This time two years ago, my kitchen was undergoing a complete remodel. It got ripped out to the bare walls and baseboards and we ate microwaved food and takeout for six weeks. Did I mention the dust? Oh the dust. About half way through, I was soooooooooo done with it all - the dust, the noise, the intrusion, the inconvenience, and all that outgoing $$$$. In the end, though, my outdated rundown crowded 1957 vintage kitchen transformed to a much bigger, modern, and stylish beautiful space. Am I still paying for it? Yep (and for many years to come). Was it all worth it? Absolutely. Would I want to go through that all again anytime soon? Uh, no, not really. It's hard to forget all that damn dust.
I wouldn't know there was a recession, though, when I keep hearing about people currently remodeling their homes. Is it because they don't want to sell their house with plans to upgrade because they won't make any money with their home value in the toilet? Or maybe they would rather spend all that saved money (the money they've been hoarding for over a year now because of all the dire financial news) on their own home instead of a foreclosed bank owned gutted home in the midst of a ridiculous bidding war? Perhaps they are all noble citizens doing their part contributing to the economic recovery? I think mostly they just want to improve their surroundings and find comfort in having a nice and more functional home for their family. Nesting is what I like to call it.
One of those remodeling nesters just happens to be my fabulous friend Emiko. While her small quaint home is warm and cozy, 1100 square feet with only one bathroom shared by four people has slowly become rather cramped and well, small. One bathroom for three girls? Uh, not so much.
And since the whole new world of shopping for tile, counter-tops, faucets, knobs, sinks, etc. etc. etc. is a foreign concept to her, she's enlisted me, Kitchen Remodel Extraordinaire, to assist with this important, often daunting and mind numbing, journey. This time I don't have to stress about cost, or dust, or any of that. I just get to help with the pretty part. It is totally fun to help her, applying what vast knowledge, both practical and aesthetic, I learned during my own remodel adventure.
We didn't allow ourselves to get discouraged after an entire day of shopping leads to almost every item getting the nix from her contractor, all for valid reasons of course. Hey, it's all a learning experience, right? At least she still gets to buy her beloved faucets (oh don't worry, not the ones pictured above, not that there is anything wrong with a fish faucet motif if that's what you really want). Our quest ultimately takes us to the far corners of Los Angeles, granite slabs here, tile there, etc. I absolutely love how it's all coming together - almost makes me want to rip out my stuff and remodel with her beautiful picks. Ha ha ha, not! See the face on the granite slab picker-upper thingy?
In the end, I can't wait to see her completed renovations (taking more time and $$ more than expected, I'm sure). I cherish these hours/days that we get to spend together, away from the dirty dishes and the kids, laughing over lousy salespeople and tacky tile, and oohing and aaahing over gorgeous granite with fancy Italian names and dazzling chandeliers.
I love the expression that says something like "you never really know someone until you've been in their home". So, when I see Emiko's newly renovated bigger and even more beautiful home next year, it will feel extra special to see a part of me in it, too. Maybe that can be a new expression that I can say, something like "you will always be a part of a friend's heart and home when you help pick out their granite." Wait, let's try "the way to a friend's heart is to hold their hand along the tiled road." Humm, "Laugh at fish faucets together and you will laugh a lifetime as friends." I guess however you say it, it means I'm lucky we have each other.