Home Remodel (hōm rē-ˈmä-del): hurry up and wait

There seems to be two ways to approach remodeling a house: while you live in the house, or while you wait to live in the house. I can’t think at the moment which approach is most preposterous. Nor would I dare offer a recommendation on whether this house of chaos should be visited daily or never, although there is a strong argument for maintaining a minimum one-million mile distance from the rubble.

My husband and I took the approach of “while you live in the house” twice and it was not pretty. During another remodel we lived three stories below, and yet another one we spent a year in the little guest house behind the remodel.

Last year we drove six hours round trip once a week for the remodel, although we drive an hour round trip every day to visit the current one. The value of the weekly visits is that there is almost always clear progress while for the daily visits. . . let’s just say progress can be more difficult to discern.


Take the Floor

This project started with great momentum. The kitchen was demolished the first day – even before the first coffee break. The bathrooms crumbled almost as fast. We’ve learned it is much easier to destroy something than to build it back up.

Every project seemingly comes to a screeching halt, however, when the heavy lifting is over. In our case, new walls have been built, plumbing moved, electricity pulled to new locations, hardwood floors installed. . . and now we wait.

There was linoleum in the kitchen, green shag carpet upstairs, and an assortment of ceramic tile in the bathrooms, but it was the beautiful hardwoods we wanted everywhere.
Master Bedroom

Our calendars were cleared for this past Friday to move furniture from all corners of the house to its final resting place, and there was a mad dash to install the new hardwood flooring to meet our ‘moving day’ deadline. Then the floor finisher arrived and informed us these new floors would cure for a solid week. Under no circumstance would anyone walk on these new floors, and no furniture would be moved for another whole week. . .

although this has not prevented us from stopping by to admire those new floors.

After measuring the new parquet tiles for the kitchen and master bath, there were tiles left over. We considered addding one or two in the center of the foyer, but just one and even two looked incomplete. Four tiles were situated exactly center and we all studied them for at least a week. I lost a good bit of sleep worrying over cutting into the middle of the foyer’s hardwood floor, and we were still unsure (although totally committed) until we saw the finished product.

This kitchen’s dated past was evident when the cabinets were removed, but all of that is history. Scott, our contractor, laid the parquet to ‘dry fit’ them to the center of the kitchen. We didn’t want the tiles to end up being underneath the cabinetry so they were centered with hardwood planks filling in around the outer edges.


The master bath parquet tiles will be surrounded with black marble.


Four houses ago we lived in a townhouse with a three-story spiral staircase that begged for a black & white runner. We sold that house before we ever got around to adding the runner, but when I saw this house I knew the time had come for our black & white runner. Although the white background of my inspiration photo runner (right photo) scares us to death with three dogs, the black bannister is perfect.


We obtained an estimate last week for the img_2478black & white runner – it was $1,000 installed ($600 for a 100% polypropylene runner, $400 for installation). Then I happened onto a DIY runner makeover from Target for just $140.

We went back to the drawing board and found a 100% Wool runner from Target that fits our vision perfectly – total $345.


Tahla Dhurry Rug by Safavieh at Target.com $59.59 for a 2’6″ x 12′ runner less 10% during the FALLHOME sale.



Our shopping list has dwindled to mostly kitchen items: the sink, faucet, backsplash tile, and those dreaded drawer pulls. The stove has been picked out and just needs to be ordered, the vent hood has already been delivered, and the last light fixture arrived this week. Hopefully the waiting is almost over. . . we’re ready to go home.


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