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May 31, 2013   

Deb's Blog

I've often said, "If I were Queen of the World I would____." Now, I'm choosing to share my Royal Insights... Please read my blog and respond with your thoughts.

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Contact Deborah at: 314-544-2555


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Dear :

Normally, I am not the one on the receiving end of home remodeling/redecorating work. During May, I was blessed with a newly remodeled fireplace, complete with a wall of built-in bookshelves in my living room. The remodeling work was done (with great care and attention to detail) by the person who had saved my front porch from falling off the house just last year. Jim had replaced the rotting posts holding up (actually, not holding up) the front of the porch. I felt a good degree of confidence in his abilities and so, when my tax refund arrived, I decided to "go for it!"...to get the look I had been wanting in my living room for twelve years.

As decorators, Nat and I are not normally subjected to entire discombobulating interim period of destruction/construction that our clients are going through. We've helped the client make all the design decisions: the counter tops, cabinets, knobs, paint colors, window treatments, etc., and we are not around for the mess: the torn up dry wall or tile flooring, the dust, the smells, the general disorder.

After my recent experience, I have a new empathy with those undergoing a remodeling project. I am now intimately aware of just how far dust can float through the home. I am clear on how much extra time it will take, above and beyond the original generous estimate. I have personally experienced how what seems like a simple job can become a complicated one...especially in an older home where very little is as it presents on the surface (and very little is in square). Whether due to original mistakes made when building the house, or due to settling, there was not one right angle in my living room! How do you build perfect shelves for a catawampus house? Make them perfectly catawampus!

Bottom line: after red brick dust so thick that Jim had to wear a ventilator to breathe while he cut brick, after multiple types of paint fumes (the inside-the-fireplace, heat-resistant paint was particularly vile), after shims, adjustments, and many considerations such as floor strength, what to keep of the old fireplace and what to lose, where electric would go, trim detail in lieu of an antique mantle, and on and on... I now have a gorgeous and functional fireplace with built-in shelves, and a wall-to-wall mantle. There is even a removable shelf, fitted out with electric, to accommodate a small flat-screen TV!

Yes, it was definitely worth the mess, the aggravation, the feeling of displacement and inconvenience. All of that was temporary. My crabby mood has subsided. Life has moved on. I am grateful for the beauty this change brings to my home. I am tickled that the room actually feels larger! I am accepting of the reasons for the over-budget costs (it's hard to budget for some "surprises"), and I am way wiser in the ways of the remodel project, generally. When you ask Nat and me for décor services for your next remodel we will, as always, offer our best ideas and our expertise. Now, in addition, I can promise to offer my deepest (temporary) sympathies!

I promise to accept your crabby mood and to try to lighten your load with (humorous) tales of my own...tales of the multiple daily trips to various lumber, hardware and tile stores...the smells of lingering brick dust and paints, the inconvenience of double the usually amount of furniture in my bedroom, and, of course, the supply of acorns we found stashed behind the old brickwork. I was actually hoping to find a hoard of secreted away gold coins, but, that said, I am mostly grateful that we did not uncover an ancient squirrel!

Happy summer projects to you! Let us know if you would benefit from some pre-project design idea help (and pre-sympathy).


P.S. Check out the before, during, and after photos...well, almost after...(below) we took a break during the time my daughter was in for a visit. Next week, we complete the tile work. Wish us luck!

Before, During and Almost Done!

Before Tear out
Rebuilding Almost Complete

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