Category Archives: renovation

$#&^! 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…

let’s call this (master bathroom)

Bathroom 15

This weekend has been centered around the addition project. M’s mom came down for the weekend, and she kept the girls entertained while we tried to devote some serious daylight hours to working on that project. We were chained to our desks for the better part of the day, except for… well, you know. Breaks.

The light was particularly wonderful on one of those breaks, so I grabbed my camera and took a few shots of the bathroom. Let’s call this finished. Sure, there are a few things still on order, and the white trim needs a fresh coat of paint, but the majority of the room is together. And it’s glorious. (At least to me. I love this room.)Bathroom 2

Every good ‘after’ series needs a good ‘before’. Here was the second floor when we purchased the house in 2000.  The room to the right was a bathroom added to the second floor unit at some point in the last century. We got rid of it completely.

Bathroom Old

Here’s the same window, whiter and brighter. And the wainscoting, the perfect blue.

Bathroom 12

Here’s another ‘before’ shot – can you believe we actually lived in the house at this time? We still had a ladder in the middle of the house to get to this bathroom – the only one that was working at the time!

Bathroom Befor

I love this photo below – the reflection in the mirror looks like a still life. Probably because I have no self control at the market. The flower vendor there is amazing.

Bathroom 16

Bathroom 17

I bought these flowers because of the mini sunflowers – they made me think of my friend, Nancy, and the pink zinnias matched her pink balloon release this past weekend. I feel like fresh flowers help me reflect and connect to things – the seasons, and the connections they have with people and places. I thought about putting them on a more open table downstairs, but I love the way the colors look against the blue in here. I also love the colors of the painting of E in there. I haven’t settled completely on the final artwork in this room, but I’m trying out various things that we already have on hand.

Bathroom 18

I really love these towels I purchased many months back in anticipation of this project. They are thinner Turkish towels with cotton on one side. I’ve fallen completely in love with them, and so I ordered four more. Also, pegs. Heart eyes.

Bathroom 13

I’ve ordered new white linen shower curtains for the tub. The current waffle weave curtains are in decent shape, but with the redo in here, I thought I could treat the tub to a little face lift as well. I’ll move these up to the girls’ bathroom so that we can circulate them up there as we launder theirs. Come to think of it, the tub did get a face lift – it got a fresh coat of white paint. That was a fun night!

Bathroom 11

Here’s one last shot of the bathroom in that stretch of time between the first mess you saw earlier, and this most recent (final) renovation.

Bathroom Before

Bathroom 10

The old mirror looks pretty in here, but the size is really too small for M. Still mulling over ideas for a replacement, but in the meantime we’re using the original one. I’m in love with the way the Artemide lights turned out in the space. They seem to perch right on the wainscoting, and they are unassuming but also lovely. The light in this room at night is a thousand times better than it was with our old cheesy sconces, and with dimmers it’s really easy to find a good light level for evening soaks. The chifferobe is the perfect size for the room, and has turned out to be such a useful piece. But the pegs are my favorite, hands down. When we packed for our recent vacation, we filled that long wall to the left of the cabinet with items – we hung our individual toiletry bags from them, and filled them as we finished using items. We lay out clothes for the next day, or hang up items that need to air dry. They are so functional – and there are 32 of them! – and also beautiful.

Bathroom 5

So let’s call this done, and let’s celebrate with flowers. (And a celebratory soak!)

bathroom 15