The Renovation Awards

Really, there should be a separate Hollywood-saturated night where the elite come to recognize the people who have sacrificed everything — time, money, sanity, etc. — in order to make their home more liveable. I’m not talking about myself, of course. At this point, I haven’t even gotten within 100 miles of the tip of the iceberg. But the internet has a special way of making people feel as if they KNOW stuff — myself included. I read other people’s renovation blogs, and I think, “Gee, that sounds really hard!” And then I start delving into the intricacies of renovation myself, and I feel as I belong to a special club.

Still looking for a contractor. Still really discouraged. Still feeling a wee bit uncomfortable that we are now paying interest on money that is sitting idly in our bank account. But the part that bugs me that most is this:

My husband and I purchased a 1953 ranch home without thinking about what a pain it would be to REVERSE all the bad decisions of former home owners. Hellooooooooooom, fellow renovators! I know you can hear me. Quit covering your ears with your hands. We’re in the same boat. I jumped on as the Titanic was sinking, in case you didn’t notice, and I’m relying on you guys to help me get back to land.

Case in point: We thought it might be “easy” to have some storm doors replaced in our breezeway. After all, one can go to Menards and pick up a freakin’ storm door, right? How hard can it be to install them?

Well, as we found out from a recent contractor visit, it’s not so easy in our case. Why? Because the doors had been cut off on the bottom to fit the dimensions of our doorway. The mastermind of the breezeway-building escapade (which occurred AFTER the house was built) couldn’t have made sure that the doors were standard sized. Noooooo, they had to make the doorways a random size so that door shopping would be like deciphering a dead language. So not only can we not just buy a door “off the rack,” we have to get a door, have it CUT to our “special” dimensions, and pay someone extra labor for all the extra labor. And througout all of this, all I can think is that someone either failed shop class or never took it at all. I’m imagining a new ad campaign, with someone like Harrison Ford — who worked in the construction business at one time — posing seductively, with a tape measure drawn across his chest. GOT TAPE MEASURE? the ad would read. Friends Don’t Let Friends Build Crappy House Additions! Yet another good cause!

At this point, I think I’ve (almost) accepted the fact that no matter what we want to do to our 1953 ranch home, it’s not going to be easy. On the plus side, our “Stellar Night” Silestone countertops get installed on Monday, so I’m pumped about that. Sure, they’ll clash with the country/folksy vinyl and the worn cabinets, but at this point, what do I care? This coming Monday night, you’ll find me gazing contentedly into a black reflective surface; I’ll light a jar candle just to see the light reflecting off the metallic particles … and I’ll smile, because it’s one battle won.

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  1. 50s Pam’s avatar

    Hey Jen. You just gotta buckle up and ask yourself: What are the gods trying to teach me with this experience?

    You are doing a really good thing by bringing this house back to life. The house will love you for it.

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