Monday, November 14, 2016

The Other Part of the Reno

Until last weekend, this part of the house had been largely ignored.

When we pulled all of the furniture from the family room, we were making the area available for the folks who were laying our hardwood. Naturally, nothing could be left on the floor, and all of the baseboards needed to be removed. We had a blank slate, ready to start over again.

With the carpet ripped up, I took the opportunity to repaint the stippled ceiling and to apply some fresh paint to the walls that hadn't seen a coat since the house was built, when the builders had applied a cheap white. Every year, as I looked at and loathed those plain walls, I wanted to add a more-durable paint. The antique white that we chose made the walls look clean and added a touch of warmth.

The two walls that I did paint, back in 2000, when we took possession of our first home, I covered in a bold, burnt red, and while DW and I loved the colour, the renovations called for a change. And so, I painted the walls, then stepped aside for the flooring company to lay the hardwood.

When the floors were finished, the family room was used as a staging point for the design company to build our kitchen cabinets. As boxes were opened, the cardboard was flattened and laid down to protect our new flooring. As the cabinets went into place, the cardboard stayed and other things were put in the family room: the range hood, the exhaust vent, ladders and work benches, tools. Everything focused on the kitchen, and the family room took a back seat, so to speak.

Our family room, as a kitchen staging area.
 Last week, DW and I still hadn't come to an agreement on the backsplash tiles, and so, to keep the renovation moving, turned our attention to the family room. The last time we tried to move anything for the family room, we tried, unsuccessfully, to move a sofa into the house via the back door. The sofa seemed larger than to widest opening into our home, and we considered either taking the sliding doors out of their frame or selling the second-hand couch.

DW, not satisfied with the dimensions that we calculated, decided to create a miniature scale model of the door frame and the sofa. She played with all of the possible angles that we could turn the sofa, to make it fit through an opening that we previously figured was a half-inch too narrow.

In the meantime, last weekend, I borrowed an electric mitre saw from a friend and cut lengths of baseboard. Cutting the strips was easy, but I found that nailing the boards into place was a bigger challenge. The baseboards are made of compressed particle board, which makes them very strong, and also make them difficult to nail by hand: bent nails, nails popping out as others were hammered in.

I lose my cool when I'm stressed. After unsuccessfully securing my first strip, I gave up for the weekend.

This weekend, I found another friend who had a brad nail gun. My folks had an air compressor, and in less than a half of an hour, all the boards were in place. Some filler caulk, a coat of paint, and we were ready to move forward.

The cardboard coverings came off for the first time since the floors were finished. All of the tools and fixtures that didn't belong were moved out. Dust was cleared, floors were polished. Our entertainment cabinet was moved into place and our TV, which hadn't been hooked up to our cable for two months, was put back in place.

DW, in the meantime, had calculated an angle at which there was a good probability that the sofa would fit through the door. It would be upside-down, with the back perpendicular to the floor, and had to come in straight, and high, to clear our island counter. The handle for the sliding door had to be removed, so that the door could be slid all the way open, so that it would fit inside the fixed panel.

That sofa is really, really heavy, but we got it through the opening. Feet removed.

A trip to IKEA was our reward. New area rug. New leather covering for our Poang chair. Covers for the two throw cushions that came with the sofa. End tables.

I wrote this post, sitting at the kitchen island. Lights dimmed. DW was lying on the sofa, watching episodes of The Grinder. And though there are still tasks left to complete—the tiles, the range hood, the gas-stove hookup, the kitchen ceiling paint—life seemed to be returning to normal.

A new normal.

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