A Remodeling Update: In Which Ms. Bean “Helps” & Other Important Things

It will come as no surprise to you, but it’s a mess around here.

Dining room with stuff from other rooms in it.

 Nothing is where it’s supposed to be.  Rooms that aren’t being remodeled have been turned into storage spaces for the stuff from rooms that are being remodeled.

Then with no clothes dryer, we’re using portable wooden racks, wedged into bedroom corners, to dry our clothes and towels and unmentionables… that are getting covered in a layer of dust before they dry, courtesy of the construction all over the house.

 Because the family room and the master suite are under construction, Zen-Den and I are living on the other side of the upstairs, each having taken up camp in a different guest bedroom.  At night we shout “good night” to each other like we’re the fricking Waltons: “Good night, Sue Mary Ellen… Good night, John-Boy.” 

Old microwave sitting on counter underneath spot where it fit, but new ones won’t.

 I officially hate microwaves.  Did you know that the manufacturers change the sizes of microwaves fairly often?  This means that the one we had built into the kitchen cabinets 9 years ago is now a size that is no longer available.

So we have to redesign the cabinets to accommodate the newer deeper microwaves.  I cannot *mutter* enough about this development.

 When the water is off for a few hours you immediately understand there’s one flush left in the toilet, right?  BUT what you might not remember is that there’ll be no water to wash your hands– and that you’ll need to have some hand wipes around.  IF you don’t have them around, then you’ll end up eating your lunch using a paper towel as you hold your sammie– then perhaps accidentally ingest some paper towel. 😖

Tools and such that are now on the floor hither and yon around the house.

 And finally, how is that I helped?  Well, as if there’s not enough destruction around here, I added to it when I went to close the bathroom door and the handle fell off into my hand.

Just. Like. That. I’m stuck outside the bathroom, holding the formerly useful handle in my hand, looking forlornly at the screws now at my feet.  Screws that happen to be about the same color as the carpeting, allowing them to blend perfectly with the carpet fibers, causing Ms. Bean to become FRAZZLED.

And on that cheery note, I’ll wish y’all a happy weekend.  Catch up with you later, kids. 

Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 2 Of 2

[Continuing from Part 1 yesterday.]

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY already know, Zen-Den and I have been dithering around for years about:

What to do about our master bathroom?

It’s never been a good use of space, and I’ve never felt safe in it because the builder grade floor tiles get slippery when the room is humid, which is often because the builder grade exhaust system is pathetic.

Considering we like where we live in this large subdivision, one that caters to people of all ages– some neighbors retiring here to build their dream houses, other neighbors buying their starter house here, and everyone else in-between.

Like us.

And considering we like living in this small town that’s known for outdoor activities and casual dining, we’ve decided to stay where we are, remodeling what displeases us about this house, making it retirement-ready.

For later.

So, we talked with three remodeling companies about doing work around here, and decided to go with the company that remodeled our kitchen years ago.  Their workmanship and our style seem to be in sync.

• + • + •

Thus here’s what’s going on around Chez Bean this summer:

  • we’re having our master bathroom partially gutted, reconfigured, and modernized so that it’s safe [& pretty] for us as we age;  and
  • we’re having our laundry room reconfigured so that we’ll have a newer-style [larger] washer and dryer + usable storage space;  and
  • we’re redoing our family room fireplace tile and mantel + having the walls painted a neutral, timeless color;  plus while they’re here
  • we’re having our kitchen tweaked just a little bit to tidy up a few things.

And now, for a few “before” photos…

Small cabinet with sink over in corner where only Zen-Den could manage to use it.

• + •

Jetted garden tub that I hate, used as linen closet because there is no linen closet in this bathroom.

• + •

Larger cabinet with sink, and almost no storage, in another corner of bathroom. Technically not the builder’s fault that I’m messy by nature, but I think I’ll blame him anyhow for not giving me enough drawers.

• + •

Boring shower with absolutely no character that lacks an exhaust fan above it.

• + •

Small laundry room that doesn’t accommodate the larger side-by-side appliances that are now available.  Also dryer does not work, because it’s a poopy head.

• + •

Family room in which we pulled down the mantel last summer, then painted test colors on the wall intending to redo this mess ourselves. Obviously, we never did.

• + • + •

Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 1 Of 2

WHEN I STARTED THIS blog years ago my intention was to write 80% about how we were updating our house + garden, then 20% about topics I was researching.  I thought this would be more of a design + information blog, rather than a lifestyle journal-ish blog.

Well, that idea fell apart, didn’t it?

Early on I discovered that:

  1. Even though I’m passionate about design, I don’t like writing about the involved decision-making process that goes on within all decorating +  remodeling projects.  I feel clunky and stressed when I try to write about design.
  2. Even though I enjoy photographing nature and signs and building exteriors, I end up swearing at my camera when I attempt to take pics of inside rooms.  I don’t have an eye for design photography, and my poor camera takes the brunt of my frustration.
  3. Even though I had some fun blog followers who were interested in our ongoing home improvement stories, they, to a one, stopped keeping blogs and drifted away from  the blogosphere.  I now have more wordy followers who groove on topics other than design.

So I had a little sit down chit-chat with myself to reassess what I was doing here, realizing that my most popular fun-to-write blog posts were personal, often about my observations regarding the wack-o-ness of people OR about small glimpses into the ordinariness of my daily life.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing about or photographing what we’re doing around the house.  No one cared, and I didn’t mind not writing about the angsty-ness and minutiae of design projects.

However…

[Part 2 will be tomorrow.]

• + • + •

• + • + •

Talking Daylilies Here: No More Happy Returns

~ ~ • ~ ~

Good-bye cervine freeloaders.  Hasta la vista deer buffet.

Yep, after 17 years of growing and tending a patch of Happy Returns Daylilies out front of our house under the lamppost, I had the landscaper remove them all and re-design the area.

The irony is, and there seems to be irony with anything I do, that when we built this house I was adamant about wanting Happy Returns Daylilies, which are a lovely shade of lemon-y yellow.  I paid extra to not have Stella D’Oro Daylilies, which are more golden-yellow, and common around here.

They’re in all the gardens in this subdivision.

Nope, planning ahead, as is my way, I wanted lemon-y yellow colored daylilies because they would look better with our particular brick–and because doing things, just a little differently than everyone else, comes naturally to me.

However, turns out that Happy Returns Daylilies are a favorite nosh of ye olde deer.  Also turns out that these pretty plants need lots of almost daily maintenance during the summer to keep them looking fresh and lovely.

So, with just a tinge of regret, but not much, I decided to embrace Admiral Grace Hopper’s famous quote and let go of my favorite Happy Returns Daylilies [and a patch of Russian Sage + Bergamot– and a few lost Daisies] to make space for a simpler, more modern, design out front of our house under the lamppost.

One that looks infinitely better than that which I thought that I knew that I wanted… years ago… before I became a wiser, and lazier, gardener.

~ ~ • ~ ~

Here’s the new look: Boxwood [hedge], Fineline Buckthorn [small ornamental tree], Barberry [small bushes] + Liriope [used as ornamental grass].

Chatting Whilst Moving Wicker Furniture Up Stairs

“I’m probably maybe going to stain the porch floor again next summer.”

Zen-Den said this.

We were moving our wicker furniture into the screened-in porch, setting it up for warm weather.  This is the furniture that we’d put into the basement last fall when Riley, the neighbor dog introduced himself to us.

While I’m accustomed to the way lawyers speak, obfuscating to not commit themselves to anything specific, the above sentence was unique.

Even by husband lawyer-speak standards.

His lack of enthusiasm about what might need to be done made me laugh out loud.

 • • •

“Could you get anymore vague and non-committal?”

I said this, lamenting that he was being so indecisive.

To which, I kid you not, he stopped in place while we were carrying furniture up the stairs.  He needed to contemplate if there was a way of making even less of a verbal pledge about doing something.

At an unspecified later date.

Next year.

Leaving me standing there on the bottom step, holding up the back end of the wicker loveseat while wondering why I never learn that snarky comments get me into the most awkward situations.

Honestly… 🙄

{ Images via Sweet Clip Art }

Make No Assumptions. It’s Greenery For The Win.

AS A WAY OF adding some color into our lives during this mid-winter gray time of year, I went to Lowes this week where I bought some little houseplants in little plastic pots.

I’m not a full on hippy dippy plant lady yet, so fear not. But I could be headed that way.  [And really, would that be such a terrible thing?]

While transplanting each plant into a proper terra-cotta pot, it drifted into my addled mind that Pantone’s Color of the Year 2017 is Greenery.

I also remembered that when I first saw this color in early December I wasn’t taken with it, thinking that this particular shade of yellowish-green was almost garish.  A color I’d never want to see in my house. 

Was. not. a. fan. and. said. so.

But you know what?  I was wrong in my snap judgement.

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“Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.” via Pantone

I HAD TO ADMIT this to myself as I placed the new houseplants around the house– and realized that they were exactly Greenery green.  And as such, they blended beautifully with our neutral color scheme of khaki golds + creamy whites + warm grays.

In fact, the new houseplants added much-needed splashes of spring-y color everywhere, proving to be an amazingly easy, cost-effective way of lifting my winter spirits.

So the moral of this little story is that when it comes to unfamiliar colors reserve your judgment until you’ve given the new color a chance to dazzle you.

For all you know the new color might be the perfect thing ever to grace your life… on a gray winter day.

New Windows & Doors In The Time Of Political Angst

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Photo of old leaky window with bad attitude leaning against garage on the way out of my life. Buh bye.

Why not add some more stress to election week, I said to myself.

Then, looking up from my date book, I said “yes” to the sales representative sitting across our kitchen table from me.

Therein I agreed to be here at the house this week so that we could have new windows and doors installed.

Windows on second floor, doors on first floor.

Naturally when I told Zen-Den, Esq, about when all this was going to happen, he mentioned that he’d be out of town on work this week.

On the other side of the country.  In southern California.

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Photo in which I cannot get the lighting right, but I promise it shows a new window. Gaze through the window upon the forest instead; it’s pretty out there.

Uh-huh.

This, however, did not stop me, intrepid homeowner and [nasty] woman with a purpose.

Nope, I went forward with the project, knowing as I do that winter is [global warming notwithstanding] around the corner.

And that I want leakless windows and airtight doors put on this house before it gets cold outside.

Thus I’ve been here this week, all by my ownsome, counterbalancing loud screechy construction noises [similar to those created by the cat in the video below] with political angst + existential outrage courtesy of the results of this presidential election.

Ain’t life a pip?