Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Living Through a Home Remodeling Project


It has been almost two years since we remodeled our kitchen, and I’m pretty excited to start a new project soon. We are having our master bathroom remodeled. Goodbye black toilet and bathtub. Good riddance crazy shower door that people keep telling me looks like a confessional. Hope to never see you again shiny red tile. (We call it our Liberace bathroom.)  

Bling-bling gone wrong!
I know many people cringe at the thought of remodeling. Complete disorder for weeks, a fine layer of dust that keeps coming back for months after the job is finished, and the unpredictability that comes with any remodeling job just isn’t their thing. I’m not fond of those parts either, but there were a lot of positives that came along with the kitchen remodel, not including the awesome end result. We had fun!
(Tip for dealing with the fine dust: Change the air filter in your furnace every few days during the job.)

My 'Before' kitchen was way too small
Cooking was a challenge, but we overcame it with “campfire” nights where we roasted hotdogs in the fireplace. I made meals in the slow cooker. Family invited us over for dinner. We had pizza and movie nights.

Life was simplified. We had four cups, four plates, four spoons, and four forks. They were washed in a basin as soon as they were used, so I never had to deal with piled up dishes. When it’s all you have, you keep up with it too. After having the kids out of school for the holiday weekend and me spending way too much time in the kitchen washing dishes, I’m tempted to pack the extra dishes away. I swear they use five to six glasses a day each when they are home, but if they only had one...

I loved picking out all of the different elements (cabinets, tile, countertop, lights, hardware) and watching the room slowly come together. My daughter and I would take pictures to post on Facebook every night, and she would jump into the frame at the last second. We had our own version of “Where’s Waldo”.



We grew fond of our contractor and his right-hand guy, and I actually felt sad when they were finished. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of men coming and going, the sound of hammering, and the surprising conversations they had when they didn’t think I could hear. At least I’m assuming they didn’t know I could hear them. Did you know some guys talk about relationships just like women do???

Our kitchen remodel was happening at the same time I had a huge deadline. It seems like that would be the worst time, but it lit a fire under me. I was excited by the daily progress on the kitchen and it translated into daily progress on my novel. Plus, some days I was forced to retreat to the public library, which helped to keep me on task.

My mostly finished new kitchen in 2011

So here I am almost two years later, deadline looming in the near future, and we’re about to jump into another adventure. I can’t wait! Do you have a big project you would like to tackle this coming year?

24 comments:

  1. Samantha, the new kitchen is stunning! Modern, yet warm and inviting. Congrats!!

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  2. Thank you, Tracey! I was amazed by what they could do. The result was beyond anything I ever imagined. :)

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  3. I did tackle a big project: I rented a thirty foot dumpster because I've been in my house twenty years, and nobody needs three nonfunctioning Christmas tree stands, ET CETERA. At first I thought, "I will never fill that sucker..."
    Now, I'm eying the sofa the dog has claimed and thinking, "That'll fit in the dumpster too."

    Hoping the next phase is creation of a writing space, conducive to generating a quantity of good stories in domestic comfort.

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  4. Grace,
    That sounds like a great idea! Our house seemed like it had so much space when we moved in seven years ago, but it doesn't take any time to fill it up. If there's room in the dumpster when they start the remodel, we should toss a few things in it.

    Just imagine how many quality stories you could crank out with a comfortable writing space. Nora Roberts better watch out! ;D

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  5. Lovely kitchen redo, Samantha!! I had my bathroom, closet and bedroom tiled in one peach tile. It's beautiful, after having a blue carpet, blue tile in part of the bathroom and white tile in another. One tile. A major disaster had led to that.

    Then I had to redo the kitchen, another disaster--oven quit working, couldn't get another that would fit so that I could still open the dishwasher--you talk about small kitchens. But to have a built-in oven so I could open the dishwasher, I had to have counter top burners--which meant redoing the counters, and they don't do backsplashes any longer, and so had to redo the walls. I usually need a disaster to encourage me to renovate.

    But my next project is to have the carpeting ripped out of the 2 guest bedrooms and replaced and then have my "office" carpeting pulled up and tiled--including the kitchen front foyer and laundry room and bathroom--all have different tiles! I know it'll be beautiful when it's done. Can't wait!

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  6. Gorgeous new kitchen! You are a brave woman to start something new with a deadline looming. Good luck and let us see the pictures when you are done. My next project is redoing a tiny bathroom. Husband says to call the contractors. He'll redo my office but he's not touching plumbing again!

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  7. Terry,
    Every time we finish a project, it makes the rest of the house look like a dump. LOL. I can totally relate to having a long list of rooms to redo. I can't believe we've been living with the horrible bathroom for seven years. It's so small and hideous. Fortunately, I'm able to block it from my mind when I go in there using the skills I've developed as a writer. In my mind, it's gorgeous. Hahaha...

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  8. Thanks, Carolyn.
    Contractors are definitely the way to go with us. My hubby and I are not good at home projects. It took us a while to figure it out. The first trip to the ER should have been our clue. ;)

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  9. I think it might be nice NOT to do any big projects. And I admire you for undertaking that project. the end result is GORGEOUS!

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  10. Omigosh, Samantha, I know what you mean! But it's such an upheaval. We made it work, but this time it means disconnecting my computer/internet, etc, and so it's going to be a major nightmare! :)

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  11. Very nice, Samantha. My husband recently remodeled our kids' bathroom. Thank goodness we had another full bath everyone could use. I couldn't imagine not having the kitchen. I think I'd be camping out with my family.

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  12. Thanks, Shana!
    I would love it if our house had been move-in ready. It needed a lot of work, which I wouldn't normally want after being a homeowner of two other houses. But it was the right house for us. We knew it immediately when we walked inside, even though it had some really ugly outdated features aka lime green shag carpet and paneling. Blech!

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  13. Victoria,
    I don't know what we'd do if we didn't have another bathroom. A porta-potty wouldn't cut it! LOL

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  14. Your kitchen looks great.. Just like you would see on one of the HDTV shows...
    I rent, so there is not really any big remodling I can do without the landlords persmission. But I am hoping this coming year for him to do some work in the bathroom. They painted the kitchen and living room for me this year and I bought some new living room furniture. Now like I said I want to get things changed int he bathroom.. Lets hope for the best.

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  15. Love you kitchen.
    I started with small renovations at our house in NC. The next house I tackled was in England, taking every part of the house back to it's original period (the first two rooms dated to the late 1400's)and added a French style potager, then I renovated the house in Germany and added three garden rooms. In VA, I added another French potager and 2200 sq ft. Now that I'm in St. Thomas, I had to be pushed to replace the deck that was rotten in some places.

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  16. Love your kitchen. I live with a builder and made the mistake of buying a real fixer-upper. Our home has been a construction site for the entire time we've lived there--all twelve years. When my son comes home on December 20th he and DH are going to pull the ceilings down in my office, the dining room, and the kitchen to finish installing the heating system (we have radient heat). I wish I could afford all new cabinets--believe me, I can't wait to get rid of my 1940's kitchen.

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  17. I lived through a kitchen remodeling about 25 years ago. My son was a few months old and my hubby and his friend did the work over spring break from their engineering classes. I survived. The baby survived. My DH nearly lost his mind. But that kitchen was beautiful, and so is yours!

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  18. I remember when we moved into our new house several years ago we decided to remodel the kitchen, doing most of the work ourselves (and by that I mean mostly my husband and his friends) within two weeks. After he gutted the kitchen one night I realized we had made a terrible mistake - but it was too late! I'm happy with how it ended up but it was sure stressful! Good luck with your project!

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  19. Thank you, Kathleen. :)
    There is something to be said for renting. It's nice that if something goes wrong, you have a landlord to call to fix it. It sounds like your landlord is pretty responsive, too. Good luck with getting the bathroom done!

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  20. Wow, Ella! That sounds like a lot of work, and very cool. I'd love to see pictures some time if you have them. :)

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  21. Thanks, Robin!
    At least the 1940s can be described as quaint. 1980s teal flowered wall paper and almond appliances. Blech! But when you're tired of it, you're tired of it. :)

    I suppose that's a drawback to living with a builder. I bet your hubby doesn't want to hire someone to do what he does for a living.

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  22. Thank you, Amanda. There is definitely that moment of panic when everything is torn apart, but it really is worth it in the end. :)

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  23. A red and black bathroom? That sounds like it could either be awesome or ominous. But I'm a guy - so my opinion is probably moot.

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  24. I don't know about that red and black tile. It can be tough to survive renovations, especially in the kitchen or bathroom or when floors be being redone. Often the homeowner does wind up having a great rapport with the contractor by the time the project is completed.

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