Thursday, January 26, 2012


One of my sets of parents is renovating their new home in Toronto; the other set is renovating their new villa in Mexico.  A good friend is in the middle of tearing down and rebuilding his kitchen.  Even Ken and I are doing home improvements.  We're finally replacing our broken kitchen light, and our water heater is scheduled for replacement next week.

It's about time that that kitchen light finally got replaced.  First it was intermittently flickery; then two of the four fluorescent tubes conked out.  Finally the other two gave up the ghost.  We moved two standing lamps into the kitchen several months ago have have been cooking and washing dishes in semi-darkness ever since. 

I just glad that we're not facing any major renovations in the near future.  I super-hate disruption and mess in my home.

In 1980 when my mother remarried, I was 8 years old.  We were living in a cute little post-war house, all painted white inside, with pale blue carpetting, a bay window in the dining room, and a lovely big back porch.  By the time the renos were done, and it took many long months, the house was transformed.  It was bigger and uglier.  The back porch and yard were smaller.  The bay window was gone.  The carpet was a cool, oatmeally shade of beige, which wouldn't have been bad if it hadn't been combined with a sofa-and-loveseat set in an obnoxious shade of rusty orange.  All the previously white wooden trim was stripped and stained dark brown. 

My parents don't have terrible taste.  Unfortunately they were limited by two things: an interior decorator who was a slave to the latest trends, and the bottom line.  The renovation itself, the bones of it, had gone so over-budget that they were forced to make their decorating choices from whatever was on clearance at the time. Therefore we ended up with materials that everyone else had rejected because they were so ugly.

I was happy with how my own bedroom turned out.  I kept it simple: pale green paint on two of the walls, and a cheap white wooden desk-and-dresser set.  As for the rest of the house, I disliked it very much. It was so different from the old house, my house, that I didn't feel at home there anymore.  I'm sure it didn't help that my step-dad had just moved in and we were all having a hard time adjusting to the change. 

15 years later when they had the money, my parents redecorated again.  The oatmeal carpet was ripped up, and pale blue carpet was installed.  The dark brown trim was painted white again.  In other words, to some extent they returned the house to how it looked originally.  That was after I moved out. 

I understand that the end result of a good renovation is worth all the hassle and expense, but still, I'd rather avoid ever having to live through something like that again, if I can.


DarcKnyt said...

Renovations put such a strain on everyone and everything in the house. It's stressful, dangerous, dirty and tiring. I know sometimes it's necessary, but man, sometimes just buying a new house seems so much easier, doesn't it?

Good luck to all your families with theirs and to you with yours. I hope they are smooth and UNDER budget. :)

Tracy Makara said...

Remodeling...moving...major headaches! Hopefully both sets of parents will have a smooth time with theirs. The reno you were talking about with your old house does sound horrid!

Bet you can't wait to get your kitchen light fixed. Cooking and doing dishes by lamplight sounds a little gloomy. I like to have good lighting in the kitchen and the apartment where I live now has unbalanced lighting. It's weird because even though the light is in the middle of the ceiling it just doesn't reach everywhere.

wigsf3 said...

New villa in Mexico???

These people not read the newspapers lately. There's a bounty of Canadian heads down there. We're getting used and abused down there.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Home renovations make most people insane... not me though... I was insane long before I renovated anything.

Sabrae Carter said...

Gotta love renovations! NOT! I watch HGTV all the time and wonder how those people handle it sometimes! Good luck with yours!

LL Cool Joe said...

We are about to have our bathroom done. They are gutting it and starting from scratch, and I'm dreading it. My partner pushes for all these things to be done, whereas I'm just happy to live with the crap we have. :D As long as it works I'm happy.

Good luck with your work.

Lynn said...

I had a contractor convince me that refinishing my current kitchen cabinets was the way to go. They did come out nice, but oh my, the mess it made. Guess who had to clean the bulk of that up? I'm still finding sanding dust in the odd crevice here and there. (They fortunately put a dropcloth over my sofa and dining table and chairs.

I got a new kitchen light fixture in that same redo and went from flourescent to track lighting with hallogen bulbs. Those bulbs are hard to change and are very expensive. If I had it to do over, I'd have gone with incandescent overhead lighting.

I hope you get to visit that villa in Mexico!

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: I have to give my mom credit. My step-dad wanted to move us to a new neighbourhood, but my mom convinced him to renovate instead so that I could stay settled with my familiar friends and school. I will always be grateful to her for that.

Tracy: Yup, having a dark kitchen isn't the greatest, especially in the middle of winter. Sounds like you need more lighting in your kitchen. Or you could just move to someplace with a whole new kitchen... oh wait, you ARE moving! :-)

wigsf: The media are obsessed with violence in Mexico, but it's not equally dangerous everywhere in the whole country. The little town where my parents have settled has a way lower violent crime rate than Toronto.

Ron: Yes, I think the fact that you enjoy smashing down walls proves your point. ;-)

Sabrae: Thanks! HGTV is great for vicariously enjoying the thrill of renovation without the mess or the expense.

LL Cool Joe: Good luck with the bathroom reno! I'm like you - usually more than happy to live with the status quo. My husband always wants to improve everything. I resist as much as possible, but when he does convince me in the end I always like the results.

Lynn: Oh man, the dust and mess! I can imagine it. When I was getting my first house worked on (we had to upgrade the wiring to code) our contractor told us that in the industry they refer to it as "divorce dust". Apparently many marriages fall apart during the stress of renovations. I find that easy to believe!

Granny Annie said...

By the time I reached college age I had lived in 11 different houses in 9 different towns. My children grew up from ages 8&9 to college in one house and now my son has since moved his family into that same house. Ron and I, the children, grandchildren, godchildren all have keys to that house:) Guess my son never knows who will pop in. LOL

DarcsFalcon said...

Oh, I'm with you on the dark kitchen thing. Our light bulbs keeps burning out and it drives me crazy. I think the heat from the bulbs builds up inside the bowl and blows them. I hadn't even gotten down off the ladder when one blew out last time I changed them. It's such a pain I mostly just live with the dim.

How exciting all the new homes around you! So many cool vacation spots to travel too, it'll be hard to choose! :)

Congrats on the new water heater too. I had one go out on me years ago and that is. not. fun. Aaaarrrrgh! ;)