The formal living room has been re-papered and the floors have been sanded and refinished.

The last six-plus months have found me knee-deep in city home renovations, working on projects that have been twenty years in the making. We built our primary residence two decades ago, and it has elegantly housed a zillion humans and our furry companions. In that time, I cooked and served perhaps a zillion meals, and our appliances and center kitchen island became tired and weary and needed a refresh.

I always had homework. The work never stopped.
This center island gave us it’s all, and will alwasy be remembered with love and respect.
Our well-loved kitchen with the new fridge installed. The fridge was the first appliance to be updated.
It was a happy day when twelve large men arrived to install our new Sub-Zero Refrigerator/Freezer with Glass Door
Here you can see the new fridge installed along with the well-worn hardwood floors before refinishing.
A quick summertime photo of our fridge contents. I had to really go to the matt to get Bill to agree to this appliance, and now he loves it. This was one of our first pics, I promise the contents are way more healthy now. 🙂
We really use every single square inch of our space.
And then the island demolition. The white perimeter cabinets remain.
Here I am recently prepping family dinner with our new range. We have no sink and no countertop as you will see below, yet the beat goes on. I have been doing ALL dishes by hand in the garage utility sink, I kid you not.
The ‘kids’ assembling and plating the family meal I prepared on a temporary plywood countertop with marble pieces I jerry-rigged from leftover materials in our basement. There is no sink, yet…

Building our home was intense. We picked out every last detail, down to the light switches. I remember not having any extra cash, and now that feeling is entirely back, it’s funny how things come full circle. I’ve hit the pause button on buying new clothes, and that’s extraordinary for me, as I’m around new clothes all the time. It’s been a good exercise, making me reacquainted with the pieces in my closet and reinforcing the idea of buying well. Interiors and wardrobes are serious business, and I’ve been logged out of my wardrobe building while concentrating on the home.

I started the whole endeavor when our range started misbehaving and was kicked into high gear when the refrigerator only cooled to 58 degrees. The Sub-Zero tech had a laundry list of must-do’s, and the Viking repairman, on speed dial back in the day, had been retired. I passed the Sub-Zero onto the tech; he and his wife and four sons were thrilled and sold the Viking on FaceBook Marketplace to a home chef who last bought a 60″ range from a church in Olcott, NY, manufactured in 1951. They did not go to landfill.

All of the hardwood floors in the entire house were sanded and refinished.
They really look great. Husband says we are good for another twenty years. With the grace of God he will be 88, I will be 78 next go-round, yikes.

The floors were sanded. We initially thought we would only do the kitchen proper and the primary bath, and then realized that we were deeply in this, and why not the entire house, budget be damned. All of the floors were sanded and refinished, and they look sensational.

Getting ready to install the new range.

Our original perimeter kitchen cabinets are staying. Even after years of wear and tear, they are exceptional, and after this dust settles, I may go out on a limb and have them repainted. They are like the wardrobe mainstays: invest heavily and invest once. The kitchen island was the refresh needed. I wanted to reuse our original stainless sink (it has memories! I’ve bathed grandchildren in there!), yet our contractor, once on site, said he would not install an old sink on a new island. The kitchen sink has been the heartbeat of this entire project, holding up the process and causing me sleepless nights and anxiety. You might wonder how a kitchen sink can so move me, yet in my lifetime thus far, I’ve probably been at that kitchen sink more hours than perhaps anywhere else, except maybe getting needed shut-eye.

The sink arrived damaged. I wanted to use it, but my husband refused. I feel like my face is now damaged, with lines and etchings that won’t ever go away, so I thought, why not also the sink? And by damage, I should explain, showing signs of love and repetitive use. I drove to the plumbing outfit with that sink in the back of my car, begging and pleading for a timely replacement, and that was a hard no-go. It had to be reproduced in Europe and then sent over here, and would not be promised until late November, which means late December, which means no sink for Thanksgiving or even Christmas, so that was a thank you, but no, even though I know in my bones that good things take time, this couldn’t wait that long.

I ordered a new, more expensive, different sink. I paid extra to have it express-shipped; again, budget be damned, how do I get in this pickle? The sink is now installed. I’m waiting to have the countertop templated. We are almost at the finish line. I’ve started to look at dresses again, yet we’re not out of the woods yet.

New carpet considerations. I did not want to reinivent the wheel. We loved what we had for twenty years, it had just become red wine stained and threadbare…
Viola! The new carpeting installed. I think I need a bride in my life descending down these stairs…

Building and renovating are huge and timely investments, and both have taken chunks of my life; I wouldn’t have it any other way. Building and renovating have taken huge chunks out of my husband financially, and I am forever grateful. I’ve been out of the loop a bit as my focus has been on this project, and I don’t want to get it wrong. I remind myself that when we were building our house twenty years ago, we did nothing else but concentrate on kids and home plans, and here we are again, focusing on our aging house and our now adult children—a new sweater I can do over, but a stone countertop, not.

The new island cabinetry installed surrounded by our original white cabinets with fresh teak floors. We are getting to the finish line.

My takeaway for you, if you are here and following, is to give yourself grace and time with the things that matter and make a difference to you. No one else is paying attention. It’s ultimately up to us to land where we dream.

Currently renovating, and every day dress.

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  1. R, it’s so beautiful! You will love and enjoy every inch for 20 more years. Jeff and I renovated our ‘new kitchen’ (that we’d added on 20 years ago) and finished in Dec of 2019. With all 4 kids home
    for months during COVID I was so grateful for the space and appliances that worked! Have so much fun with all the newness over the holidays! XOXO

  2. Loved reading this Here and Following xo

  3. Shoutout your sources! Companies, brands, materials used!

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