It’s a Wrap

All repairs to the walls/moulding damaged while trying to install the office door were corrected and the final moulding around the inside of the room was installed.  This marks the completion of the final room in my house.

In addition to completing the office, I was able to take extra door trim to dress the basement exterior (not doing anything to the basement side of basement door) and kitchen exterior doors.  All of the closets have been dressed, except for the kitchen pantry and guest bedroom closet  (intentionally left off) with floor and inside door moulding.  This means the inside restoration is a wrap.

I held a Birthday Open House to celebrate the occasion on Saturday and was amazed by the number of people; colleagues, clients, friends, family, that came to see the work that had been accomplished.  Approximately 40 people braved the torrid rainfall and gusty winds.  It was a proud moment.  I absolutely loved showing her off and I was overwhelmed by the 100% positive feedback I received.  It was humbling, but my inner soul was enjoying the praise.  The flow of people was constant throughout the 3-hour event and I was so busy giving tours that the only picture I have as evidence of the wonderful afternoon is the haul of gifts received.  Also overwhelming; I haven’t had that many gifts to open at one time since undergrad graduation.

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I was asked what is my favorite room in the house.  It is the hallway leading to and including the guest bedroom, all done in tribute to my mother that I so wish were alive to share this moment with me.  She’s been gone almost 20 years and the void her death left is still strong.  I adorned the hallway with pictures of her from childhood through early adult and the guestroom walls are filled with more items in tribute to her.  I am my mother’s only child and because I made the conscious decision to not have children I wanted her pictures and awards to have life.  Once I’m gone I don’t know if anyone else will care.

The furniture was hers, she loved the Victorian style.  I remember her joy when it was delivered.  The quilt on the bed is one she purchased during a trip we made to Gatlinburg, but barely used.  It was on her bed when she came home from the hospital for the last time, but she had me take it off when her meds made her vomit.  She feared ruining it.  I’ve stored it for the last 20 years.  It falls a little short on this modern thick mattress, but I don’t care.  I’ve saved it for this very moment.

The celebration did not end with the Open House.  I had about an hour to clean up for a 6 pm quaint dinner party with five friends that were joining me for the Najee concert at the Ludlow Garage.  Najee was my go to study music in undergraduate school, so when I got the email that he was going to be right up the road I thought that would be a great birthday activity.  His Najee’s Theme LP was one of the first vinyl records I played once I got my sound system set in my master suite, so I took the cover with me to the concert in hopes of getting it signed.  Thanks to Robbie Todd, the promoter that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since the World Choir Games, it was signed, “To Venus.  Thank You Love Najee”.

Reaching this moment is bittersweet.  I’ve been an emotional wreck all week (damn menopause).  My heart is heavy, the tears have flowed.  This project has consumed my life for two years.  Almost every vision I had for the house from my very first walk through with Joe Gorman, Executive Director of Camp Washington Community Board, have come true.  The two areas that are a disappointment, the kitchen floor and spa-like function of the master shower, are correctable.  I should be elated, but this milestone sadly coincided with being confronted with the reality that a person I held in significance and had envisioned enjoying this house with will never be a part of it.  I’ve restored a beautiful house, but now struggle with figuring out how my house will become a home.  She deserves to be filled with sounds of laughter and joy, not hollow solo footsteps and TV noise.  I hope I’ll be able to replicate January 11 many times moving forward.  It was a special day I’ll cherish for a long time.

I was also asked what is next.  I know I can and will fix the kitchen floor.  I’ll add a steam unit to the master shower.  I will finish my master bed headboard, make my dining room table and office desk.  Hopefully by spring a loan from a bank would have come through and I can enjoy watching a contractor paint the exterior and then start Phase Two of the vision, the detached garage.  With a slight tweak of the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage, skill, patience, finances, to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

I was still cleaning up things minutes before the first guest arrived, so I did not have a chance to hang before pictures in each room allowing people to see the transformation.  Enjoy this before and after slideshow.

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Freakin’ Awesome

I had my mind set on a cast iron tub, given the age of the house.  I had selected several from the Signature Hardware website, when a friend who had bought an acrylic tub from them said I should go to their showroom.  At that point I didn’t even know they were a local company.  I learned of them from watching many HGTV shows that use their products.

Most important for me was getting a tub that would allow me to fully extend my legs, something I could not do in the tubs of my old house.  I was so focused on length, that I did not take into account width and it turned out all the cast iron tubs were narrow, I felt trapped sitting in them.  The showroom person pointed out the acryllic, Renlo model, which comes in various lengths, but the 70″ happened to be on display.  It was perfect, wide and long and its style I thought would fit.  While the house is old my master bath was a new creation in it.  I worked hard to replicate the 1st floor bathroom, but I felt free to “design” this space.  Plus I knew it would be difficult getting a cast iron tub upstairs.  I was swayed.

Signature Hardware, from the showroom, will sell returned merchandise, its been so long I forgot the exact term they used.  Another person had ordered the 67″ version with a chrome overflow and drain, but cancelled the order before delivery.  Since the drain had already been attached it was sold at a discount, 40% off if my memory serves me.  I had not planned to do chrome fixtures, but could live with it for the savings.  I didn’t jump right away because the 70″ fit so good; even leaning back my knees did not need to bend.  I left, called my father, to share my findings.

 

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About an inch gap between tub and linen closet door, so the extra 3″ would have been problematic.

Since he had been studying my plans his first question was are you sure you have room for 70″.  I went to the house (this was pre-drywall, amazing) and measured where I thought the linen closet door would swing.  He was right.  I called the next day and paid for the discounted tub.  They stored it for a month before I had to take delivery.  That tub stayed in its box, which i put on wheels so it could be easily worked around by the drywall crew, until I laid the tile in that area.  18 months after purchase its connected and I enjoyed my first bath.

Lights dimmed, music playing, it was freakin’ awesome.  Exactly as seen in my mind’s eye almost two years ago.

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Tub half-full, I’m sitting up, knees completely submerged
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Tub about 3/4 full, I’m leaning back, knees out of water.
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I’m leaning back, knees submerged at the sacrifice of my feet