A New Project

In what may have been the fastest close ever--offer to close in 5 days-I have a new project.  It is an older home in a lovely, community adjoining a golf course.

It is one of the plainest homes in the neighborhood.  However, what it lacks in flash, it makes up for with a gracious, open floor plan both upstairs and down.  The bathrooms are very small; however, I'm of the belief that one spends less time in the bathroom than any other room in the house.  Accordingly, I'm not going to spend my renovation dollars expanding bathrooms.  Rather, I'll leave that to the new owners and focus on fixtures, flooring and the like.  I'm going to remove the sheet goods (new) and replace with tile in addition to removing the new tub surround a tiling that it to give a more custom look.  I also will replace the lighting--while new, it is not attractive.  It is a relatively inexpensive fix.

My own kitchen proclivities give me a heightened bias toward spending dollars on renovations.  Further, I think that floors should be lifetime floors.  Therefore, I focus on putting in durable, attractive flooring. And....last but not least, I want the 'man of the house' to have space to putz around. Focusing on the garage area is warranted.

While the house was prepped to be sold, the interior paint color was not to my liking-an antique white that comes across a blush.  The trim was painted white, but only one coat. Existing paneling was painted in a matte. Tried as I might to accept the color scheme and save paint/painting dollars, alas I cannot.  More in a minute.....

 The yard is moss covered and there is no outdoor congregation space.  I'm not even sure if the central air works, but the NG furnace is working just fine. (I've since had an inspection of both units and all is well).

The home has an open, gracious floor plan. (Above done through Floorplanner).  All of the ground floor rooms open into each other. It is one of the nicest floor plans that I have seen--particularly for a home of this age (1968).  I also did a lead-based paint test, and I was pleased to see that there was no pink on the swab.

 The kitchen and den floors are a hot mess, and they need to be completely redone as they are covered in dessicated sheet goods. I had my design idea so clearly in my head--install a slate floor in kitchen/den, paint the cabinets, install new countertop etc except.....

Yesterday when I met my floor man at the house he looked at the cabinets and said, "Wow, these are solid cherry."  When I first saw them, I thought they were solid cherry, and somehow with the help of my visitor I talked myself into thinking that they were pine.   Redirect.  I will surely go to hell when I die if I paint solid cherry cabinets.  While Slate no longer works--now I will be on a mission to find the right porcelain tile.. . . . .wait, wait (the beauty of languishing posts where problems arise and then are resolved with the passage of time and effort).....

I found the perfect slate from  Stone Tile Depot.  I ordered it without a sample which is something that twisted my gut for a few days.  Why?  I had ordered a sample of another slate, and it was a palette of colors that surprised me.  I called customer service and talked to Gail.  "Has my order shipped?"  She said, "It is being loaded on the truck now, but I can get them to pull it.  You are getting 700sqf, and I want you to like it."

That is great customer service. (And the nice thing about a lousy economy is that the return of good service is notable and welcomed.) I explained my application and desire (to match natural cherry cabinets).  I asked her opinion--an opinion without any sort of throwback if I did not agree upon seeing the product.  She gave me her opinion and the counter options she thought would work.  (Absolute black granite).  She offered to layout several pieces and take a picture.  I said, "No, there will still be a color translation.  Keep it on the truck....I'm sure that it will work fine.

Almost 4000 pounds of slate arrived yesterday.  I pulled one box, and I laid it out.  It was really beautiful--it is on the elegant side of being rustic.  It is a cleft slate, meaning that that there are natural crags/clefts in it rather than being smooth (honed slated).  What is amazing about this slate is that it appears to have beautiful fossil prints in it.  It is like each is a natural work of art.

I was in my favorite paint store, an older woman and her grandson (14) came in.  He was very handsome and social young man, but there was a slight artifice to it.  I learned from his grandmother that he was autistic.  He was very well mannered; clearly he had been given a loving and supportive home.  He was home-schooled because the school system was unable to give him the beneficial environment that he required (and clearly received).

He was eagerly looking through paint brochures.  His grandmother said that it was an accomplishment for him to be doing that because of the distractions of colors.  He pointed out the doors and how much he loved them.  My daughter tells me of her autistic students, and the interesting things that captivate their attention and give them focus.  I found another brochure for him (hey, why not give away the store's brochure inventory!).  As I was sitting there looking at my slate and matching colors, I thought he might be interested in a piece.  I pulled one out and showed it to him.  I pointed out what I thought to be fossils, etc, and encouraged him to feel the slate.

He was captivated with it. I said, "I would like you to take this with you."  He beamed from ear to ear declaring,   "You spoil me!"  I replied, "You deserve to be spoiled!"   I don't believe that feeding the interests and curiosities of young people to be spoiling. In fact, I was the one who was spoiled as it was such a privilege to be around a young person so full of wonder and excitement.  His guilelessness, openness and affection were a reminder that it is WE who often put on the artifice, quash our own enthusiasm or reign in our curiosity.  It was not artifice that I first noted, but unbridled openness.

I will always remember that young man and his infectious happiness and my heart lightens as I write about the extraordinary gift of having met him.


  1. I love this entry. Food for thought.


    1. We run across such amazing people every day. All it takes is a moment to notice. Hopeyou are well.