Monday, September 11, 2017

Yes we are, and oh Hell no: we are not

Mr. Cookie and I have made plans to put on a small addition that will have a large impact of Cookie Manor, which is a center hall colonial - elegant and formal.

While our house was built in the era of Calvin Coolidge, the architect and first resident designed a formal house that made the most of the public rooms by making them a wee bit larger at the expense of the hallways and stair halls.

Things are to the point where "If it were any tighter, I'd marry it," tight, but it creates some issues that impacted the former residents ability to sell the house for top dollar and quick, both of which worked to our advantage.  This included the world's smallest master bath, and the worlds smallest family bath on the second floor, which we call the "Crab Walk Room," because that's the only way to get from the door past the tub and the sink to the "loo".

But now that we are owners, and plan on leaving Maryland one day for retirement, and a ranch style house, we realize the minor faults of the 1920s are big issues in the 2010's and beyond.

This means we have to make a few adjustments to the manor, which involve moving three bathrooms and redoing the kitchen, which means that we're in for a big project.  The end result, we hope and know after consulting with numerous real estate agents, will double the value of our house.  And that, is a good thing.

One of the by products is that we'll gain a new back hall, the removal of an inside corner of our living room to permit circular flow, a new front closet, a second floor sitting area and a laundry shute while doubling the size of both second floor baths and a kitchen that will be spacious, simple and functional. And the installation of a vintage telephone niche, because we have one that we bought from a Habitat store and it is SUPER cool.  And yes, that will also mean a candlestick phone.

Still people ask questions.  Usually its the why, and what.  "You're making the house bigger for just the two of you?"  Yes, because one day, the house will be sold to another family that may be LARGER and need the house to function better.

Other questions and answers are as follows:

QUESTION: Are you going to put in a barn door?  (Usually followed by a statement about how much they love barn doors.)

ANSWER: No. Why?  Because Barn Doors belong on BARNS.  I left farming when we moved to Maryland.

QUESTION: For the lights over the kitchen island, are you going to do clear mason jars and those "olde tyme" (emphasis added) bulbs?

ANSWER: No. Why? Because 1) it's 2017 and there is nothing attractive about a bare light bulb, and 2) mason jars are for canning and the occasional cliche substitute drinking glass for outdoor dining.

QUESTION: What kind of Granite are you choosing for the counter-tops?

ANSWER:  We're using stainless steel for the sink area, and laminate or quartz.

QUESTION:  But aren't buyers looking for granite?

ANSWER: They are.  But granite off gases RADON, which causes and abets lung cancers.

QUESTION: Are you installing a vegetable sink?

ANSWER: The vegetables will have to share the only sink in the kitchen with the pots, pans and other foods.

QUESTION: Will the toilets have their own little rooms?

ANSWER: No. They are going to be in water closets, because that's what the little rooms are called.

QUESTION: How much is this going to cost? 

ANSWER: Millions. Millions and Millions.

QUESTION: Are you doing the walls in ship-lap?  What about a harvest table?

ANSWER: Oh. Fuck. No. On both.

What it all boils down to is making the house more livable, and honoring its integrity.  What it is not going to be is some kind of Chip and Joanna Gaines bullshit special.  I am sure that they are lovely people.  But this remodeling is going to be all Hillary from Love it or List it.

And frankly - if it came down to a cat fight, my money is on Hillary.  She'd kick Joanna's ass.

When will this happen?  Well the plans are on the table downstairs, right next to the architect's bill, so the soonest that I think its going to happen is about a year from now.


  1. the gaines are fulla shit TX xstains that h8. period.

    I have never even heard of half the shit the questioners are asking.

    oh cookie, it's gonna be a nightmare; you sure you're up to it, dear?

  2. Yeah. But we're both a freaked out that we're going to have to refugee to Homewood Suites in Harbor East, for a couple months.

  3. Cookie, you may have made me organism just over the telephone niche, and you didn't even touch me. Boy....your good.

    1. And the phone book drawer drops down to not only to reveal a phonebook, but a writing desk, too!

  4. Everything Mrs. Gaines does looks the same. It's the same formula over and over again. I'd take Hillary any day.

    1. I will watch Fixer Upper and nearly stroke out over her limited vision. 1) Know down all the walls; 2) Shiplap over ever freaking inch of wall you can; 3) Exposed brick that was never meant to be exposed; 4) Light fixtures with bare bulbs, because their industrial and edgy, and beams - my God don't forget the freaking beams. And then add in metal letters that spell HoME because we need words over the fireplace to tell us what this loud room with no sound absorption is for, right?

  5. I think you've nailed it. Just say no to HGTV home design porn. I don't understand the obsession with natural stone counters. In a few years it is just going to scream 2010 and so many of those HGTV kitchens are (to appropriate a phrase from Joan Didion) "...kitchens for people who snack..."

    1. And here's the thing with stone counters - they don't play well with antique china, or crystal or glass. Given how housewives have taken to guzzling gallons of wine (C'mon, we all know someone who uses the phrase "Wine-O-Clock" and things that they are being clever) mixed with granite counters, can you see the outcome of this formula: drunk+granite/wine glasses = Broken Glass everywhere.

  6. We were just looking at new lights for over our kitchen island and the salesperson directed us to the "mason jar" section and I took one look and said,
    "Are those jars? What's next, an upside down mop bucket? I'd like to see some lighting please. I mean, if I wanted a craft project, maybe ... "

    1. Exactly. Or the chic and expensive "hardware" decor catalog that sells bare light bulb sockets - in oiled bronze, no less - with retro cloth cords and ceiling plates as kitchen island lighting at $125, apiece! I saw that in their catalog and said "What fuckery is this?" A bar bulb dangling from a wire? Are you decorating in the style of Nazi Germany Interrogation Rooms?

  7. As a survivor of a simultaneous three bathroom redo, I wish you well on what is undoubtedly a larger project. On the plus side (for your loyal readers, at least), I sense plenty of contractor/builder fodder for many future blog posts!