Deborah Armstrong

Renovation – Day 1

Deborah's Diary

Our family room was built in 1972, replacing the wood shed that was attached to the century farmhouse. My in-laws built it and did a wonderful job. The room is a spacious 20 x20, with full windows on the north and south sides. We have a gas fireplace, plenty of room to store books, collectibles and dust.

This year, we decided to renovate. The oak paneling was dated, our large television overpowered the room and the twenty-six year old blinds had faded from the sun. It was time. So, with the amazing ideas and designs from a friend who is also a well know interior designer, we took the plunge. One visit to a furniture maker’s showroom and we had decided on the style, stuffing and size of our two sofas. By the end of the next visit, the fabrics had been chosen along with the various tables, lamps and chairs. The kitchen is also to be touched up with new paint and light fixture.  

The tradesmen were booked, the calendar checked and the beginning date decided upon. “Ten weeks” we were told – from the time the orders are placed for the furniture and the completion of the room. It took us the weekend to clean out the family room. Books were taken upstairs to another bookcase, where its occupants were quickly dispatched to the garbage. My husband and I had saved both our high school and university textbooks. They wouldn’t be looked at again. We saved the Hardy Boys that my husband had read as a young boy. We saved Little Women and books my father-in-law had been given as presents in the 1940’s. We saved the history books and the reference books that could be useful.

I threw out collectibles I had been saving for almost forty years. I threw out keepsakes from trips to Europe. They had lost their appeal long ago. I threw out crafts the kids had made for me – with their encouragement, “Mom, get rid of it!” I threw out jigsaw puzzles, not sure if I still had all of the pieces. I wanted to throw out our last three remaining tropical fish. My daughter wouldn’t let me so she put the tank heater in with the goldfish (they winter upstairs in a separate tank) and added the three tropical fish to the mix. She had to give them a chance to survive or get eaten. It’s been twenty four hours and they are still swimming.

My dining room table is stacked with the things that will go back into the new family room or will be thrown out after we determine there is no place or need for them anymore. I cringe every time I have to walk through the room.

I have found old photographs and some not so old. I took some time this morning and posted some of them on Facebook, thinking my friends and family would enjoy them. I found old note paper and greeting cards that were never sent.

So far, everything is going according to schedule. This morning, the carpeting was ripped out, the oak paneling was pried off the walls, the valances were pulled from the ceiling, and the old electric baseboard heaters were ripped from the walls. The electrician visited to see what work he needs to do. Tomorrow the stone planter will be ripped out and work will begin on the walls and ceiling.

Tonight my husband watches television in the basement as I work at my computer. The cats have explored the vacant room and are now bored. It’s time to go outside and explore. Tomorrow, they will probably take cover in one of our bedrooms and not emerge until the noisy strangers have left.
The family room is defined as a place where family gathers with friends to relax, watch television, play games and converse.

I’m looking forward to having one again.

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