Thursday, March 10, 2011

Renovation Affirmations

When things get stressful in my life, I try to use the power of positive thinking, a habit I got from my mom.  For example, when I had less than stellar hostel experiences as a younger traveller, I would say to myself, " I can sleep anywhere for one night."  When my kids are going through a particular challenging period: "It's just a phase!"  If times are tough at work: "I love my job and everyone I work with."  So as I prepare for some of the stresses of  months of disruption in my home, I am thinking ahead to the affirmations that will help me maintain (regain?) sanity.

So far, I have been inspired by my friend who is almost back home - can't wait! - after living away for 6 months during the worst of her major reno project.  She seems to be going with, "We are so lucky to be able to do this kind of project."  Like it!  Big renos are expensive and it is true that we are incredibly lucky to have what we have and be able to live so comfortably.  Our family is fortunate in so many ways.  So what if we are slightly inconvenienced for a few months?   You can follow the story of their almost finished home renovation and her positive attitude here.

Another postive thought is, "In less than a year you will be living in your newly renovated home!"  This one never fails to make me take a breath and consider how time flies.  Though there will certainly be stress and inconvenience and the threat of poverty, it will be a distant memory in a few years.

Another neighbour kept this positive thought in mind during her renovation:  After having her home appraised, she checked listing for homes of similar size in the suburbs, and determined that if they got in over their heads financially, they would still have enough left over to provide a home for their family.  She could breathe again.

What am I telling my kids who know that we will have to leave our house for a while and that things will change  in the only home they have ever known.  I tell them, "Wherever we go, we will be together.  It will all be good!"

OM! (Yoga at our annual street party - one of the reasons to add on rather than move.)

Please share your positive thoughts and suggestions for daily renovation affirmations.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Live with it!

After a lunch hour visit from our contractor, designer and architectural technologist, we were all chatting about home improvement shows.  One of them commented that on many of the shows the designers, it seemed, ended up taking over from the homeowners, either by kicking them out and they would only see their homes when they were finished, or by taking over on decisions so that the owners lost "ownership" of the final result.

What I am enjoying about the process so far with our reno. plan, is that Drew and I are very active in all the design decisions.  Drew started a floor plan at least 2 years ago, and it went through at least 20 50 iterations  before the designer came on the scene. Drew measured the house, drew our current layout and then started playing with various floor plans.  Here is a peek into two layouts considered somewhere along the way for our second floor, but not what we have chosen to do. (Don't worry, we will reveal plans when they are finalized.  In the meantime, we will keep you guessing!)
  Yellow identifies our current home.  This exercise of looking at all these different layouts was at times frustrating, but I appreciate it now, because we worked through so many possibilities sitting side by side at our desk, that we knew what we did, and didn't want.  Once the designer got involved, she did bring new possibilities and limitations :( to light.    Sometimes we have had to stand our ground over things that we know we want, but it is only after considering her professional input.

  I have heard people say that before renovating a newly purchased house, one should live in it for a while to see the flow, how the rooms are really used.  Well, after 11 years, I feel like we know our house and how we use it.  We just want to love it again.

That is how we came up with our wish list:
  • larger kitchen with island - (When our kids talk about kitchens they like, they talk about sitting at an island or bar, open to the living area.)
  • extra bedroom - we would like to have guests once in a while
  • master ensuite and closet
  • mudroom
  • main floor powder room                                                                                                                   (All these things may seem basic to those living in new suburban builds, but they are luxuries for anyone living in an unrenovated post-war era home like ours.)
Then there are the little things we have dreamed of over the past several years:
  • more than one outlet in the dining room - I know, we dream BIG!
  • an outlet beside the stairs for our Christmas garland (thanks, Andrea!)
  • a real hall closet and proper entrance,  with room to move so we are not pinned into our 4x3 vestibule/closet when someone comes to the door
  • a living room layout that works
  • a fully renovated main bathroom - the only room we haven't changed, except to paint, since we moved in
I feel so lucky that we are ready and able to start this exciting project.

****Please note, though my husband may have named this blog, he does understand that "'Gimme, gimme' never gets!"