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Various Projects

While I haven’t been posting updates on our various projects (some I haven’t even documented well) we have in fact been making progress. Over the past few months we have managed to complete work on the apartment, build new doors for the garage and install shelving, repair the framing for the front porch and repair the steps, remove the wallpaper in the front parlor and paint it, and this spring we have been planting in the yard: a lemon tree, a satsuma tree, tomatoes, peppers, basil, and lots of flowers.

Jim teaching me how to build doors for the garage

Jim helped me build new shelving in the garage

New wood in place to support the front porch

Drop cloths in place for starting work on the parlor.

Stripping the Wallpaper in the Parlor

The front parlor completed just in time to put up our small tinsel tree. First Christmas in the new house!

Our Loot from a trip to Bantings Nursery

In February, K decided it was time for a sit-down dinner party. She decided that Valentines day would be a great opportunity since no one likes to go out for an over-hyped meal in a restaurant on the same day that everyone else in the city decides to go out. She pulled off a fabulous meal with everyone chipping in (she even assigned me the soup). A perfect first meal in the dining room.

Table Setting for Valentines Dinner 2011

Earlier this month we managed to score a free piano. Of course, as with all free pianos we had to move it. And this one needed a little TLC. But it is now happily ensconced in its new home and I am well on my way to playing Good King Wenceslas.

Repairing the legs on the new piano. The newest addition to the house.

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Small Step

Been a while since I’ve posted on the renovation — or anything else for that matter. Around the time of my last post, we learned that my mom had pancreatic cancer. While K and I — and K’s parents and our friends — managed to get some good work done on the house since then, I just never felt like writing about it. Writing about one part of my life without mentioning Mom seemed disingenuous. But I also couldn’t write about what we were going through. It was too personal and too hard.

Mom never got to see this house. She said returning to New Orleans and seeing the house was the one thing she wanted to do in the time she had left. But time ran out.

Since returning to New Orleans, it has been hard to muster the energy or even the focus to get back into the renovation. Tonight I took a baby step. I got out some tools and installed a closet rod in the downstairs coat closet.

It wasn’t a large project nor is it very public. But it is a small improvement that K wanted. Being able to do that for her makes me feel somewhat useful again.

I know that healing is a long journey made up of countless seemingly insignificant steps. Perhaps tonight was one of those.

New closet rod installed.

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Tile and Tunes

Returned to New Orleans today following some business travel and some personal time with my family in Virginia.

Our plane landed mid-day so when we arrived back at the house work was in full swing. Mike and Rick were installing the wall tile in the downstairs bathroom.

tile being installed

First sighting of the tile being installed in the downstairs bathroom.

By the end of the day a good bit of the tile was up. Seeing this makes it seem like the project will one day be completed.

Subway tile installed

End of day one of tile install in the downstairs bathroom.

Needing to stay busy while the guys were here working, K and I decided to work on getting the kitchen into some sort of functional state. While I was traveling, Ben and Rob stopped by and helped K move the refrigerator into the kitchen — no small feat involving removal of handles and doors — and hook up the Chambers stove. Today I worked on painting some shelves and K figured out how to turn four random pieces of furniture into a kitchen. I think she did a great job. I am thinking of this as Kitchen 1.0 — knowing that we will be iterating as we discover what works and what needs improvement.

first iteration of the kitchen

Kitchen 1.0

No heavy lifting tonight though. We are relaxing. K is catching up on some PBS and I am working on version 1.1 of the music room since two of my tables just migrated down to the kitchen this afternoon. The good thing about version 1.1 is that the turntable is actually hooked up to the stereo. First up on vinyl in the new house: Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Record Player Finally Hooked Up

First Vinyl Played in the New House: Stevie Ray Vaughan

The track was Tin Pan Alley for those of you keeping score at home.

The rest of the soundtrack for the writing of this post: Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy and Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Concert.

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Indoor Plumbing

And lo, the first time I laid eyes upon the tub installed in the bathroom there rested upon it a single shaft of light brought forth from the heavens. And when I saw it I said, ‘this is good.’

Okay. So the shaft of light was a bit up and to the right, but still a pretty momentous occasion. Never take for granted the ability to take a bath, inside your own home. This small wonder of modern Roman engineering is quite a nice addition to any home.

In other news, K and I painted the kitchen yesterday before I ran off to my Serenaders gig. We are looking at the results under various lighting conditions to see if we can get away with one coat. So far I am impressed withe covering ability of the Aura paint. We may have gotten lucky.

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Kitchen Cabinets

I realized as I was about to write this that last night and tonight I have started writing after midnight so the date of the posts is technically wrong. Not a big deal but in the interest of Truth in Advertising . . .

K & I returned to our day gigs so we didn’t do any renovating today. And much of what the guys did doesn’t make for a good photo opp: third coat of mud on the sheet rock, more rock in the downstairs bathroom, etc.

The only real visual change was the installation of a couple low-end kitchen cabinets. Since we didn’t plan to demo the kitchen, we didn’t budget to install a kitchen. But given the fact that we did rip out the old kitchen, we have to recreate some level of functionality.

A trick we learned at The Marigny St. house is that while countertops are expensive, doors are cheap. And once installed as counter tops, doors look and function remarkably well. Many people who shared meals with us at Marigny St. were surprised to learn that our counters were actually doors.

So we decided to finish off our low-end cabinets with a low-end door. So low-end, in fact, that this particular door was salvaged from our neighbor’s house. I wonder if they will recognize the door they threw out when they come for dinner?

K & I spent the lion’s share of our evening back at Marigny St. cleaning and touching up the paint. Everything should be ready for the new tenants by Saturday — probably earlier but given that we still don’t have a shower here it is nice to have access to our old one. What? Your shower isn’t 2.2 miles from your house?

After painting at Marigny street, I wanted to try out the new music room here. Certainly not 100% but even jammed full of boxes and sans AC it felt right.

I think we are going to be ok.

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