From Where I Sit – Renovation Woes

Roy was no sooner out of the country than I began a long-delayed project. And I didn’t bother to tell him about the project either during our daily phone calls. I’m not entirely sure he’ll be thrilled when he gets home. Like many men, he was probably secretly hoping I’d forget about the project. Perhaps, he was hoping we would run out of time given so many demands on each of us.

No such luck. Several months ago, we decided to convert a spare bedroom into a bona fide home office. We bought several pieces of kitchen cabinetry with the intention of creating a built-in workstation for two along with lots of storage. All the better to hide the clutter associated with today’s paper chase and get the action off the kitchen table.

Like every bright idea, there’s always more to it than first meets the eye. The lighting will be woefully inadequate for people relying on bifocals to read virtually anything. The wiring for electrical and telephone is hopelessly out-of-date in our 45-year-old house. Most farm families barely had a telephone in 1969. Hooking up today’s computer, printer, fax machine, and telephone will require some updated capability. Sounds like a job for our electrician son Greg. He’ll be thrilled.

I know I want to go splashy in this space, because I love color and think I can get away with it here. The cabinets are pure white and the soon-to-be installed laminate is red oak. I’ve got a stash of co-ordinate fabrics including a toile, check, stripe and tweedy solid already to go on a valance, message boards and assorted other projects. I’ll need to use a tinted primer and several coats of my still-to-be purchased deep red paint.

Doing some prep work in Roy’s absence seemed the logical thing to do. I moved out the furniture I could safely handle alone. The heavy stuff will needs Roy’s strength. The tough part is finding space in a house that refuses to stretch. I then tackled the dated wallpaper border. Soak, soak, soak, pick, pick, pick. While I’m at it, I guess I could use the pry bar to get the really gross baseboards and casings off.

Naturally I couldn’t resist peeking under the carpet. It’s a twenty-year-old grey rubber-backed, glued down carpet that’s seen better days with two kids and a dog. There are still multi-coloured stains around the register from when some of Greg’s crayons melted. The CSI team would have a field day identifying some of the other stains. I can only imagine the fun scraping the backing off the floor as we prep for laminate.

We’ll need to buy bi-fold doors for the closet, baseboards and trim, lighting and three pieces of countertop for our desk configuration. The sweat equity will be considerably more. We’ve set a deadline of Christmas because we’re supposed to host the family get-together this year. That and we’re gluttons for punishment. Demolition is great, from where I sit.

*reprinted with permission

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