how many times I've started a post that has not come to fruition this past year.
It's been truly frustrating, as I've had some wonderful adventures, but this particular project has
I'm forging ahead with this post….also started many times
Before I get swept away again.
*(most houses are little brown boxes in Albuquerque and this one is no exception)
and embarked upon a top to bottom renovation that involved much more work than I bargained for.
As this little house seemed OK for my purpose,
(small, easy to care for, in a safe, quiet neighborhood, and near my tree….)
my eye went to every crack, dirty nick and bit of dust that bore witness to the last 22 years of tenants
and their (hideous to me) paint colors hidden under crusty switch plates ….
So I set out to change out every part of this house that brought me any measure of unease
and that meant among other things
so it swung into the room instead of into the closet
changing other closet doors
so they became double 'swing into the room' doors
instead of the heavy sliding doors they were.
I tore out the old built in closet systems and replaced them with
(using the 'not so' easyclosets.com system)
I had a new glass door installed to replace a solid door in my little attached garage to let in light and changed out the garage door for a new insulated model. With the help of my wonderful retired electrician (Ray) we installed a garage heater and a string of new outlets in addition to moving the ceiling fan from the living room to the garage.
All that in anticipation of turning the garage into a studio.
(pics to come as that project moves forward.)
I changed out every hinge and door latch
on every door from painted over brass hinges to
new 'aged bronze' models
and with Ray's help, we changed out all of the electrical outlets and switches and old cheap builder's grade mismatched light fixtures to new ones.
We also recreated a new lighting system for the kitchen and added outlets where there were none.
I re-worked the cabinets in the bathroom with stain, and some in the laundry area with paint and painted the entire house inside and out walls and molding and doors.
(Suddenly Angels appeared to paint the outside….otherwise that would not have happened!)
I took down the existing upper cabinets in the kitchen (and light fixtures!)
(note the only light in the kitchen is the fluorescent fixture hanging from the ceiling)
had the upper cabinets replaced with new (stock unfinished) ones that reached higher to the ceiling
(Thank you Jeff for your expert installation.)
Of course I'm sparing you of the interim photos!
OK, no I'm not.
This was an amazingly difficult job, due to the many issues that cropped up due to the various conditions of the cabinets to be painted.
I also added cabinets to the two bathrooms and finished them with stain and paint.
Of course they all got
(and hinges and glides)
I figured out how to install under cabinet lighting in the kitchen with new fangled LED lighting.
Then as I realized I still did not have enough storage, I bought some
inexpensive oak cabinets on line
and refinished them
then had them installed……
with a configuration like this in mind….
(and not the $2,100 price tag Home Depot quoted me!)
And most recently, I decided to replace the front storm door and when I took the old one down,
I realized the paint was peeling from the door frame……
and had to remove that with a heat gun and prime and paint it….and while I was there I repaired,
primed and painted the porch ceiling.
I installed a new front door lockset and house numbers...
Oh, and I always forget, I had all the windows replaced with new ones.
and replaced most of the window blinds
with new ones...
and then there was that new swamp cooler I got because pigeons were nesting in the old one.
and that list goes on and on…..
I have more to do of course, a patio and block wall, new landscaping….and want to spiff up the studio/garage floor, install the vanity countertop, and have a new railing made for the stairway….
but right now
I'm busy moving my studio again….
and unpacking boxes I've had in storage for three years
How many times can I do that?
I can't tell you
how many times…
but the one thing I want to say throughout this renovation, that I did it pretty much myself….
for reasons of thrift and convenience
because most times calling in help does not satisfy when one knows one can do the work
at least as well and many times better
than the 'guys' she's been conditioned to rely on…
Yes, the one thing I wanted to say, was that I never really felt like I 'knew' what I was doing
or up against
until I got into it.
Like flipping the door around.
I was sure the $50 an hour handyman 'guy' I consulted could grasp that concept and all he did was complain & say how much simpler it would be to buy a new door in a frame (and discard the old perfectly good one!?)
So what happened throughout this renovation, was that I put my face into each project, took one step at a time, weighed my options, did the research, drew on my past experience, complained a bit,
coveted my tools,
and my support system
I could do this.
And when all else failed, some miracle happened, and I lost track of all time and space, and was guided to the finish.
There were times I was sure I couldn't complete a task……and suddenly the solution appeared….my brain functioned, or a heavy cabinet became not so heavy.
I feel so blessed to have had the time, the means and the opportunity to carve out this little space for myself and thank those parts of me that kept the faith that we (my guides and me)
could make this work.
Same little brown box
a work in progress.