Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beach Tale: Decisions, Decisions

           Who amongst us hasn’t romanticized building their perfect home?  The mere thought of having the final say on every last detail, from picking the perfect tile in every bathroom to coordinating the floor covering throughout the house to where each light switch and electrical outlet goes.  Finally, a house that makes sense!  I’ve often wished for just such an opportunity.
          Well, after just a few weeks of finishing off a 484 square foot carriage house, all I can say is, “Be careful what you wish for!”
          My first “big” decision when the plumber arrived was whether I wanted the commode right smack in front of the window as the plans called for or right smack across from the window.  Think about it…if it’s in front of the window, then my view of the building from my seat in my Adirondack chair in my yard would be of the back of the toilet tank.  And you would practically have to be a contortionist to open and close the window.  Moving the toilet to the other side of the 8x5 space seemed like a no-brainer.  The plumber who was marking the layout on the plywood was getting paid by the minute so I didn’t really have time to come up with any “cons”.  There had to be some, right?  After all, the professional who designed the layout in the first place would have thought this all through and put it in front of the window for a reason.  Far be it from me to second guess a certified home designer.  With the plumber waiting impatiently, I made my first big decision.  “Move the commode.”  There, done.  That felt good.  And that should have been the worst of it, right?
          I know all of you veteran build-your-own-dream-homers are laughing your derrieres off right now.
            Next step is to design the kitchen.  This is what I have right now:
          I left the plumbers to do their work (and that’s another story for another day) and took myself off to the furthest Home Depot I could find in the whole Tidewater Virginia area.  (The designer there came highly recommended to me, so I drove 40 minutes and passed five other Home Depots to get there.) With almost 30 years as a Navy spouse, I didn’t think anything could possible overwhelm me.  But OMG…the decisions!!!!  Five different cabinet makers offering an array of wood choices and styles were calling to me from all directions.  Everything from a simple style to fancy style.  Cabinets with open shelves, glassed cabinets or all filled in. There were flat panels, raised panels, bead-board panels and square frames or arched frames or…the list goes on. 
          I picked the simplest, which is also the cheapest. 
          Next was a design concept.  I’m going to pause a moment while you run and look at your own kitchen cabinets then come back and I’ll ask you a question.  Grab a cold drink while you’re there.  You might need it because this is just the beginning of the story. 
          Oh, back already?  Okay, so here’s the question…when your cabinet doors are closed, are they flush with each other or is there about an inch separating them with a piece of wood running down the center?  You probably don’t notice.  I never had.  And I’ve had both.  But as the designer pointed out, the one without the wood makes for a much easier access to the dishes inside.  It also costs more.  Which did I want? 
          Next decision was the color.  There probably 100 different options, from  white, cream, cool neutrals, warm neutrals, mid tones, rich tones, rich browns green or black.  Geesh.
          An hour or so later, I had selected a flat panel in a dark wood (and I won’t even get into the wood choice itself…again I went for least expensive) and a coordinating laminate counter (just looking it looks exactly like granite and is about 1/10th the price!) and we sat down to design my kitchen.
          Remember this is a start-from-scratch project.  Nothing to go by except for the professionally designed layout that came with the house plans.  With the aid of a really amazing computer program, my designer put in the measurements, the cabinet and counter selection, added a few appliances and voila, I had a picture of my kitchen to be!  She printed it out and I went home to show hubby (not that he cared, but I wanted him to be involved in the project.)
          But on my way out, one of the display kitchens done in a white bead-board with a navy blue countertop caught my eye!  How bright and clean.  And perfect for a beach house!  All the way home I debated the white look.  I arrived home to find the estimate for laying tile in the kitchen and realized that wasn’t an option.  Laminate wood floors seemed to be the way to go, but that would look tooooo “woody” with dark cabinets.  This seemed to be the push I needed to go with the beachy white cabinets look.  I emailed the designer and she emailed me pictures of the kitchen in white.  LOOOVED it.
Here is the right hand wall:
          Then I shared my vision with hubby and son (who will probably live there at some point in his life) and the both said “No white cabinets!  They show too much dirt.”  I was crestfallen. 
          So back to the design phase.  I thumbed through my Coastal Living magazine I found a small carriage house apartment done with deep sea blue cabinets and it was, in a word, Gorgeous!  And the answer to my dilemma!
          Making the long drive the next Sunday afternoon I met with my kitchen designer again and we started all over, looking at woods and styles and colors.  Alas, there was nothing available in deeps sea blue, or any blue.  Just varying shades of gray.  Bo-ring.  So after much looking and thinking and wondering, and more looking and thinking and hemming and hawing (really, I pride myself on being able to make a decision quickly--this was very frustrating—for both of us) and wandering over to the flooring section to get a vision of the total project I finally at long last decided on a trendy new deep sage green. 
          We sat down to redesign the whole area because I’d also changed my mind and appliances and the use of a micro-hood combination and now there was a sale that gave me a free garbage can cabinet and where did I want that?   Alas, there were still a lot of decisions to be made and I had hit my decision-making limit about three days ago.  When asked a simple question, I stared blankly at the computer screen.  The information just wasn’t processing.  At about the three-hour point, my wonderful and Oh-So-Patient designer looked at me and asked, “Do you mind if I go take some headache medicine?” 
          While she did so, I slipped out to my car and took a few sips of my now lukewarm Diet Coke. Feeling mentally refreshed, I went back into the store. 
          An hour later, the computer showed me from every angle (including bird’s eye) what my choice of and color and countertops would look like.  Very nice.  I was packing up to leave when my designer asked one more question.  “What hardware to you want?”
          WHAT?  I honestly thought my head would explode at that point.
          She took me over to a display of drawer pulls and cabinet doorknobs.  Everything from simple to fussy in various finishes.  I honestly can not tell you what I chose.  I will be as surprised as my hubby when the cabinets are delivered.
          So about 4-1/2 hours later I signed the papers and slapped down the credit card and bought myself some cabinets.  Decision made!
          But on the way out my eye caught a display of sleek and simple black cabinets…

1 comment:

Charlottemacaw said...

Oh, you are having fun!!! Now I cant decide if I want to re-do my kitchen, or move into a carriage house.