On a project...
Let’s say a remodel. It’s moving along. It’s underway. Contractors are milling about doing their work.
Then you notice something:
The project is starting to grow. No longer do you recognize it from the plan you initially had in mind.
Why? Because, like a kid in a candy store, you let your excitement grab hold of your willpower.
Instead of focusing solely on your project's initial purpose, you awaken from your design-daze and realize how you've been adding things to your todo list, little bit, by tiny-little bit...
Forget the budget. That’s not the issue here.
This is about starting a project with a “minimal fix” in mind. Beginning with a smaaaaaall scope and, during the construction process, having it grow...
Into a monster. Something you didn’t really plan on.
But you’re happy. You’re glad you’ve decided to plunge ahead with additions to the job.
However, it’s getting harder and harder to make new decisions on next steps, because your vision and your goals have not been readdressed. They haven’t been modified to fit the new, larger project you’re now working on.
Instead of stopping at some point, and realizing that you need to re-evaluate every decision you’ve made and reconsider what you want to do with a NEW vision, a NEW attitude, a NEW approach...INSTEAD of stopping for a moment to regroup, well...You go on.
You keep on adding on. And the project keeps getting addressed in tiny, bite-size pieces as each tiny bit comes up.
You’re in the danger zone here.
And guess who's guilty of this now?
Me. That’s right: Me. I’m my own worst client, and I’ve been making these same mistakes while working on my own house throughout this past month.
Going into this project I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish, I just didn't think I'd do it right now. And I completely surprised myself with a few more things.
This project gone wild started out with a single desire.
You see, I’ve been wanting some new wood flooring in my house for as long as I can remember. But actually getting that new flooring is a task that's easier said than done, because -- as I'm sure you all know -- redoing flooring is no simple task. Everything in the house has to come up, everything has to be moved, everything in or on the furniture needs to be packed up. It’s a BIG task.
And along with all the choices I had to make regarding my new wood flooring came some other areas I needed to address:
- The stairs.
- Enclosing my (previously open) home office.
- Etc. and so on...
This project pretty much affected my entire downstairs area - well, except for my kitchen and bathroom.
I've been so busy with work that my project has been in limbo. I just haven't had much time to think about it. And my husband has been bugging me to death to get after it!
He pushed and pushed and pushed some more for me to get the floors done before the holidays, so I finally broke down and ordered my beautiful, bleached oak flooring that I’ve been craving for so long.
And before I began everything, I thought... "I’ll just do the floors and close in the home office. It won’t be that bad."
Do you remember what I said about how it's easy to lose control of simple ambitions and them wind up growing into monstrous projects?
My floors did just that: They snuck up on me and swallowed me whole.
Here's how everything started.
Before I put down the new wood floors I needed to enclose my home office, I needed to put up the wall at my home office. Doing so would allow me to install the floors up to the walls, instead of the walls on top of the floors. :( (I hate doing things backwards.)
When my carpenter arrived and started working on the baseboards and the doors for the office, I just haaaad to ask him about building a new cabinet for our files and books in the home office.
He built it and it's perfect. It's just what we needed to get all the black plastic file boxes off the floor and my magazine collection stored properly. And I could actually put a tv in there too!
Next, I noticed that the desk/countertop I built when I used to work out of my home looked a little cheap - and I knew this when I first installed it. But I didn't have time to do anything about it then, so I figured I'd redo it sometime down the road.
But, when the new built-in cabinet was installed, I found myself reeeeally wanting a new desk, with cabinets that would give me a lot more storage and hide the cords and stuff.
And the moment that thought crossed my mind, it hit me: This project is getting out of hand. It's becoming something I never intended in the first place.
I was moving into the danger zone.
As soon as I caught myself tip-toeing down this wrong-way street I paved for myself, I stopped to take a moment to rethink what I was doing.
I sensed it from a mile away. This home office wasn't just going to be a work space anymore, it was going to be used by my husband or myself as a quiet, private retreat that we'd inevitably fight over.
- It will be used during the times when I don’t want to hear the football games or witness his constant clicking between channels.
- It will be where I watch Million Dollar Decorators or Flipping Out or maybe even some Housewives ;-)
- It will be where I can write my blog all weekend, undisturbed, and move to the comfy chair for a little nap in between posts.
- And who knows... I might even do an exercise video in here! (Well, maybe ;-)
With my new vision, my new goal in mind, I addressed the project with fresh eyes...
The high tech look track lighting that I had put in years ago, will be replaced with a lovely, curvy iron pendant from Hubbardton Forge, more in keeping with the new style of the room.
I had the new desktop built, as well as some cabinetry below.
I’m doing this chair with an ottoman from Charles Ray because it’s sooo comfortable and not oversized to fit nicely into this room. I’m going to upholster it in an indoor/outdoor linen look fabric, because it will need to be easy to clean. (I know my dogs will love to sit here when I’m working at the desk and look out the windows. I can just see Bear with his chin on the arm, looking out the front window, with Missy curled up right beside him. ;-)
I’m so happy with this wonderful little space I’m creating, but only because...
I was able to stop and really visualize what I wanted this to be on a grander scale. Had I not stopped mid-way to reconsider my goals with my new vision in mind, everything would have quickly become unrecognizable.
It might have been designed in bits and pieces with nothing looking cohesive or like it worked altogether as one beautiful, functional space.
If you avoid the dangers of not thinking big enough, if you visualize what you want your project to be beforehand and consider all the options you need to be aware of in order to make it happen, you'll actually be able to recognize your end-result and build toward it properly.
As a result of all this remodeling, my home is torn up completely, and I haven’t done even the slightest bit of decorating for the holidays.
BUT -- oh yes, there's a wonderful "BUT" that comes with my home that's bare of Christmas decor -- I have received my Christmas gift:
My newly designed study and new floors!
And I promise I'll share the results after everything is finished sometime in January or February!