Friday, December 28, 2012

The Renovations

When I moved into the space that is now, "The Shop," it was an apartment on the top floor of a building build in the late 1800s.  Living and working in Downtown Savannah, I didn't think of this as much of a big deal because it's what you expect when you're downtown in our historic area.

However, I didn't realize how much work would end up going into the space.

The walls were a horrible color, so that needed to go.  A lavender in the front room, a dark blue in the center room, and country-kitchen yellow in the hallway.  I wanted everything to be bright and airy in the rooms, so I kept with light colors.  A vintage aqua color for the main rooms and grey for my office and the hallways.  Bright white for all the trim (which ended up being the biggest bane of my existence, taking about four gallons of paint just to repaint all the trim, doors, and windows).

The closets had shelves built into them.  All I could think of was that line in Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version), where Mr Collins shows Lizzy the closet with shelves and she says, "Shelves in the closet, happy thought, indeed."  What a mess!  Ripping out the shelves then ripped out half the walls (the walls are all composed of horsehair plaster without the proper studs buildings are built with today).  Lots of spackle later, the holes were covered.

The floors were covered in paint.  The beautiful, dark hardwood floors were covered in specks and globs of paint from whoever had painted them before.  At first, I was just going to leave them, but when you've put hours and hours and hours of work into everything else, what's a couple more days of work to get them cleaned again?  When I need a knee replacement later in life, I will look back at this moment of cleaning the floors with a steel-wool sponge and floor cleaner while on my hands and knees for the better part of a week to get them looking lovely.

Then came the lights.  And bless my poor group of guy friends who volunteered to give up their Thursday in the middle of JULY in Savannah to instal the light fixtures.  Should I mention we didn't have ceiling lights at this point?  Poor Garry crawled into the attic, which was probably about 115 degrees, to splice lines and connect things and do a lot of stuff I will never be able to understand, in order to give me chandeliers.  Then, he had to go back in about three different times in order to connect the lights to a circuit since half the wires in the attic were either dead or not useable.  It's great being my friend, isn't it?  And all it cost me was some Zunzi's, beer, and a lot of grief for the rest of my life over it.

That was just the main obstacles that had to be overcome.  Little things happened, like half the wall being pulled out from a hanging rack I installed (the old stud broke and snapped through the wall...), the paint peeling off the closet wall because someone before had painted over wallpaper and not primed it, and so on and so on.

All I can say is, I'm glad I'm a carpenter's daughter and that my dad had two girls instead of two boys because I would have been lost and very broke without the Bob Villa knowledge I obtained as a kid.
Overall, however, I am very happy and pleased with the result.  I love my shop.  I love coming to work each day.  And though it's a work in progress, as it always will be, I'm happy to call it all mine.

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