his wife is an artist, and they have their own architectural office together. They are doing a pretty large renovation on their home – full kitchen renovation + new bathroom, and some exterior repairs. I asked him how it was going and he laughed. He said that they are the worst clients they’ve ever worked for.

Man, I know how that feels. Working for yourself – or even better – the two of us (!) is not easy. We’re never satisfied! We continually make changes! We keep terrible hours, throwing out suggestions and vetos at ungodly hours! We occasionally throw up our hands and declare that we’re


and we go to bed. The circles under my eyes might be permanent.


We still have tools and a ladder on our second floor from the bathroom renovation. This is because the last few pieces have been trickling in – the missing shower part, the toilet paper holder. We still need to give the white trim a touch up coat of paint, but it’s moved down the priority list while we work on the addition drawings. So it’s all sitting in the stair hall, waiting for a free moment in the distant future.

I came home late Saturday morning and headed up to our office to see how M was coming on the engineer’s redlines. I rounded the corner with bare feet and slammed my left foot – toes four and five – into the foot of the ladder. It hurt like my favorite line* in Hamilton – in the song that we won’t let F listen to because she loves to belt out song lyrics as she plays. 

Holy hurting, it was so painful. Three hours later it was worse, and so I went to get it x-rayed and to see if there was anything I should do outside of toughing it out. I don’t mess around with my feet. I’m obsessed with them now. I need them, and now I’ve broken a part of them. Stupid ladder – moved to that location by me.

Living in projects can be dangerous, and that’s all we know at the moment. I’m aiming for survival. Sometimes it’s touch and go.

*it’s bleeped in the stage production, but just so good! And foot injuries HURT!

project addition: range specs

I keep trying to push real decisions on appliances to the back burner (bad pun, sorry), but I know that we don’t really have the luxury of doing that. At some point we’re going to have to really consider our options and make a selection, because those choices will affect lots of things – power and gas locations, venting requirements, cabinet layout…budget.

I have simple range specs: I want two oven options of some sort and configuration. At least one should be electric and hold my rimmed baking sheets. We don’t have room for wall ovens, and I want to keep things as simple as possible, so I’d love for all of our cooking needs to be met by a single range. I want six burners, minimum, and the ability to have a griddle / grill / high BTU burner. I want a work horse, and I want it to look beautiful in the kitchen. Our kitchen footprint isn’t growing very much, although it’s going to function in a very different way. If we had an enormous show kitchen that you could walk into and see this gleaming professional range and hood and ooh and ahh over it, I think the decision might be a little bit easier. But it’s going to be a very simple galley kitchen, and I want a big range that is a bit diminutive in demeanor. I’d love a white one, with shiny stainless at a minimum. Something that will look amazing next to beautiful wood cabinets.

Once you are carried over that threshold from a standard 30″ range like we have now, the decision seems as complicated as finding the perfect person to marry and settle down with and start a family. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe you just know from the start. I think I might be there.

local-milk-beth-kirby-lacanche-stove-1024x996Photo Source

We visited the home of someone in town that owns a Lacanche range, and it was really nice to see one in person. There are so many configuration options, so there are still a lot of decisions to make and questions to ask. But I think I’ve fallen for it. The owner described it in the same way I’ve organized my thoughts in my head – it’s simple, no computers, nothing digital, it’s just a workhorse that looks elegant while it does its job. To me it’s the perfect blend of clean lines and handcrafted detail. Kind of like I imagine my house to be, a marriage of old and new – and one that functions well for our family.

There are many other ranges to look at and try out, so I’m keeping an open mind about it. 

download gas-ranges-and-electric-rangesBluestar

Most offer white options, but so far they look monstrous in person in a showroom. I feel like they will overwhelm out modest kitchen, and that’s why I’m hesitant to choose one. But they also don’t have to ride over on a ship from France. So there’s that. Long-distance relationships can be tough. But hey, we managed one and it worked out okay. So there’s still hope…