Maybe we should have noticed that our kitchen/family room renovation was to begin on April 1. Maybe I should have purged more of the junk I have in the garage. Maybe I should have been more educated on the process of renovation.
And maybe I should have taken seriously the cautionary tales of friends, who all agreed that one thing is certain: ShiZ will happen. I should expect it.
The shiz began with the window in the kitchen. It was a big window. “Was” is the operative word, because it got smaller. It had to get smaller so we could put an eating bar in front of it. But I was sort of talked into having a couple inches of backsplash when I really wanted a couple inches more of light coming in. I am not thrilled with the window, which is now in. But by the time I knew how small it would really be, my choices were to stick with what we had ordered or delay the project 3 weeks or more. We stuck.
There is plenty of light in the room. But I can tell you that every single day I am going to notice that window is smaller than I wanted it. It’s my fault, 100 percent, too. I let myself be talked into what I didn’t want because of “aesthetics.” That backsplash is just paint, too. And I know better. When the designer tried to make me feel better by giving me justification and rationale, I gave her the stink eye. It’s not her fault. But it’s done and no amount of rationalization is going to make me like it. And it’s just a window. Of course, here I am, beating it to death….
And then, my beautiful, turquoise backpainted glass backsplash on the other side of the kitchen. For some reason, I envisioned each glass panel without any seams. But when the drawing came back from the glass vendor, there were seams. There was also glass specified in strange places where we didn’t want it. Like above a window. Huh? Not only that, but the cost was three times what we expected.
We corrected the errors. But then I quickly drove to the tile store to see if I could find another, cheaper solution that would suit us. I could not. You’d think I could, right? But my goal was to avoid grouted seams that we’d have to clean. And there is that beautiful countertop that has so much going on that we had to carefully pick the backsplash so as not to compete. Plus I do have some corded glass in a couple of cabinets that also could compete. Right now, it’s just right, at least to me.
I wanted no other patterns, not even in the pendant lights. I wanted to avoid an out-of-control over-design. What I wanted was the backpainted glass at half the estimate. I visited two other glass vendors locally and they could not do the backplash. So we stuck with our San Francisco vendor. We then entered a negotiation with the vendor about the number of seams and where. Fortunately, nothing happens until the cabinets and countertops are in. Only then will the glass people measure and cut.
I’m not sure why we thought turning our (sanitized) hall bathroom into a kitchen station with coffee maker and cutting boards was something we could live with for a month. Oh, and don’t get all shook up when you notice the syringe. We’re not shooting meth; it’s a needle-less syringe for Riley’s fish oil supplement. This is like camping. Only without the bugs.
One smart thing was that we covered everything and I do mean everything in the adjacent rooms, because the dust is flying. We have two zip doors and one completely plasticized one in our open floor plan. But boxing and covering everything, including what was on our living room shelves and the dining room furniture, was a good idea. Brilliant, even.
That meant, though, we have no clean working surfaces and no space to even put up a card table and chairs. Every square inch of space was filled with boxes. For the most part, I am living in my cluttered office and our bedroom. And I am counting the days and hoping for no serious snafus.
We can already see how reducing the size of the fireplace will make the room feel more in proportion. Sorry, that paint color is going away but instead, whitish shelves with burnt orange inside backs are going in.
Our custom cabinets are due next Monday. I am a little nervous. Our cabinetmaker and his crew are meticulous craftsmen and he told me they look beautiful. But my fantasy does not always match reality, I’m finding. That lesson is the most important part of surviving renovation.
As this is going on, the safest place is in my head, where I am considering how we will furnish our apartment on the Monterey peninsula. The chief benefit in my fantasy is moving some of the stuff out of the San Jose house and freeing up some space, in my effort to be more minimalist in San Jose going forward. We’ll definitely be minimalist in Pacific Grove. Of course, we had planned to sell or donate some of that stuff and it should have been gone already, but once we committed to the second home, we decided to keep most of the furniture that we’d planned to get rid of and bring it south, along with household goods we’d planned to jettison. Thinking about that place, which we’ll rent in the new year a ways from now, is a safe haven from this mess.
Maybe this project will still have snafus. Probably.
But maybe — just maybe– I’ll be surviving renovation. Maybe I’m going to like the results. That’s a possibility, too. It’s a probability, really.
Except for that window….
Hey, I’d love to hear what you think or if you have some advice at this late stage.