Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Art of Making A Place A Home

     If you have been reading this blog lately, you are well aware that I have been almost buried in getting my condo renovated and livable ... for me. This week marked the final major change or stage of reaching that goal. While some of this may be a repeat, there are other things, especially images that show the transition for when it was purchased to when it is 99% done!
That's me on the bottom right - facing east
A 25' x 45' yard in a condo is very rare in Palm Springs
As you may or, may not know, I heard about a condo for sale at a condo board meeting in September, I met with the owner, a board member, talked the purchase over with friends and spent hectic weeks getting all the paperwork and closing October 24th!  Ever since then we have done major remodeling to the condo. In fact, I am paying only a little more for the HOA dues, mortgage, insurance and taxes than I was paying in rent … for a larger space with a wonderful yard for my dog!
The gutted kitchen
The contractor ripped out the kitchen to the studs, I got an electrical contractor to upgrade some of the plugs and put ceiling fans in every room. So we had holes in the ceilings and a gutted kitchen.
The newly renovated kitchen
As you can see, it doesn’t get much worse than this. At the same time, I had no choice, it was pretty bad. So it was time to redesign everything but there were restraints. Water, room for stove, fridge and dishwasher. Only the fridge remains. BUT, as you can see, it was definitely worth it! Since there is no window I wanted bright lights to see while cooking. I found a big round LED “klieg” light you never turn on first thing in the morning. The contractor liked it so much he ordered one too! His dim kitchen is far more usable.
I have two different colors in cabinets. A kind of dark cognac below the counter and a white bead board design above the quartz counters. It looks really nice. No sooner was this stuff ordered than there was an article in the Sunday paper talking about kitchen trends and yup, I was a trendsetter and didn’t even know it. Two tones are now all the rage. The other things I did since I have a dining room was use the blank wall to the left of the kitchen for more cabinets and a bar that I use far more than the dining room.
Totally new to this kitchen! A bar and lots of storage
I have a huge amount of storage and a place to finally show my old cameras. With a fan there you would rarely open the cabinets anyway so … why not show them off? So they are.
There were many challenges though and every room had awful colors to me. My original colors were pleasant but as the lady at Home Depot said, “Um, aren’t they a little girlie?” So, after fighting the urge not to use grays, I settled on a cabernet red for the entry and dining room, a dark gray for the kitchen and master bedroom, baths are white and the “studio” is a pale cream that is bright and cheerful, the perfect place for me and my crafting and a light grey hall and living room.
Two greys and a red accent wall replace beige textured vinyl wallpaper
I did all the painting myself. Every room was tan or green or both and the living room, hallway and foyer were covered in beige textured vinyl wallpaper that we couldn’t remove without tearing the paper off the drywall. That was carefully glued back and painted over. Here I used a light grey that went with the off-white tile and walnut colored wooden shutters. With red accents it looks nice.
Green and Tan? I think not!
I think the grey, below,  is much better
The master bedroom was a tan and green that literally turned my stomach. It had a window that my rental did not so facing east I get the morning light. Sliders were replaced with white French doors that give it a homey feel. I can open the door and go outside if I wish. I haven’t had time for the yard but will after my trip in February. The dark grey walls look quite nice.
Basically I used three colors for the entire condo, light grey, a dark grey and cabernet red. By limiting colors it all goes together quite well.
 I knew I wanted a red dining room and that was one of the first walls to be painted. With the wood floors and the white trim, it looked really classy. The only piece of furniture I wanted from them was a lighted cabinet to display my glassware and cobalt glass collection. It seems rather dramatic and can be seen from the entry even!
Since I couldn’t afford two rents I gave my notice November 1 promising that I would be out by the end of my lease December 31st. Oh dear. You would think that since the condo was behind the rental it would be an easy move. It wasn’t. I spent two days getting all the things out of the studio … some into the new studio and the rest into a much larger storage room. I have TOO much stuff. However, I soon realized that I had a challenge of getting things redone in the condo and moving at the same time. My friend from Hong Kong flew in the 21st of December to celebrate Christmas here and help me move. I couldn’t have done it without him. Trip after trip was made using the handcart / wagon I bought at Harbor Freight! Best $60 I have ever spent!!!
The original dining room. I have an aversion to green
Somehow, we got me moved, cooked and had Christmas dinner here at the new condo with Dollar Store plastic tablecloths over the underlay waiting for the counters that arrived January 7th. 
I don't think any of us realize just how much stuff we have. There is a reason that Public Storage and places like this exist. WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! Not only that we are far too reluctant to get rid of things that we will probably never use ... again! I was urged to buy no more clothes, no more shoes and definitely no more art supplies for awhile ... maybe a long, long while!
Doesn't this look more inviting?
The bookcase reborn.
After he left work continued in the condo and the biggest challenge, finished this week was a bookcase I really wanted but they had destroyed. After much thought we were going to rip out the edges, drywall the space and use floating shelves to give me the space I wanted.    However, when the molding was removed we discovered it was a bookcase cabinet with drywall behind it! So, I added new shelving stained to match the contrast of the kitchen cabinets and suddenly, it all fell into place! We used the same molding as the front door with stark white inside and trim and stained dark cognac colored shelving. It makes a nice bridge of color between the foyer and living room and gives me space for all my books (which I have already started to weed out).
     I am not totally done. There are handholds to put in the baths, new fans for the baths so they don’t sound like a 747 taking off, and changing the light fixture in the foyer. It is simply a wonderful place to live and I am very, very happy it turned out so well. As you can imagine, I wondered if it would ever get done and done in time!!!
A real studio at last. I can walk in and not duck anymore!
     Next is the yard. My neighbor and I have the two largest yards in the whole complex. Right now there are pavers covering just about everywhere except an area that can be used as a garden. I even have a mature and bearing lemon tree with fantastic lemons on it right now. Because of the rains, there are also weeds everywhere. However, once summer hits they may well be gone.
     I can go out the back gate and my car is right there! If there is any downside it would be the airport is close and we can hear planes taking off but its not that noticeable and when windows are closed up rarely heard at all. The big plus is that I can walk to the departure gate in under 15 minutes! 
     It has been a great deal of work but sitting in my chair the other night surveying all that had been done, I feel that it was more than worth it. I hope that this is the last time I will ever have to move and with the work that has been done, it is mine.

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always have. Comments are always welcomed!

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