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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.]

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Share Your World | Bright Green & Dark Blue

Bright Green: river birch tree leaves and catkins in the spring.

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.

 When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

A pen. No doubt this is because I was taught to write with a Zaner-Bloser pen.  This pen had what you’d expect a pen to have: that is, a teacher-approved inky writing tip, guaranteed to help make your cursive writing legible.

But on the other end of the pen was a pointy pokey plastic tip that was good for jabbing annoying boys.  As a 4th grade girl might want to do.  Should she be fed up with their silliness.

In retrospect this was the first multitasking tool to which I had access– and it taught me that if you make do with what you have at hand, you can solve your own interpersonal problems.  Isn’t that right, Danny & Tony?

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?

While I like the idea of being amazing I don’t want to be on stage, therefore being an amazing dancer or an amazing singer ain’t gonna happen, kids.

Now should you want to refer to me as an amazing blogger, then we’re getting somewhere.  😉

Dark Blue: full moon in the early evening perfectly clear spring sky.

If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating?

Ok, again, I’m not one for being on stage so a debate team wouldn’t want me.  Regardless of the subject I’d freeze up while on stage trying to declare or contradict or refute– or whatever it is that one does when one is on a debate team.

All those people looking at me… *shudder*

What are you a “natural” at doing?

I’m pretty good at snarking.  Rolling my eyes.  Seeing the absurdity in the moment– and calling it out.

Also I can throw ingredients together, sans recipe, and usually make something edible.  And I merchandise/decorate spaces by second nature, fussing around with things until they are visually pleasing and inviting.

Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the fun little video below that summarizes my pre-Easter week shopping experiences.  Just like the red bear in the queue, no matter where I went I made some less than prudent decisions about which line to stand in. Gotta laugh, ‘ya know?

This week’s looking forward to something goes to a local garden nursery, only open a few months a year, that’s known for its unique plants.  I’ve a list of some small garden tomatoes | peppers | cucumbers that I’m hoping to find at the nursery, so that I can have a manageable veggie garden in pots on our deck this summer.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Share Your World | Tulips A-Go-Go

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  

• Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Yes, *sigh* back when I was a crazy, younger, athletically inclined woman who followed the crowd, I was a cyclist.  I did lots of 30+ mile bike rides for charities, and even once went so far as to go on a Backroads bike tour vacation.

This adventure in hell vacation started in New Bern, NC, and involved days of bike riding on dodgy, bermless country roads, littered with dead snakes and frogs.  Roads, filled with 18-wheeler lumber trucks zipping past us, spewing bits of pine bark and needles as they went by.  It was scary.

Throughout the tour we were on a strict time schedule to get to ferry-boats to go island to island along the NC Outer Banks, with the goal of getting to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, this did not happen because a huge storm, the aftermath of a hurricane, disrupted the ferry service to Cape Hatteras.  Meaning that our last ferry-boat was abruptly cancelled, leaving us stuck one island short of Cape Hatteras, on Ocracoke Island.  In a dumpy motel.

So with torrential rain falling and nowhere to go, we abandoned the pretense of cycling, made note of Ocracoke’s famous ponies, and drank excessively in the one bar that was open while it stormed, all the while lamenting that we were never going to get to Cape Hatteras.

Which *sigh* was the whole point of the bike tour.

• Name one thing not many people know about you.

I will not wear the color orange, so keep all your sports fan gear away from me.

• What is your favorite flower?

Tulips. Graceful and colorful, with no excessive leaves to muddle up their lines or draw attention away from their colorful petals.

• Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

While it’s true that I like things, and that if my life had gone in a different direction I might have become an interior designer, I feel that for me to list all the things that I want to have in my home would take hours.

Instead, I’ll leave you with the following quote by William Morris that summarizes how I’m learning to evaluate the things in my home: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the cats featured in the YouTube video below.  They make me smile.  I’m beyond impressed by their focus and skill– and that any human being was able to get them to do what they’re doing.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to Zen-Den listening to S•Town podcast so that he and I can discuss it.  At length.  Produced by Serial and This American Life, S•Town is the most compelling investigative-journalistic-true-crime-ish story I’ve heard [or read] in years.  Think Southern Gothic genre.  The language is coarse.  The topics are mature.  And the story is so good… in a bad way.  Highly recommended.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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[Unofficial] Share Your World | I’m Pivoting Here

{ Image via The Public Domain Review }

I’m sorry to report that Cee is ill this week so there are no official Share Your World questions for me to answer.  

This, however, will not stop me from sharing my world with you, my gentle readers.  Oh no it won’t.  

Thus I give you my answers to The Pivot Questionnaire made famous by James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio.

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1.  What is your favorite word?  

It’s a toss-up between snazzy & neat-o.  I like them both equally.  Although flapdoodle & groovy are good ones, too.  Can I get back to you on this one? 

2.  What is your least favorite word?  

Close-minded.

3.  What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Blue sky, fresh air, being outside in nature or in a city, walking or sitting, taking it all in.

4.  What turns you off?

Hypocrisy.

5.  What is your favorite curse word?

“Frostbite.”  Stated thusly because this is a PG-13 blog.  Use your imaginations and I’m sure you can figure out which F-word I’m thinking of.

6.  What sound or noise do you love?

I like the sound that the leaves make when the wind blows through the trees, resulting in a quiet rustle that, along with a few happy bird chirps, is the epitome of mellow.

7.  What sound or noise do you hate?

Donald Trump’s voice.

8.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’m fascinated with interior design, so I’ll say that.

9.  What profession would you not like to do?

Trash collector.

10.  If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Welcome! We have your favorite table waiting over here on the deck out of the direct sunlight. Now it’s chilled Sauvignon Blanc, right? And will you need to see a menu today?

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Share Your World | Power To The Purple Pansy

Last week while answering Cee’s questions I told you, my gentle readers, that I was looking forward to planting some pansies in a pot. Here is a photo of said pansies in said pot. Aren’t they pretty?

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• Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?

This is a tricky question for me to answer because I write this blog under a nom de plume.  Yes, Ally Bean is my nickname.  It evolved from the old saying: “Know what I mean, Jelly Bean?”  Back when I started blogging in 2004 no one used his or her real name when writing online, so I went with Ally Bean.  As for this name’s significance, all I can suggest is that it might mean, FRIEND LEGUME.  I guess.

• Music or silence while working?

Almost always silence when working.  Quiet focuses me.  And a focused me is a productive me.

• If you had a special place for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronics, people or animals), what would they be?

Not sure if this question is asking me what are my three most special possessions OR what is my special place for them?  No matter.  I’ll answer the latter question by saying my most special possessions, of which there are many more than three, are in our house.  Ergo our house must be a special place, right?

• The Never List: What are things you know you never will do?

I will never do cardiac surgery, ride on a Segway again, write a textbook on quantum physics, collect dolls, imbibe any rum-based drink again, travel by submarine, buy a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps, teach a class about car repair, OR needlepoint a pillow cover.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to Season 3 of Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.  I’m grateful for anything that makes me laugh and this TV series does that.  Over the weekend I watched half of Season 3, released on Friday, and I’m still smiling about the characters, the plot, the settings, the humor.  So funny + smart.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to an Ikea chest of drawers, now in three large heavy flat boxes leaning against the wall in the upstairs hallway.  Next weekend Zen-Den and I hope to remain married while we build this chest of drawers that, when assembled, will give me one place to put all of my foldable clothes.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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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.

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-11-04-10-am
“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.