I forgot to mention in Sunday’s blog that on Saturday we took Randy’s grandmother’s dining room chandelier, circa 1930, to a restoration shop for rework and refinishing. This all started when the handyman we hired to paint the old house, with all best intentions, took down the chandelier and took it home to “fix” it.

Bless his heart.

Long story short, while trying to rewire it, he broke part of one of the arms off. Randy was sick, and almost inconsolable. (Question: why do men obsess on “things”?). So I found this place downtown with a Web site that had some magnificent pictures of chandeliers they had restored. We took the chandelier and one of the lamps I have from my mom’s house down there a couple of weeks ago for evāluation. Long story short, when Randy spoke with the restoring expert about the amount of work that needed to be done, he got very emotional . . . and so he just had to decide: do it or don’t do it, but the emotional #$@!’s gotta go.

We met with the restoring expert and she was very careful to ask us what I thought were all the right questions, as well as considerations we wouldn’t even have thought to give. In the end, Randy said “yes”, and this will be several grand worth of renovation money. But very very well worth it. The dining room will be spectacular.

Check back for before and after pics!


OK, so, we haven’t even started this project yet, and already we are at risk. Coco, the kitchen designer, let Randy know today that the cabinets will be delayed by three or four days because the doors won’t be ready. There are, like, 50 (OK, two) REALLY BIG THINGS linked as dependants to the cabinet installation: the countertops can’t be measured, cut, and installed, and the appliances can’t be installed. The solution? Install the cabinets but leave the doors off until they’re ready. Bingo!

I guess the project has actually started since the cabinets are being made . . . we just can’t see that, so my perception is skewed. What is it that we consultants say to each other to bring us down from the outer space our clients send us to? “It’s all about perception.” It doesn’t actually matter what the fact/truth is at all. The only thing that matters is what is perceived. And btw, I’ve learnt that perception can also be contrived if it’s useful.

I’m looking forward to being a client for once, just so I can give back what is so often and so generously shared with me 😉

Marie-Ann, the head designer, has given a cabinet-colored wooden post a thumbs-up on the Jatoba island extension. That or stainless steel. I’m not convinced of either. I think it should be the same granite as the countertops. I’ll defer to her good design knowledge, though. I already know that I’m not good with color.

Robert, from the general contracting company, has put a project plan together at last and will share that with us sometime this week. It will be interesting to see how his plan and ours lines up. Stay tuned!

The project plan is complete.

We have included a week of slack. I’m not a big fan of slack, unless of course I’m on the hook for delivery as well as project management. Then I’m all about slack. Slack is good. And BTW, it really is good to be a wire fish!

The more I watch Holmes on Homes, the more frightened I get about this reno. Somebody stop me watching Mike Holmes.

We went to the winter Home Show at the Toronto Convention Centre yesterday. The same people we always see there were there, except this time we spoke with a couple of custom furniture builders. One was an elderly Chinese lady with some beautiful Teak tables and chairs, and an incredible mahogany desk. The other was a second-generation woodcrafter who learned at his dad’s knee, so to speak. I fell in love with his jaw-droppingly-beautiful, Tiger Maple dining table and tulip chairs. The wood pattern on the table he had at the show is indescribable. I’d include a pic here but unfortunately the company’s Web site has disappeared. That’s OK…it’s more important that he keep working in wood rather than in html.

We saw a stainless steel-surrounded gas fireplace with a straight slit of fire and river rocks on either side. In talking with the guy in the booth, he’s the designer and this is a test fireplace. The rocks are from a dollar store. He designed and built the surround, and the basic fireplace is from a fireplace manufacturer. SO…again…Randy and I keep either finding or wishing for stuff we can’t have yet.

We talked seriously with a guy with a solarium and additions company. Randy asked him to come out to the house and have a look. We are seriously considering a small solarium off of the breakfast room. So, like, we need another room in this house! How many are there? Well, including the finished basement…16. Anyway, we’ll see what happens.

We have finished my favorite room in the house, the so-called “sanctuary” which is a lovely, robin’s-egg blue with a beautiful hickory floor. For Hanukah-mas, Randy got me a lovely sheepskin rug that absolutely makes the room! Combined with the dark wood tables and an elegant lamp, this room is now stunning. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the front yard and the park, and the light that comes in is amazing. My white overstuffed love seat is just too big and bulky, though, so we are looking for either a very smallish love seat, or – even better – a plushy chaise.

Out of scope for the kitchen reno is our next step: reno on the master bedroom and “en suite”, which is a fancy-assed Canadian (OK, Torontonian) way to say “master bathroom”.

<rant>What really irks me about being in Canada versus in the US is that it’s so freeking hard to find what you want/need, and never, ever in one place. Or even to shop and get ideas. I spent almost six months buying and researching home décor and design magazines for ideas, most of which are produced in the U.S., and constantly finding that either the items I want aren’t available in Canada or that they cost twice what they cost in the US, accounting for the exchange. One trip home to Texas over Christmas had us in Expo and I saw everything I wanted all in one place, at prices in US$ that, even with the exchange, were far better. Amazing. </rant>