It's a part of our life that has been missing for a very long time. I'm talking more than a decade.
We used to love to entertain, used to love to have company. Anywhere from having a friend or two come to our house every few days to share some wine and hang out, to a regular visitor to watch TV (our Thursday, Must-See TV of the mid to late 90s), to having a house filled to bursting—wine tastings, pot-luck dinners, and open houses—our doors always welcomed you in.
I could blame the kids for our change, for how we stopped inviting friends in, but that simply not be true. When the kids were young and in need of constant supervision, we still opened our doors to friends and family. As the kids grew older, it was easier to let them go and play in their rooms, which opened us up to being able to spend more time with the important people beyond our immediate family.
No, the reason for our making the house off limits was the house itself. The wear and tear, the natural aging without the upkeep, made parts of our living space an eyesore. Scuffs and stains on the walls (even our kitchen and family room has a splattered stain on the ceiling, when our eldest daughter, only a few years old, learned the physics of dropping an open and full jar of apple sauce on the floor, having it land completely square on its base, and the projectile reaction), damage to the vinyl flooring in the kitchen, the worn, stained, and frayed wall-to-wall carpet in the family room, and the faded, stained, and worn-out sofas.
The back part of our main floor, the most-used area of our house, is an eyesore. An embarrassment. I feel ashamed when my own parents come over to visit.
The humiliation is about to change. Soon, with any luck—perhaps, within a month—we will no longer be embarrassed to show our house.
Soon, the doors will open to guests and the parties will resume.
We're doing a makeover of the back of our house. The kitchen, which was always the least-admired part of our house—with room for only one person to work in at a time—is being reconfigured with more counter space and a much-desired island. The vinyl flooring is being torn up, replaced with hardwood, which already covers the front-half of the main floor. The hardwood will continue all the way through into the kitchen and family room: no more stained carpet.
New appliances. New furniture. A fresh coat of paint on all of the walls and ceiling (so long to our burnt-red that we've loved for almost the entire life of the house). Our most-used part of the house will be made comfortable again. Welcoming friends and family.
The first part has begun: a design has been created; cabinets have been ordered; appliances purchased. Wandering the stores, my pulse increased, my breathing became laboured. I thought I would vomit. Renovations aren't cheap. And even though we made cuts to our initial plans and budget, we're still spending more money on the house that we've ever spent (not counting the cost of the house, itself).
I don't like spending a ton of money at once. I don't like using up reserves. For the next while, I will have to budget like I've never budgeted before. I'll have to cut back on luxuries.
Oh, God... I'll have to cut back on beer!
When I did a renovation of my ensuite bathroom, it may not have seemed like a big project for many but it was a colossal undertaking for me. I'm not a handyman. I learned my limitations and I made lots of mistakes. But it's my bathroom and I don't open it to company. This current renovation is more major, more important, and everyone who visits will see what we did, warts and all.
I shared some of my bathroom-reno progress over the weekends that I worked on it. I'll share the renovations on our kitchen and family room as we go through the demolition and transformation.
Any advice will be most welcome.
Because we want to open our doors again. We want to welcome friends back into our home.
Wish us luck.