Raise your hand if you’d like to know where, exactly, April went? Between end-of-year activities, the feeling that summer is just around the corner, and spring construction fever, I feel as though I have been spinning this whole month. Easter felt very late this spring and it’s as though everything really lit up after that weekend and hasn’t shown any signs of stopping since.
I have been fortunate to work on a number of projects over the last few weeks and while they couldn’t have been more different, their common theme was the kindness of the clients. In one case, I was hired to manage a flooring replacement that had come completely off the rails – a difficult and frustrating situation for the homeowners - yet they remained remarkably patient and gracious throughout what was a trying time. Sheetrock repairs, new paint, new staircase flooring, a (tricky) water penetration issue, master bath remodel, and outdoor kitchen with patio expansion round out what I’ve been working on lately and I’m so thrilled to have some “after” photos to share.
Providing project management services on the flooring job I mentioned provided both challenges and positive learning outcomes. I wasn’t involved in the selection of the crew, materials, or design and in some ways it felt as though I was thrown in the middle of a home improvement reality TV show, complete with a varied cast of characters. We spent a lot of time discussing transitions (as in the changes between two types of flooring) which led me to think about the transitions we face in life and how sometimes, staying the course can be both the easiest and most difficult option. Maintaining consistency is challenging at the best of times, but especially so in the face of change – whether it be something we are choosing to change or something that is being changed for us. These days, the siren song of “new” calls at all hours and it’s tempting to abandon the routine for something fresh or out of the ordinary. On the other hand, doing nothing is sometimes the easier route – situations have a way of working themselves out one way or another, and I have been relieved on occasion that I waited to reply to a message or take action on something that resolved itself in a better way than I could have managed. The philosophers among us may also have us believe that not choosing is a choice…
In the end, the flooring project turned out better than expected and incorporated a design I have never seen before but will definitely recommend in the future. It’s all the magic of the client, the fabulous FM, and the flooring crew that worked incredibly hard to pull everything together. The treads, landings, catwalk and hallway are a durable yet pretty laminate product and the risers – well, they speak for themselves. Glass, stone, and metal tiles you would expect to see in a backsplash application were used for the otherwise unglamorous “back” of the stairs to great effect. The homeowners are in love with their new showpiece and the name of the tile – champagne toast – defines their life to a tee.
If you’d like to discuss a flooring replacement, any of the projects mentioned above, or something completely different please contact us for a no-pressure consultation. We’d love to add a little sparkle to your home!
My family jokes that it’s not officially Easter until my Mom has wished everyone a “Hoppy Easter” – a ridiculous pun that gets the best of me every year. Hoping it was a great weekend for you and your family and that the Bunny was good to all. Just before the holiday, @OfficialMetrie posted this delightful image in their Instagram feed:
While it isn’t a wreath made of Peeps (delicious or wasteful?) it is absolutely perfectly suited to the spring holiday and cleverly done. I’ve been a longtime fan of Metrie’s products, using them whenever possible but always where necessary. Their look books (available online at metrie.com) are unbelievable and offer lots of inspiration. What is not so inspiring? The standard baseboard offerings installed in most of the new homes I have visited. The profiles are drab, the height is far too small for the commanding sizes of the rooms, and they leave much to be desired. Additionally, they are typically painted a color that isn’t altogether pleasing in an oil-based paint. I encourage my current and potential clients to consider replacing their trim any time they embark on a remodel project. This can be labor intensive and usually means doing most of the principal rooms at the same time so as not to clash with "old" trim, but the results are well worth it. Plus the added benefit (in my mind anyway) is the chance to change the trim color and use an acrylic-based paint. There are definitely some differing opinions out there but in my experience, using an oil-based paint on your trim isn’t a good idea for a few reasons. The paint can yellow and harden over years and will not flex with the expansion and contraction of the trim material over time leading to chips and cracks. Any touch-up work must also be performed with an oil-based paint and it can be problematic to remember that when doing other touch-up work with acrylic-based paints.
Here are some images of projects we’ve completed using Metrie trim products:
This is my favorite Metrie image:
Goodness I love cased openings! If you are considering a remodel project or would like a consultation on improving your trim situation, please reach out by email, text, or phone today. We’ll “hop” right to it ;)
I’ve been reading Unshakeable by Tony Robbins (so good, right?) and it has encouraged some new and “big” thoughts. Not all to do with financial planning, but also regarding the bigger picture in general. I’m fascinated by Tony and the following he has amassed, as well as his mission and goal to teach all. Like many, he had a tough past but has turned it around to motivate and inspire others. He is also incredibly good at what he does. Early in the book there is a section that references the concept of “reverting to the mean” which is an investment theory that suggests prices and returns eventually move back toward the mean or average. While I’m not expecting to build any homes for pricing last seen in 1954, I believe this concept to also be true of people. We are made up of characteristics and abilities which create specialized skill sets that allow us to excel in some arenas, while conversely doing poorly in others. Education and experience will help shape and perfect what we are good at but ultimately our strengths shine and guide us towards success. I am a big believer in the 10,000 hours of skill mastery concept but with a caveat – the skill should be something one is “good” at and willing to master. For instance, I am a terrible cook. It’s no secret in my circle and once in awhile I imagine trying to turn this around, but in the end I would be neither willing nor able to devote 10,000 hours in the kitchen. As Kristin van Ogtrop gracefully puts it, this is simply “not on the menu” for me. Yes, there are other areas where I showcase less than stellar performance (although I won’t lay them out here!) but it’s the tasks I am especially proficient at that continue to call me back; this is my interpretation of reverting to the mean. I am working on becoming a better visualizer or “big picture thinker” but when it comes to small details, I nail them. Particular details, exacting standards, the types of tasks that most people run from – those are in my wheelhouse. When I started this latest venture, I imagined focusing on large-scale, cosmetic improvements (I call them “the pretty”) such as the images here:
Lately though, most of my calls have been from homeowners with water penetration issues due to poor/nonexistent window flashing. These issues can be tough and the stakes are high. Many times they have had other tradespeople attempt to fix the issue only to see it return. These have not been simple jobs where the roof - or easier yet – the window itself is the culprit. These jobs have necessitated brick removal and replacement, a scary concept for many homeowners. I’ve found myself in old brick yards with grass up to my thighs (and no, I don’t even want to think about the snakes…) digging through pallets of loose bricks to find the right match for the job. These projects, once completed successfully, have become a point of pride for me and the masons I am fortunate to work with. While those beautiful, glossy closet islands are calling my name, I think my true calling has to do with getting the details right and doing hard things. Doing Hard Things has become a “thing” in my home after the immigration troubles our family faced last year and I have chosen to focus on this with my kids as a result. I have come across too many who either can’t or won’t do hard things - lucky for them if they haven’t had to. I encourage my kids to accept challenges directly and get down to brass tacks, as my grandfather used to say.
If you haven’t already, it’s my hope that you focus on what you are good at and allow success to follow. We are bombarded by messages that we can do anything, making it difficult to determine what we should be doing. By zeroing in on what you are naturally good at or tasks that come easily to you, you will revert brazenly to your own mean.
If you are experiencing an issue in your home that sounds like what I’ve described above, please reach out for a consultation - this issue can feel enormous but the fix is less painful than you might imagine, and you’ll feel immeasurably better once it’s taken care of. Stunning cabinetry projects are welcome as well…