The continuation of Operation: Loungy Library and other tales of home renovation

When we moved into our new house in June, we knew that transforming it into OUR home, rather than just a place we lived, would be a process. This would mean a lot of painting; those of you who visited our old house are probably aware of Laura’s love for earth tones and apparent antipathy toward primary colors.

A big part of the process of making the house our home, then, involved choosing and applying paint colors. Typically, to start a painting project, we select approximately 300 swatches from a paint store, use painters tape to tape them to the wall, and then undergo the awesome process of eliminating 290 of the swatches. To aid outsiders in understanding this process, I have provided the following key to Laura’s paint swatch comments:

  • “Ooo, this is a nice, warm color.” – Key: It’s brown.
  • “I’m not sure if this color will go with our couches/wall art.” – Key: It’s not brown.
  • “This may be a little too gold.” – Key: It needs to be more brown.
  • “I’ve been seeing a lot of nice ‘greige‘ shades. I think I’ll go with one of those.” – Key: I have temporarily gone insane but will soon recover and remember that I only like brown. 


So ironically, the first room we painted was not brown but completely purple, which is only because we promised McKenna she could pick the color of her room.


If you see a color like this in our home, you can be assured that the color was not selected by Laura.

This room, which had been the previous owner’s office, was on it’s way to becoming the girliest bedroom imaginable.


This is approximately 7,452% too masculine for McKenna.




All traces of this room having been a man’s office have been destroyed.

Since we had given McKenna the largest room upstairs, we planned on having her use the room as a playroom, too, which meant that we would be turning the former playroom into an office.


This would be another non-brown room, and you know what that means…


This paint was not selected by Laura.



You might be able to tell from these two rooms that we made a few changes to the lighting, transforming the garage into ground zero for dismantled lights and fans.


And replacing the lights meant that the family photo stream looked like this…

IMG_5666 IMG_5667 IMG_5670
Miraculously, while replacing all of those lights, I only shocked myself twice working with electricity, and one of those times was when McKenna tried to kill me by obliviously throwing the light switch.

With the office and McKenna’s bedroom down, the next step was the kitchen, the room where the biggest changes would occur. We needed to do two things in the kitchen. The first was to increase the amount of storage so that we would have room for the many, many, MANY serving platters and napkin rings that we possess, which comes to roughly one platter for every family in Highberry Woods. The second was to open up the area between the kitchen and the living room so that the house would have a little less of that typical colonial feel.



The changes in the kitchen would involve a lot of drywall work, but we were prepared.


Kitchen renovation, phase one – remove the door to the dinning room to build a closet there.



The temporary closet stand in, which would only provide for 1/10 of our platter storage needs.

We got a new fridge before the construction began so that we could make sure that we knew how big the closet should be. The new fridge was a bit too tall for the space, so I took out the cabinets that had been above the old refrigerator. I’M HANDY.



The new closet framed in. Watching a grown man trying to maneuver in that closet to finish the walls made me very glad that the grown man working in the closet wasn’t me.


The door to the dining room, walled over. One of many surprises that our contractors found had been left by the original builder was the uneven chair rail. They had to finagle the new part of the rail so that it met evenly on both sides.


I added the shelves myself, which accounts for their semi-levelness.


We had the contractor encase the top of the fridge with a shelf, which was the cheapest option by a long shot. And we have more space for wine, which is a victory for us all.

The cabinet that had been above the refrigerator would go on this wall:



It’s a bitty baby cabinet!


The cabinet was framed in with a shelf to make it the same size as the other cabinets. And to give us a place to throw junk.

Next up – the wall. We had several contractors come out to discuss how to open up the wall below.


Of course, the wall turned out to be a load-bearing wall. And one of the contractors who came out to take a look found out that the pipes from upstairs ran through the wall. But a half wall still seemed to be doable.


McKenna helped the contractors find exactly where to cut.


Ready to start! What could go wrong?


The plumbing, apparently, could go wrong. The plumber who ran pipes when the house was being built decided to run one pipe to every hot fixture and every cold fixture for every sink and tub upstairs.


It was at about this point in the process that McKenna came downstairs to inform the contractors that she did not like loud noise, using her, “You should be ashamed” voice. The contractors promptly apologized.


Building the temporary support to compensate for the fact that the load-bearing studs would be cut to build the half wall produced too much noise for McKenna, interfering with Barbie playtime.


In spite of the plumber’s worst efforts, the wall was coming together.


Even before the wall was totally finished, we launched the War on Yellow. The brown creep had reached the kitchen.

The contractors followed the secret code of all contractors, finishing in a month and a half what they had promised to finish in a week and a half.



Time to change the lighting.


There was a false start with the lighting choice, though.


Lighting, mark 2. Hopefully no one brains himself on the low hanging pendulum light.

At long last, we could begin on the loungy library. Since there are only three people in our small family, we don’t really need a formal dining room, so that room was being transformed into a library.


The now-defunct door, in its better days.

IMG_5191      ‘


The library started off as “that room that you throw all of the random crap into when you move.”

Once we moved all of the junk out and, more importantly, once the contractors were finally finished, we could paint the library. Thankfully, this was probably the easiest room to paint because it is small, square, and only has two windows.


Still, I really missed the days when we had wood trim that didn’t have to be painted. Painting trim blows.

Laura likes to talk on the phone while she paints. When she does that, I try to remember to have my headphones handy; otherwise, I get to listen to conversations like the thirty minute conversation, and this is no exaggeration, that Laura had with Diane about pillows. They discussed the best pillow sizes, pillow positioning, and degree to which a pillow should give. About fifteen minutes of the conversation related to the virtues of a pillow placed between the legs. I was about to drown myself in my paint tray when they mercifully changed topics.


Never forget the pillow conversation that had to be endured in the painting of this room.


The library, living up to its loungy name.


Amazingly, we still had a bit more brown paint, which we used in the living room.IMG_9623

Only the foyer, which is too tall for me to paint without killing myself (or so I have been told many, many times), the master bedroom, and the spare bedroom are left to paint. Good news – we still have several shades of brown that we can use.

2 thoughts on “The continuation of Operation: Loungy Library and other tales of home renovation

  1. Pingback: Summer in Richmond – from the Tredegar Bridge to Answering Questions about Urinating in Canoes | Endless Odyssey

  2. Pingback: Renovating the House by Destroying Decks and Building She Sheds | Endless Odyssey

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