Saturday, November 01, 2008

11/1/08 Rainy Day

I've been waiting for a rainy day for months! I love the idea of curling up in front of a fireplace with a good book. Even though the reality of that is completely lost (hello? 6, 4 and 2?), I still like the idea.

I'm entering the next emotional stage in remodeling: regrets -- suddenly being struck with things you wonder if you shouldn't have done differently. It's like just getting on the road for a big trip, and your mind (well, my mind) instantly starts taking inventory of what you left behind. It's like I just can't be happy without having something to regret. Should we have done fixed showerheads instead of bar-type? Shouldn't we have done complete grilles instead of one row on the sliding doors? Should we have put the kitchen closer to the backyard as our architect had originally suggested? Shouldn't we just have moved?.

And we're still 4 months and many, many tens of thousands of dollars away -- quite early for second-guessing and regrets!

Then I'm oddly comforted by relatively minor decisions. We were forced to replace the floor of the front porch (the old one was damaged). Seeing the new one, we just decided last Friday not to paint it, but rather, to clear-coat it. It's vertical-grain fir, and it will make the entryway stunning. Not very farmhouse-y, but beautiful.

Well, what the heck, while I'm looking at pictures, here are a few more. Sheetrock is up! It completely changes the house.

Remember walking through the old swinging door in the dining room, into my dysfunctional cave of a kitchen?

Now look.

This hall has become one of our favorite things in the house, and it was suggested just a few weeks ago by our next-door neighbor. The arched entryway was going to lead to a built-in bookshelf, but we switched that bookshelf area with a door entering the guest suite. The original design made a lot more sense until you actually stood in the space, and our architect agreed happily. It now leads straight through the guest room into the West yard, which we had limited access to before.

Hang an immediate left (from photo above) and you enter the new kitchen (through the open entryway on the right in the photo below). This is the view of the new kitchen with your back to the backyard.

You'd be amazed how difficult it is to come up with a tile design for that oh-so-central arched niche! If you're me, anyway.

Our guests will be very comfortable with a bench in the guest shower, and two niches to set all their doodads into. White wire shower holders are permanently vanquished from this house! I'm insane about built-in spaces, and showers without ample places to set things down drive me crazy.

The guest suite isn't just out of the goodness of our hearts, though, lest our far-away family feel pressured to negotiate crowded airplanes. The local demographic strongly favors additional living quarters for multigenerational families. We didn't do it just for resale, but that helped justify the decision to add a bathroom here.

Standing in the kitchen, this is what I'll look out at much of my time. Of course, it'll be painted, and our contractor (left) and his electrician (center) won't be there.

Actually, the electrician isn't a subcontractor, he's an employee of the company. Many of the guys working onsite are direct employees. I like the extra contact and control and investment you get from that. The electrician in particular takes pride in his work and has grown to like our house, and us I think, so it's more than just a faceless jobsite to him.

I wasn't going to spend any time blogging tonight. But that never works. Looking at photos of our work-in-progress helps relieve anxieties about things we should have done differently. It reminds me that it's our home, that we'll live there again someday, and it's more than just a serious time, energy and money sink. I spent most of the afternoon cooking, another new comfort, that makes me feel at home wherever I am.

And the first rainy day back in our new house will be spent curling up in front of one of the fireplaces with a good book...7, 5 and 2 notwithstanding!


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