Monday, February 4, 2013

Renovation Diary

Buyer's remorse is the wicked cousin of 
Remodeling Remorse. 
It can strike without warning and without mercy.

I've renovated before, and the hair-raising project taught me plenty about buying older homes. You can't make them into something they're not. You must be patient with the house, concentrating on its virtues, making peace with the quirks. Trouble will happen. Sometimes you get lucky and hit on a solution. 

For example, take this wall. Art can't be hung. Furniture won't look right. The wall is cut up with a staircase, which is pretty, but the intercom is something I don't need or want. Apparently it was installed before the house went on the market as an update. Removing it appears to be impossible.
However, the box can be moved on the other side of the staircase wall. The HVAC return can be moved, too. 

My goal was to make the staircase smaller, remove the offensive intercom/vent, and add a bit of drywall. Then I could add a shallow dish cupboard, a smaller version of the one in the film 
"Something's Gotta Give."

While I don't regret moving the intercom/vent or enlarging the wall, I don't think a china cabinet will fit. But I can hang art, etc. This was a good thing, as Martha would say.

From this angle, you can see the problem: traffic flow and width of the opening. In my mind's eye, I see a cupboard, white dishes lined up, very Somethings Gotta Give-ish. Then a huge dog races into the kitchen and ... boom!

Nope, ain't gonna fit.

Something's Gotta Be Sacrificed when you're remodeling.

Also, you can see a new problem, one that might not have a happy ending. The wall between the kitchen and living room has been removed. I don't think it's wide enough. And it looks odd.

The original door was off-set to begin with (I never noticed):

The same problem cropped up when we blew out the dining room walls, but we had more space. It turned out lovely. But the kitchen opening worries me.

The Bathroom-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named is another worry, 
but it will be ignored for now.

I've got Renovation Remorse.

Will has a remedy. "Sell."
Something's gotta give, indeed. 

Pin It

Social Bookmarking


  1. My heart ached for you as I read this--sorry that things in the house aren't coming along as you had hoped they would. Listen to your heart, sometimes it helps to put things on hold for a short time, step back, take a second look and then move forward and not look back.

    You are in my prayers and thoughts!

    Mary L

  2. I feel your pain - or remorse. You're right - you can't make a house into something that it was never meant to be. Sometimes it's just better to get out while you can and find something that makes your heart skip a beat.

  3. As my BIL who had his own construction company likes to say, "Lady, houses weren't built to be remodeled!"
    I feel your pain. We'd like to make some changes, but just not possible. Good luck with all these decisions.

  4. I feel your frustration, I really do. Sleep on it for a while and don't make any hasty decisions has always worked for me. My best decisions come at five in the morning :)

    I'm really fond the color of your dining room walls. So peaceful yet cheery. If you get a chance and remember the name of the color, I would love to know.

  5. I don't think the wall between the kitchen and living room looks too odd. I think if you did the same decorating treatment on both sides of the wall, it would add continuity. Narrow shelves there maybe?

  6. Oh no no I think you are jumping the gun here - that opening will be fine once you have a nice wall mirror up to balance it- you are only seeing what's missing - you haven't - too soon- been able to do 7th layer will be fine, trust me.

    It's all looking wonderful, perhaps you are jut a bit over whelmed, as you have done so so much already.

  7. Thanks, ladies. I will know soon if the kitchen wall can be opened up a bit or if it's load bearing. Was up all night with a sick Yorkie (he's better today), so suddenly the house stuff seems trivial.

  8. I agree with the last 2 commenters, Pam and Michele ! Don't give up ! I think it's going to look beautiful when finished ! I dont think anything looks odd - I think it's going to be lovely. Just give it some time - sleep on it like someone else said - or, if you can, take a few days off from it and look at it with fresh perspective next week. I think you are on the right track - things DO have a way of working out, my sweet Mother always said......

  9. Lawdy!...I agree with Patricia,Pam & Michele.
    YOU CAN DO IT! I have faith.
    It is going to be a stun'r.
    Hope your little dawgy is better.

  10. Poor little poochie! ~~pat-pat~~ I'm glad he's doing better today.

    ML, why can't you RECESS the shelving?? Make it flush with the wall & have the shelves extend backwards into the open space behind? Maybe I'm not seeing what you're seeing...without being there in real life it is hard to visualize. I'm thinking like a niche!
    Can't they just cover up the intercom guts, esp. if you don't ever intend to use it. You'd still have to leave the HVAC open to air, but it could be BEHIND some lovely louvered doors or perhaps turned sideways so as to give you more room.
    Just trying to help. I'm sorry this is so frustrating for you. I'd have a major headache. DH has built 7 homes in his life time...only 2 of them with me as his wife...each time it was easier to move & build new than to remodel.

    Supportive Hugs,

  11. We are starting a remodeling project at our house, and I must say, it's easier to build a house from scratch than remodel! I understand your frustration, but what you have done so far is beautiful! The rest will fall into place. If the opening can't be widened, then a tall piece of furniture, or a chest with a picture over it, will balance the door. I hope your little doggie continues to get better!

  12. Poor baby...the yorkie, I mean:) Glad he is OK now. Hope the remodeling goes a little better for you. I always thought having a nEW home would be a breeze....but I am finding out that it isn['t easy either. I am having trouble fitting into this space. XO, Pinky

  13. Whether renovating or building new...always stressful...even when building a new home, I find that when we move in...I would say..."what was i thinking?...I should have done this!"....sometimes taking a break from it all for just a little while helps...I feel that your home is just beautiful....

  14. I wish I hadn't read this post before bed, it kept waking me up. A few years ago I had a beautiful gift and boutique shop and was always in a constant state of flux, moving things around like a crazy person. So I just naturally fall back into that mode when I read about someone looking for a solution / space related.

    Have you thought about extending the wall even further, blocking the stairs entirely from that room? I don't see the reason to only show a couple stairs. If you do that you will gain a few feet more of wall space.

    When I found myself in a quandary, it was helpful to just sleep on it for a time and a solution would pop into my head.

    I just love your blog. I mean, I really LOVE your blog!
    take care,