Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Farmhouse Renovation and A Story About Towels

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Have you ever had one of those days?
                                                                  One where you were just done?

Monday was one of those days for me. We are now 20 months into this project. For those of you keeping track, that's about 14 months behind schedule. Progress is slow because our contractor is tied up on other projects. This means that it's just me and sometimes Mr Refined doing the demolition on weekends for now.  Yes, I realize that I'm blessed to have a home, a family, food on the table and a whole host of other things but that doesn't mean that I don't get discouraged or that there aren't days that I'm ready to throw in the towel. 


I don't mean that literally, of course. I'm sure that you know that my OCD would keep me from actually throwing one of my beautiful, clean, white towels onto the floor because I know that doing so would not only  mean more laundry for me, it would also mean that the towel would never be white again. 
                                                                               It's a metaphor...but you know what I mean, right?!


On Monday I seriously considered giving up on the French Farmhouse project for the very first time. After spending the weekend tearing out plaster on the first floor and the wood ceiling in the basement I was riding the adrenaline rush that comes with seeing floor joists and empty studs where water damaged wood and stained plaster once were and watching the 20 yard dumpster on the driveway slowly fill with debris. 

But then Monday rolled around and it was back to work and the reality of living through five more days before there will be any more meaningful progress on the renovation. Sure, I'm thankful for my job but camping in two rooms with all of my earthly possessions packed in cardboard boxes and stacked to the ceiling all around me lost its comic appeal somewhere just after Valentine's day.  


Perhaps not coincidentally, this is also right around the time that I realized that if I actually had to go anywhere in public wearing nice clothes and makeup, I would be in serious trouble and the time that I began to wonder if the checkout lady at the market had started to realize that my entire wardrobe has been reduced to two sweatshirts and three pair of paint pants....
         or that the glitter that used to be all over my face and clothes has been replaced by plaster dust. 

On Monday afternoon, the mess and chaos that is my home right now was the only thing that I could think about. I'm pretty sure that I was having a melt down that began when I tripped over the printer that I forgot that I moved to the middle of the path to the bathroom while trying to get to the dresser that morning and escalated when the UPS man showed up with a package and I had to walk completely around the house to meet him because the front door wouldn't open. 


Just as I sat down on a chair in the only clear space in the kitchen on the verge of getting out the plaster "confetti" and throwing myself a full-fledged pity party, a message popped up on my computer screen from my friend, Linda.  I'm always amazed at how that happens in my life... friends and family show up, just when I need them most.

Linda  listened, sympathized, and then turned my attention to a long distance design project that I'm doing for her. Yes, I'm decorating a room that I've only seen in photos (it's in California) for a friend whom I've never met in person. Life's fun like that sometimes.

As I sat on a step stool between a stack of cardboard boxes and the group of three to four foot tall fiddle leaf figs that now occupies the kitchen table (because it's the only place in the house that gets sunlight) talking to my friend about fabric and looking at artwork for her walls, I wondered what she'd think if she saw my crazy house and I couldn't help but shake my head and smile.  

You're probably wondering what any of this has to do with renovation. The answer is, 

                                                                                                              everything.....and nothing at all. 


Sometimes, we just need someone to listen,or to distract us from whatever it is that's making us sad, or to encourage us. Someone to remind us that there's a big difference between letting go and giving up.  There are some days when I'm fortunate to do that for the people around me and other days when I'm blessed to have family, and friends who do the same  for me. I don't think that I've ever been more grateful than I am right now.

On a completely different topic, because some of you asked a while ago, (and because today's a brand new day and I'm back to my unrealistically optimistic self), here are some "before" shots of the exterior of the house that I've matched up with the drawings of the "after" that I know we'll get to at some point. I've put arrows in to give you a few points of reference. We've kept most of the existing window and door openings to keep the cost down and are just replacing the windows/doors with new ones.

 
This is the new East Elevation. This is the "front" of the house.



North elevation. The second side that will be seen from the street since we live on a corner.


West. The "back yard". 


And finally, South . 


My towels are folded and safely back in the cabinet where they belong.... until the next time that I get the urge to take one out and waive it around. Given the state of the rest of my house, I'm counting folded towels as a victory. 

As Gollapudi said, "the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory."     
                                                                                     
                                                                            Hey, maybe I'll have that embroidered....on a towel. 

In the mean time, I think that I'll clear the kitchen counter and make a couple of Easter projects!