Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Let the home renovation begin! (No going back now.)

In mid September, the wrecking ball – metaphorically – gets brought on, and Operation Reno begins. When it’s over, I’ll have a new kitchen, two new bathrooms, and a lot of little things that needed to be fixed fixed. (Yes, beloved guests, come November, you’ll actually be able to use a doorknob to close the upstairs bathroom door, and a handrail to hang on to as you make it down the narrow staircase with the tricky corners. This means I’ll be able to throw out the “special hat”, a pair of dusty Mouseketeer ears that my niece Molly would put on when she used the stairs. “I am careful, Diggy,” she would tell my husband. “I wear my special hat for the tricky corners.”)

Beyond painting and can’t-live-without-it repairs, I’m new to home reno, but those or you who’ve taken  the sledge hammer to a wall or two will recognize that, when it comes to picking stuff out, there’s too damned much choice

Shouldn’t a shower head be a shower head? Is not a toilet a toilet? And, seriously, folks, don’t all tiles tend to look the same after you’ve looked through five thousand samples?

Wasn’t life simpler when you could just go to the floor store and look through three choices of linoleum and pick the one you liked? But, alas, it’s not like I can follow in my grandmother’s footsteps and tack down a linoleum rug remnant here and there. (Nanny’s idea of a home reno was pretty much patching whatever piece of the kitchen floor had worn through. Thus her kitchen was a crazy quilt of mis-matched, multi-colored linoleum pieces, tacked over each other, all different heights and lengths. Walking through that kitchen could be quite precarious, sort of like walking on the deck of a mid-19th century coffin ship, in the middle of the Atlantic, in the middle of a squall. Whee…)

Too many cabinet styles to look at. Too many faucets. Too many paint colors. Too many appliances.

I did my preliminary appliance shopping with my friend Peter, who’s also redoing his kitchen. We were browsing the fridge section when I turned the corner before he did. “Come here,” I hollered. “Get a load of this.” “This” was a Sub-Zero fridge the size of my kitchen. It would have been just the thing to load up with a deer haunch or two.

The tile store was another revelation. Wouldn’t all white subway tile be created equal? But, no. The white subway tile that costs $3.95 a square foot has only one chair rail choice, and it’s boring. The white subway tile that costs $8.95 a box has all sorts of trim choices. Naturally, my eye fell on the one trim choice that costs the most – $8.95 for a measly 6” piece.

What the hell. It’s only money…

I rationalize: I’m still working. (I told my contractor that, because of this project, I’ll have to work five years longer and/or die five years sooner.) I tell myself that I’ll get it back when I sell. I own up to the fact that we didn’t do anything in 25 years here except sitting there pinching ourselves that we lived in a swank address with an over-the-top fabulous LR (intricate plaster medallion ceiling, gorgeous wood paneling, an extraordinary fireplace) of the kind they just don’t make any more.

Ah, we’d tell each other, not bad for a couple of kids who started life in a tilo-covered house on the wrong side of the tracks in Bellows Falls, VT (Jim), and a flat in my grandmother’s three decker overlooking a used car lot and a Sunoco station (Maureen).

In the next few weeks, I’ll be finalizing my choices for pretty much everything, with a bit of breathing room before I have to choose paint colors.

Too much choice, too much choice, too much choice. (And don’t get me going on Houzz and Pinterest.)

Fortunately, there were things that I never even bothered to consider, mostly because I didn’t know of their existence.

Okay, I was aware of Gaggenau ranges, but there was no danger that someone who doesn’t cook was going to pay $8K for a Gaggenau steam oven (whatever that is) or a Wood Stone hearth pizza oven that costs $17K. (Both Peter and I are going with induction cooktops, which will work out, because he’s a good cook and is going to teach me how to use the darned thing so I can at least boil water and scramble eggs. The drag about the induction cook top is that you have to have pans with magnetic bottoms. I don’t. So now there are pots and pans to buy…)

Anyhow, I read about the pricey items above in an article in
Forbes on Pirch, a high-end kitchen-bath place. The nearest one to me is in Paramus, NJ, so there was no chance I was going to drop by and depress myself by drooling over the fabulous stuff they sell. Forget the appliances. Hey, that’s my look! That’s my feel. If only. (Not willing to work ten more years and/or die ten years sooner. Sorry. Five’s my limit.)

Not that I have anyplace to put a $25K bathtub, even if I wanted or could afford one. I’d have to give up my bedroom to fit it in. Leaving prospective purchasers of my condo asking, “I see the master bathroom, and it’s quite lovely. But where’s the master bedroom.” And the realtor would have to explain the drop-down Murphy bed that covers the $25K bathtub.

This week, I’ll be ordering the appliances, the tiles, the flooring, the bathroom fixtures, the new window shades - treatments I believe they’re called - for the LR. (Sorry, the windows in the bedroom and den will be getting whatever’s on sale at Home Depot.)

There’ll be no going back!

What am I getting myself in for????

1 comment:

Frederick Wright said...

Paralyzed by choice! Not the worst problem to have. As long as you're still able to distinguish between "need" and "want" this should go smoothly. And there's nothing wrong with "wanting", even minimalists like me and my spouse are happy to indulge our consumer desires on occasion. But we acknowledge that this is what we're doing!