By Edith
North of Boston and grateful

In the spirit of one-word titles, here’s mine on renewal. I should have named it Renovation, or perhaps Celebration. The kitchen in my 1880 home is on its way to being finished. It’s been in a state of dysfunction, plaster dust, and huge mess for a couple of months. We were in the dreaded water-free zone for the last four weeks, washing dishes in the bathtub (which at least is only a few yards away from the kitchen).

The old kitchen had last been updated in 1967, with homemade wooden cabinets, DSC_8471now-outdated electric ovens, and decor to match. The countertop was newer than that. We don’t know when the extension to the back of the house was added, but probably before 1950 and likely in the early 1900s. When we bought the house in the summer of 2012, the kitchen had small windows, drawers that didn’t slide well, mouse droppings under the sink, and just wasn’t to our taste.IMG_2611

This is our last house, so we wanted a nice kitchen. My talented beau Hugh started demolishing. We ordered cabinets, new applicances, and bigger windows. We gave away the old ovens and some cabinets. We took out a wall so the kitchen will be a continuous space with the sitting room. We designed a new laundry area right near the back door, since I’m a clothesline maniac.

But what does this have to do with writing a book?

scrivenerWIPI’m a bit more than halfway through writing the first draft of Farmed and Dangerous, the third Local Foods mystery. It’s a work in progress. Some days a lot gets done, some days almost nothing. It’s my job, to write this book. I work on it every week day and sometimes on the weekend. I celebrate when it’s finished.

IMG_2965The kitchen is exactly the same. It’s a work in progress. Hugh does most of the work, and we hire a plumber and an electrician to do what he can’t or isn’t supposed to in the eyes of the home inspector. Some days we see lots of progress. Other days it stalls out. The work always takes longer than you think it will. And it’s not done yet. But look how pretty it is so far. It’s a real joy to have actual IMG_2981counter tops, actual cabinets, and actual running water again. A few items are yet to be completed: the island top, the floor, the ceiling. But it’s up and running for cooking and storage and I am thrilled. We’re going to truly inaugurate it by cooking and serving Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen in a couple of weeks.  And yes, we celebrated the return of a sink and a working faucet!

What’s your renovation story? How do you celebrate the end of a long job? What kind of renewal have you been up to lately?

15 Thoughts

  1. First, Edith, what a wonderful update you’ve done. It looks marvelous. And the term Renovation fits the editing process, I think. My first manuscript, which is going out for review soon I hope, will have a final “renovation” of a few chapters because of what I’ve learned over the past few months. My Beta readers comments and the many points to ponder I gained at last weekend’s Crime Bake gave me the insights needed to address those final points that will make it whole. It feels like it’s in the final stages just as is your kitchen – something to celebrate because it’s almost ready to invite guests (readers).

    1. Well, I’m, gulp, cooking Thanksgiving for a dozen in there in 16 days. But I doubt it will be completely finished by then. So yes, maybe I’ll do a Christmas open house/kitchen launch or something! Good idea.

  2. Beautiful renovation! I hope you and your family enjoy many yummy meals created there.

    I guess my renewal is also renovation-related. One of my sons moved out a couple of years ago, and I’ve finally decided his bedroom is…well, mine to do whatever I’d like to do with it! So I’ve slowly been turning it into a writing room. I already have an office, but that is business, and I share the desktop for bill paying and such. This room is a room of my own. The first thing I did was hang a painting of hydrangeas. It’s important to my WIP, but it also means my son won’t want to move back in. 🙂

  3. Your kitchen looks wonderful! I’ve always felt that a house is almost a living thing, and when you’ve hand your hands in the guts of it, you develop a different kind of relationship with it. Talk about knowing something inside and out!

    But I still draw the line at doing something to a house that its original designers didn’t intend. No, not what you’ve done (and kitchens should work, because you spend so much time in them). But we lived in one Victorian house where the prior owners had experimented with a raised (or was it sunken?) conversation pit in the parlor. So not a good idea. And they replaced every paneled door in the house with cheap hollow-core versions, and threw out most of the antique hardware. I cursed them a lot.

    1. Oh, ouch, Sheila. We actually asked the sellers to leave a few antique doors in the basement for us, and have incorporated them into the house. We shop for hardware at restoration stores. Upstairs, where the window trim was plain and ugly, Hugh recreated the trim from downstairs. We try to go simple and in keeping with the spirit of the house.

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