Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the Kitchen ~ the Real Heart of the Home

My friend, Susan Branch, posted yesterday that she was refreshing her kitchen. Hardwood floors refinished, a fresh coat of paint....and, all I could think of was our kitchen remodel. So here is our story....

Autumn ~ 1987
After a year of looking, we found our first house.  A little two-bedroom number with a covered patio and fireplace, two bathrooms and a farm-style kitchen.

We were excited, nervous, anxious .... we had bought a house! Two weeks before we moved in, Charlie spent nights and weekends removing wallpaper, patching walls and painting. My friend, Mary, came one weekend and we spent three days scraping the hardwood floors. The previous owner had slathered varnish on the hardwood floors with a rag mop...and, without cleaning or vacuuming! What a mess!

We took possession Halloween night. Charlie went up to the house to do some work and to see what the All Hallows Eve traffic looked like. He returned after midnight and gave me the full report: The bedroom walls were done. And, the neighborhood was eerily too quiet for our Halloween appetites! None the less, we moved in mid-November and set about making this house our home.

Whitney - 1 1/2 years old

For years, this little kitchen hummed with celebratory meals big and small. Nothing was too big for this humble kitchen.  Birthdays, dinners with friends, holidays and celebrations...we somehow managed to prepare the feast for the event without a hitch!

In 1991, it survived an earthquake and the addition of the second story with only minor (or, so we thought) cracks in the walls.

As the years passed, it became quite apparent that this farm kitchen could use a bit of, er, refreshing. I had been dreaming of rearranging the kitchen....move the stove where the sink was, move the sink to the north wall and add BIG windows so I could see the mountains while I washed the dishes. Oo0ooO0o! I had binders full of ideas, magazine examples, notes and sketches. Finally, in October 2007, we met with Dave (husband of one of our Girl Scouts, JR). I handed him the plethora of sketches, pictures and notes and asked him if he would draw up the plans.

It only took a few weeks and Dave was back with some initial plans....after discussing the plans and tweaking a thing or two....we gave him the OK!

Demo day was set for March 1, 2008.....and, in true tradition, we decorated the soon-to-be demoed walls with doodles and quotes with permanent markers. Whenever embarking on a large project where one needs to reside, it is highly recommended to subscribe to some serious silliness....

Our demo team arrived at 8 a.m. Most everything had been packed so all the guys had to do was move the appliances and then, the walls!

L-R: Dave (architect), my Charlie, Scott (contractor and right arm man) & Charlie ("CB") (my cousin).

After coffee and donuts...the work really began...
Sledge hammers in hand, Dave and Scott made mincemeat out of our one little counter!

Inspector Tom checks out the naked walls.

With the kitchen out of commission, we set up a camp-style kitchen on the patio. Complete with refrigerator, microwave and TV, meals continued without a hitch!

When it rained, we sat by the fireplace while dinner cooked.

By mid-June, the guys had completed the window framing...

Scott, CB and Charlie celebrate another milestone!

A little humor goes a long way in a construction zone!

At the end of each day, we would review the task board...removing those that were completed and adding new ones.

The floor was installed in July. Whitney stopped by to see the progress.

Charlie buffs out a few rough spots while Whitney texts.

He's rather impressed with the project!

As workers came and went, Pete was on duty making sure all was well!

6 1/2 months later, we moved back into the kitchen.

The new walk-in pantry!

 Our new old Wedgewood stove! TWO ovens and a griddle in the middle!

Look at all of that counter space! And, the BIG windows to the north!
A real dream come true!
Let the celebrations continue!

Holiday dinners are now a breeze! Well, ok, still a lot of work, but now we can cook without tripping over each other! And, family & friends can hang out in the kitchen (where they often do...) while  Chef Chuck orchestrates the final details of the meal!

The kitchen is the Heart of the Home...where family and friends gather!

Chef Chuck and me.

...and, we're still finding marshmallows!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012

Now, you would think,  being 'retired' would allow me all sorts of time to write and post new entries to my blog. Well, evidently, that's not the case...at least right now! My days seem to be zipping by at warp speed and I'm not sure what, if anything, I am accomplishing.

I must admit that I thought I would simply switch gears, going smoothly from full time employment to full time homemaking & art projects. Reality check! My schedule is now free-form...which is quite foreign to me. Oh, I get my tasks done...but, I have allowed myself to s-l-o-w down a bit and to actually get distracted.

Books on the nightstand are watching my every move...eagerly waiting for me to select a title and sit down and read awhile.  Journals are on the art table...along with the mixed media supplies. The many thoughts, ideas and dreams that are swimming in my mind need to be deposited in the journals before I forget. Yet I find myself paralyzed at times...still thinking in 'work mode'....I have to do this and have to do that just like the 14+ years I spent at my last job....work, chores and very little time for fun and creating.  Honestly, it isn't as easy as I thought it would be.

But as the summer winds down and I finally find my creative balance, this, too, will change.

So, dear blog friends, bear with me as I continue to discover what my 'new normal' is! Thanks for your patience. More to come......