Kitchen Renovation Week 2 – Is that Dust In My Soup?

I have to be really honest with you. Aside from emptying some cabinets of their contents, taking a few pictures and helping with the design decisions, I haven’t done any of the real work involved in our kitchen renovation. John’s the workhorse here. After Bob and Brian packed up and went home late last week, John got out his tools and went to work. Here’s a bit of what he’s been working on over the last few days.

I know the ceiling looks as if we’re making a dubious color choice, but have no fear … we are not going with a milk chocolate-colored ceiling. It  turns light pink as the plaster dries and then we’ll paint it white. Remember the door that was on the other side of the wall? If you look below you can see where it used to lead to before John closed it for good.

The master bedroom and my studio space were until a few days ago only accessed through a door at the top of the stairs that no longer exists. After John sealed it up, my feet kept wanting to walk the same way out of habit so I stuck a note on the wall to remind me. It’s only a few steps beyond the remaining door, but I got tired of having to back up. The “Closed” sign made John laugh when he saw it and later when I went into the kitchen I noticed he’d posted a sign of his own.

I thought his “Open” sign was pretty cute, but I was really impressed with how he reused the old doorway to close in the new opening from the kitchen to the hallway. 

This photo should have been before the last one as he hadn’t completed the door frame yet, but it gives you a good look at the wall to the right where he closed off the old doorway. The dark boards against the wall are from the hallway. It’s the same wood flooring that runs through the master bedroom and my bathroom and studio space.

Here’s what the space looked like today. Didn’t John do a great job? I’ll be painting the door white over the next few days so it blends in better with the wall and we’re getting rid of all the brass wall plates too. We’re leaving the half-glass door as it is with its natural wood finish.

We’re thinking of oak planks for the kitchen floor, but we’ve got to live with it kind of patchy (like the spot above) while the rest of the kitchen is being finished. John said it’s going to be a few months (more like August) before we’re through with the kitchen/dining room renovation so if you’re coming to see us this summer consider yourself warned. It’s pretty dusty here.

Breaking Down Walls When A Sledgehammer Won’t Do

Yesterday morning I walked down the hallway from our bedroom to make coffee like I do most mornings leaving my husband John behind to sleep a bit longer. The path into the kitchen is not straight forward and as I stepped from the hallway onto the landing and then back through another door into the kitchen, I thought about how by the end of the day, the wall blocking easy access from the hall to kitchen would be gone.

And then just like that I went from visualizing breaking down physical walls to thinking about the emotional walls people sometimes put up and how I deal with them. Frankly, even I think that’s too much for a 6:00 am wake-up and certainly too much for me to be mulling before my first cup of coffee, but I couldn’t help myself.

Some of you already know that I grew up in a home of extremes, a place where my memories until I was 14 alternated between silence and shouting, and anger was meted out in harsh physical ways by raging adults who didn’t bother to hold back. Once I was safely out of my mother’s house and living with my dad and step-mom, my mother cut off all communication with me. I’m not sure there’s a bigger wall than a total lack of communication unless it’s death.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time and money learning how to break down the protective walls I used to put up. They serve no useful purpose after a time and much like the convoluted path from our hall to kitchen, it’s a waste of energy.

Not all barriers can be overcome, but given the right approach and commitment, the results can be obvious.

There are times when a committed attempt to chip away at an unnecessary wall will yield good results given the use of focused energy and proper tools.

One person can only do so much on their own and progress can be slow, but once a breakthrough occurs it may be difficult for the person on the other side to turn their back on the possibility of letting in the light.

Breaking down walls is hard dirty work. You use muscles that you may not have worked with in the past and even with progress towards a common goal, things might appear slightly cloudy at different points.

You may find you feel boxed in and think it better to try to climb over the wall taking a shortcut to a place where it feels easier to move and breathe.

But then you realize that breaking down walls can be easier when you work in tandem with someone else and when both people are committed to the outcome, the results can be seen much faster.

It’s good to know ahead of time that there will still be rough edges to smooth out after the walls are cleared away.

Decisions will usually still need to be made afterwards as you consider which doors you’ll walk through and which you’ll close off.

As you finish for the day, you’ll feel amazed by how much more open things are without the wall and you’ll remember that until it wasn’t until you tired of walking around it that you realized it did not have to be there forever.

Who knew that renovation could be a form of therapy … perhaps there’s a new business model in all that dust.

Ample Make This Bed

Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.

Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.

~Emily Dickinson

3f2fa1e4f575cbd7babb52278b98fe80

Internet Photo Image

After much deliberation, John and I chose a new bed for our resized and redecorated bedroom. Even though our new mattress will not be delivered for a few days, we were too impatient to wait so we shifted the old mattress from the guest bed and tucked in for the night. I am loving the redesign although it was a bit disconcerting in the middle of the night. The whole orientation of the room has shifted including the addition of a new window on a different wall while losing the original larger window.

There is still a good bit to do before I have the big unveiling, but we did hang three pieces of original art yesterday that all work amazing well together. I usually have something other than white walls around me, but John wanted to keep it light and white so the color for me must come in through the artwork and fabric choices. We did choose a dark wood floor which works well with the light wood of the bed and the stark white of the walls.

When I moved to Cornwall, the only piece of furniture I shipped is the chair you see below. This was taken on moving day at my step-mom’s house. I worried that it might not fit in here, but I put it in the new bedroom and John and I think it’s a perfect fit for our new space.

dscn44572

We also decided that the living room could use a new sofa so this one is being delivered next week.  I’ll be back with another decorating post soon. I have a few decisions to make and I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. I am about to go batty trying to decide between a variety of things with for my new studio space and bathroom such as paint colors, bathroom tile, light fixtures, bathroom mirrors, rugs and curtains.

6294690

Internet Photo Image