Archive | February, 2011

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

28 Feb

I used to think Murphy’s law was just a big ol’ heap of negativity—until last week when everything that could go wrong went wrong with gusto. Last Thursday was the very worst day ever— worse than Alexander’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Why, you might ask?

One of the crews didn’t show up according to schedule. The appliances dropped—wrong vent hood delivered. The faucet arrived and it was all wrong. I ordered another faucet. Wrong again. Drove home to pick up the UPS delivery and bring it back to Bradford. Got there and realized I locked myself out of the house. Picked up the delivery from UPS and it was wrong, too. It was just one of those days and we’ve had very few of those days on this project so I guess we were due a double portion. Received. I’ll pass on the seconds. Thankfully, everyone involved rolled with the punches. And nobody turned on anybody… because that’s what happens when things get super stressful, people start turning on each other and before you know it you’re in a kill or be killed situation. Thankfully, everyone remained calm. Direct yet calm. I can handle that.

Clearly, the past few days have been the most stressful days of the project. And stress takes its toll.

A) It makes me feel (and act) crazy and overwhelmed and sensitive. I cry and I run red lights. True story. Very true story.

B) It makes me ask myself what’s really important about this house?

What’s important has little to do with the actual house and everything to do with the people who walk in and out of its doors. Even more, what’s important is to acknowledge that this house is a gift from God. When I started looking for a house this is not what I was looking for. This is a better than what I could have imagined. My job is, quite simply, to be the steward of this house—to use it for good and not harm, to make it a home for a lot of people, to be a really good neighbor.

All the hustle and bustle of the final week has me thinking about the Scripture we wrote on the door frames of the house. Underneath gray walls and pretty trim are verses—verses that people shared with me, verses that seemed appropriate to me, verses that capture the spirit of this house and the process of building it.

Hosea 6:3 says, Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” That verse is the banner over this house and the experience of building it.

These are several verses throughout the house. Here are a few of that are written on the door frames:

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will give blessings to them and multiply them and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. Ezekiel 37:26 (Amplified Bible)

The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us… He will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great. May the Lord give increase more and more… we will bless the LORD  From this time forth and forever. Psalm 115: 12-18

Every good giving, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the lights, with whom is no variation, or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (YLT)

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9


Something old. Something new.

24 Feb

The downstairs bath should be classic–that has been the collective thought all along. But, we all know what happened with this house–it took on a life of its own. We just go with its flow.

When I made such great claims about what the bathroom should be back in July/August I had no idea I’d stumble upon the hardwood floors I have. I had no idea there would be yellow pendant lights hanging in the hallway that lead to this bathroom. And, I had no idea what to do a few weeks ago when I was standing in Mission Stone staring at my options for classic tile. All the sudden classic didn’t seem entirely right. I hate that moment. The moment when you thought you knew what you were doing but suddenly what you were doing isn’t what you should be doing.

So, apparently I’m pretty transparent. Brad knew I wasn’t settled and I think Chris (Mission Stone) could see it, too. Thus began their exercise in patience. And I kept saying, I don’t know, guys, which was a pretty clear indicator that I changed my mind. Again.

I was in limbo and here’s why: the bath is right off the hallway and kitchen. Both are so distinctly “unclassic” that a bathroom with white hex tile on the floor, white subway, white square pedestal–well, it just needed something.

Maybe a black tile border on the floor? It wasn’t right. We looked at other tile shapes and colors. That’s not the answer. We talked about a band in the subway tile around the walls. Who’s going to see that with a shower curtain. Waste of creativity. We decided to use gray grout. Closer. But we still aren’t quite there.

After an hour or so, I wanted to say: Whatever, let’s just go with classic. This never works because Brad usually advises me to walk away from the choosing and come back to it the next day because it’s obvious that I am throwing in my creative towel.

“Amy, let’s take some of the hardwood and make a border with it.” Perfect. Absolutely perfect. That’s exactly what we should do. And so, he did.

Something old. Something new. I like it.


Quickly, can I update you?

23 Feb

The tallest doors in the whole wide word are drying. Soon enough they will swing from hinges. For now, they dry.

The counter tops are being installed.

The piece on the right is for Bradford. The piece on the left is a once hopeful candidate. We rejected it. Wrong color. Wrong mood. Wrong message.

Also, my favorite electrician is working at light speed. Ha. Lights are dangling from ceilings, ceiling fans are spinning around, and the doorbell now has a chime. He is my favorite because he’s awesome. Not because he’s the only electrician I know. He’s very skilled and very nice–two good ways to be.

In other news, I have misplaced a very important pendant light from Barn Light Electric Company. I can’t say how this happened but it has happened. And, I could just throw up. Soon I’m going to call in the National Guard to help me search. Quite frankly, I’m freaking out. Everyone else seems relatively calm.

More tomorrow.

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.

22 Feb

The post from Friday—the one with all of those gray swatches of color on the wall—it meant nothing to me. Again, I find myself chatting with my friends who mix paint at The Home Depot. And they say Disney World is the happiest place on earth. Please.

I left with five new samples and more trim kit rollers wishing I’d come up with the idea for trim kits. Saturday morning—after I asked God to intervene before other people staged an intervention—I rolled on the first four of five new colors when I realized that my approach was all wrong. Just when I thought was all maxed-out on paint sample lessons it occurred to me: these colors wouldn’t fight if you’d give them all their own space to play. You might like one if you weren’t looking at all four.

Bradford Avenue Lesson #264: When testing paint colors give every color its own space.

See how they’re all fighting: purple trips green, green shoves brown, brown slaps gray around. It’s just… it’s just more than I can referee right now. So I came to my senses and put one color on one space.

Four samples vs. one sample

I chose the gray on the left: Repose Gray, a Sherwin-Williams color. And you can tell absolutely nothing about it from these pictures because the lighting is poor. But still, I share. We’re all in progress, right?

It feels a little like Christmas to me. I’m night-before-Christmas excited about peeling off all the brown paper and seeing this room for what it’s really worth. Thirteen paint samples later another decision bites the dust.


Somebody talk me off the ledge.

18 Feb

Maybe that’s a little drastic.

It’s time. It’s time to settle on the paint color. It’s time for the master sink to be delivered. It’s time for me to get that white cabinet I bought out of my neighbor’s living room and into my bathroom.  It’s time for the mail slot to be cut into the front door. It’s time for me to get the house numbers on the house so metro can come and deem this place livable.  It’s time for people to stop dumping crap in the dumpsters I’m paying for. Please see the empty threat left for the unlawful. We’re into intimidation. What can I say? I thought it was a brilliant move on the Good Contractor’s part. It’s time. I’ve gotta move before we have to resort to new intimidation tactics.

Here’s a confession about building this house: It has challenged me. Greatly. By nature, I’m spontaneous and not so decisive. Yet I have made more decisions in the past six months than I have in the eight years I’ve lived in this town. I equate this with being a right-handed person who is being asked to write with her left hand. It doesn’t come naturally. I can be decisive it’s just that I don’t want a schedule for being decisive. Like I said, this has challenged me, stretched me, whatever–it’s been good for me.  And likely challenging for everyone else. It’s been rewarding, too. Very rewarding.

So. Get this. The walls… they need to be painted. Shocker. But I am absolutely stuck about the shade of gray for the living room. I know, I’m just full of shocking statements this morning.

Please. Look at this. It’s a color swatch nightmare. (The dark paint is from a video shoot that I did for work. It’s not in the running. Ignore it.)

I am all over the place. But I am going to decide this weekend. Maybe today.

So, on Monday, when you read this blog. I hope that you find a post explaining how I came to my senses and finally found the “right” gray.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.

17 Feb

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost


These floors are sick.

16 Feb

My vocabulary fails me. I’m resorting to slang. If I start using the word “crunk” then you’ll know I’ve completely lost my grip.

A lot of time and effort went into these floors. And, they are sick. And, I never say sick. But I can’t find another word.This is sick y’all.

Yesterday Titus sanded and sealed the reclaimed floors. I walked in just in time to get a glimpse of the action this afternoon. I was floored. Pun intended.

Aside from the story they tell and the personality they bring, these wooden planks lining up and connecting to make my floor add so much character to my house. And the fact that they were a joint effort, a team project of sorts, makes them “sicker.” They are stealing the show and that’s fine with me.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading!