Thursday, April 14, 2011

"A Good Home" Episode 1

Welcome to the Premiere of

My brothers, are in charge of getting this house renovated for our move-in.


They are incredibly talented and creative people.
They both have an amazing sense of style and a great eye.
They would definitely be considered "hip" and "cool".
Top that off with the fact that they are super handy and can do almost anything around a house and they are pretty frikkin' amazing. (Sorry ladies, they are both taken!)

They currently own the house jointly and had been planning to renovate it to sell. Then their plans changed.

We were leasing a townhome we weren't in love with.
I was in love with the old house next door to my brother's.

We are a close family and his kids are the same ages as my own. It seemed like it was meant to be.
So we agreed to move in and if everything works out, buy the house.
It seemed like a simple plan.

Our priority is to get a functional kitchen and a working bathroom installed and clean the place on a nothing budget and a 6 week deadline. It seemed reasonable if everything went smoothly.

They have not always gone smoothly.

We are finding that with 4 "designers" things can get sticky. We each have our own ideas and they don't always easily mesh.

My childhood home was an eclectic mix of antiques and vintage finds with the occasional new item mixed in.
We used (and they still use) a huge mill wheel topped with plexiglass as a coffee table. The featured piece in their home is an enormous vintage microscope cabinet that is filled with an ever changing assortment of wonders.
Living in that environment, I grew up cultivating an eye for interesting old things and we all learned to value the character and warmth they bring to a home.

My husband's experience was pretty much the opposite.
The house he grew up in was always lovely and coordinated.

His mother is a wonderful decorator. Her current home is so lovely,  I can honestly say it took my breath away with it's traditional/modern elegance.
My husband developed a far different style-sense from my own. He likes brand spankin' new. He likes things that were made to perfectly coordinate with each other.

Our move into this old home is giving him panic attacks, causing him to break out in hives and question his sanity in saying ok to this harebrained scheme of mine.

(I tell you all of this in order to put this following tale in context )

We headed over to the house to do some work.
Nick had told me earlier that Tony had gone out the night before to pick up some antique white cabinets for the kitchen. He had gotten them for a steal from a guy putting in a new kitchen.
I was really excited to see them. I had hoped for a white kitchen.

After he and Jeff worked for a bit and I watched the little ones next door. Nick called me over and showed me these-

Behold - Our kitchen cabinets.

I was not expecting this.
I thought they had gotten regular kitchen cabinets that were painted the color "antique white".

I did not think "antique white" referred to the actual age of the paint.

Never-the-less, my first reaction was, "Those are SO COOL!!"

My husband was another story all together
He was like a deer in the headlights - frozen in horror.
He had thought they were part of what he was supposed to throw out.

I'm pretty sure at that moment, he wanted to throw up.

As I looked at them some more and thought about it,  I started to become worried about how functional they would be. I worried about the depth of the cabinets (they were huge!) Would I be able to reach things on the shelves I intended to put above them? Would I ever see the things that made it to the back of the cabinets again? If I crawled in to find those lost back-of-the-cabinet things would I ever be seen again?

The mom instinct kicked in.
Were the cabinets safe to use in a house with small children? Was there lead paint involved? Were the nickel tops safe for food prep? These were important questions that were bothering me enough to eclipse the cool-factor the cabinets had the potential to possess.

I was also afraid it might be the last straw for my husband.
That he would throw in the towel before we even started.
He was in full-blown panic crisis mode.

I was starting to panic also.
Jeff was going out of his comfort zone agreeing to this move. An unconventional kitchen might just send him over the edge.

I was afraid to say anything to my brothers, they were justifiably proud of their find and we were on a super-tight budget and time line.
They were working so hard and I didn't want to seem ungrateful, but I needed my husband to feel good about the house too.

Phone calls were made.
Opinions were gathered.
People took sides.
The stress got to everyone

I dreamed about the lovely bits of our soon-to-be home

My husband had nightmares about the not-so-lovely bits

In the end, my brothers have promised the kitchen will be amazing. (I will have to share with you some of the amazing reno work they have done in their own homes. It is stunning! So I know I can trust them.)
Everything will be safe for the kids and functional, and if it doesn't work for us, we will fix it.


Today I went back to take pictures see the progress (which at this point mostly involves things such as replacing lead water pipes and putting in subfloors, tile and wallboard not really photo ops)
Here is a peek at the kitchen floor- (Still needs final mopping)
And Nick working on the bathroom-

Nick walked me through the placement of things in the kitchen and I was feeling much better.

Our first reno-drama is behind us

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I too love the cabinets...I think they will be wonderful and can't wait to see the finished kitchen...