Tuesday, September 2, 2008

home remodel - part 1

I promised I would write about my home remodel in August. Obviously I did not meet the self imposed deadline, sorry blog readers for the delay. Here’s a little background information: I bought my house 13 years ago brand spankin new. It’s not a big house, ~1300 sq. ft. but it was just the right size for my son and I. Yes, it would have been nice to have a little more room but knowing me I would have filled it with ‘stuff’ that I did not need nor want to dust. My son moved out several years ago so now it’s just me and Oreo so I’m very happy to not have a lot of rooms to ramble around.

When I bought the house I upgraded the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and of course the carpet padding but tile and stone countertops were just not in the budget. When I picked out the carpeting and furniture I was in the ‘country’ mode so as you can imagine it was only a matter of time the ‘country blue’ lost it’s charm. Not known for my decorating skills I could never finish the country theme nor had the money to totally convert to a different look. So what I had was a miss mash of… ugh.

check out the country blue and Oreo

I’ve wanted to redecorate for 8+ years and thinking and rethinking what I would do if I could. I peppered those who were remodeling a kitchen on what they did, who did the work, what they recommend or not recommend. Discussions of laminate wood vs. tile flooring, blinds vs. shutters, gas vs. electric, etc., etc. I would file this information away in my brain and then sit in my kitchen on Sunday mornings while enjoying my mocha coffee envisioning what I would do. At times I would even go as far as sketching this onto paper or talking to the sales help at several of our big box home stores.

oh those mauve matching recliners

This was not an all consuming process but rather wanting to decorate would come and go throughout the years. I would really get the bug when I would have friends over for dinner, people coming to visit, or around the holidays. Unfortunately it came down to the almighty dollar and not wanting to part with it.

Around five years ago the guest bathroom flooded which in turn ruined the laminate flooring. This was ripped out and I just kept it with the original linoleum, no base boards, and some of the wall paper pulled off at the bottom of one wall. This was not the prettiest of rooms but it my sons bathroom so I wasn’t in any hurry to fix it up because we all know boys have cooties and why fix a bathroom that a teenager was not going to take care of

guest bathroom after wallpaper & decor removed

I also didn’t want to remove the wallpaper that I had put up on all the walls in the bathroom. It wasn’t a huge room but putting up wallpaper is a pain, removing it is a bigger pain. So I procrastinated. By this time I had decided on putting tile into the bathroom and because this bathroom opens up to the hallway if I was going to tile the bathroom I would have to tile the hallway, which leads to the living room, which would lead to the kitchen. In other words if I tiled the guest bathroom floor I’d have to tile the whole house at once or tear out the tile put in the guest bathroom when I was ready to tile the rest of the house. Either way it wasn’t a pleasant thought. So I procrastinated some more.

About 3 plus years ago the bible study group that I’m in started meeting at my house due to my vision and not being able to drive at night. With them meeting at my house it would mean that they would have to use the guest bathroom in all its ugly glory. Yes, it was clean but not in the best decorative state. Still I didn’t know where to start so procrastinating was just easier.

As I saved money to begin fixing up the guest bathroom I found when I had save a good chunk of change I would travel abroad. In 2004 I spent 3 ½ weeks in my first trip to Italy. Fell in love with the country, people, food, culture and knew I had to return. Two years later in 2006 I spent 4 weeks in Italy with my parents and son joining me for parts of that trip. Everyone asked me on my return if I’d gotten Italy ‘out of my system’ but unfortunately this trip only confirmed that I wanted to have Italy as part of my life in some way. But I also was trying to be realistic and knew I could not afford to be jetting off to Italy every two years unless I won the lottery or found myself a ‘sugar daddy’, both an unlikely happening

Duomo, Orvieto

In the beginning of 2007 I started seriously thinking of starting those projects in my house, specifically the guest bathroom. My son had moved out so all those boy cooties did too, I had no excuses. Started spending more time in the flooring and cabinet area of the big box home stores rather then the garden area. Did I want ceramic or porcelain, oh the many styles of carpet, enough to make the mind swirl.

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Then in April 2007 a friend who works for an airline called and offered me a buddy pass that was going to expire the first of June so it needed to be used, would I be interested. Would I be interested? A buddy pass to… anywhere? Anywhere? Oh, but where would I go? Would I be able to get the time off work on such short notice? Of course I did not hesitate in saying ‘yes’ I would LOVE to use the ticket. Where I would go, no question there I was returning to Italy. Because the time was of the essence I called my manager on a Saturday evening asking if it was okay if I took the time, there was no issue there. Yahoo, I couldn’t believe I was returning to this beautiful country just 6 months after I left. Folks, this is the reason why everyone should have a current passport, having the ability to leave at a moment’s notice.

Tuscany countryside

Yes, this is a blog of my home remodel but these trips delayed my remodel in several ways. The spell that Italy had on me was something that I couldn’t explain when people asked why I love it so much. It’s not just one particular thing but everything it did and didn’t offer, a place where I could and wanted to see myself being a part of either on a regular or semi-permanent basis. After reading about others who feel the same as I do I don’t feel the need to explain it anymore, all I do is highly encourage them to visit this country. After I returned from my 3rd trip to Italy I felt I had gotten Italy somewhat out of my system and could focus on my home. The adventure begins….

home remodel saga continues...

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