Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dust and Destruction

We're renovating. It's taken a fair amount to get my head wrapped around the concept. We live in a mid-century modern home in Palo Alto, California. Mid-century modern is a nice way to say it. The reality is that we have decent sized lot (for Palo Alto) with a ranch-style house built by Joseph Eichler. The best features of the house are the post and beam construction (read open space) and the walls of glass. Less attractive features of the house include the greenish carpet, faux tile, and cinderblock fireplace.

Right now, the last three things mentioned are gone. Beautiful blonde bamboo flooring awaits. Between the current state and the serene bamboo state stands a few more days of dust, adhesive removal, concrete and leveling compound pouring and drying, and (yes!) floor laying.

We started with "let's replace the floors." That lead to a rather ominious phone call from my husband saying "we need pour concrete." This was followed by "if we're going to take out the fireplace, we need to do it now." Men came. Dust covered every imaginable surface. Today, my dear husband had a brainstorm to move a piece of kitchen cabinetry so we could experiment with a new (and arguably better) layout. Of course, we have to do this before we lay the flooring. So now it's done.

We're living in the bedrooms, bathrooms and study. We're sleeping together as family, piled into available beds. Soon the men will come down the hall and we'll live in that big, open, loftlike space while they disrupt our bedrooms and study. The kids are watching DVDs; we can't get to the TV. The good news is that we're reading books. But dust is still everwhere.

Despite the dust and chaos, we remain optmistic. This is certainly the biggest step we've taken toward making this place--or any place for that matter--truly our own. I am confident we will endure and, indeed, prevail. I'm trying to be an optimist here, even as I feel the dust on my keyboard. Aargh!

1 comment:

Joseph Mailander said...

Nice post, which caught my eye off of my google blog alert for "mid-century modern."

I'm giving a talk on MCM in a week, and I'm stitching in Eichler/Quincy Jones. Do you know much about your specific house? Do you have any photos?

One of the things about renovating Eichler homes---they're tough to add to. But something that often works well is skylights---a pair or four, if they're done symmetrically. They're generally good houses with good bones, I find. Are you in a tract of them?

All the best,