Monday, October 13, 2008

Choices, choices

We're headed for a bit of Indian Summer in these parts this week, with temperatures close to 80 here in mid-October. As far as chores go, both indoors and out beckon. I'm a bachelor this week so I'll need things to keep me busy. I don't think I'll have trouble finding them.

We had an extremely productive weekend, spending more hours with our builder, deciding on interior paint and trim colors and nailing down design details. We also started filling up a storage unit we rented in Delaware with those boxes I showed you in last Friday's post, some big pieces of furniture that were in the garage here, plus things we know we won't be needing any more this year at the soon-to-be-defunct trailer.

Whenever we see the builder, he gives us homework assignments. This time he told us how much of a budget we'll have for appliances and lighting, and sent us out to specialty stores to see what's available. He knows southern Delaware like the back of his hand and can tell us which good people to talk to in which stores. Appliances were fun and relatively easy, because we were referred to a guy who has done nothing but sell them for more than 30 years, his knowledge is encyclopedic, and he still enjoys his work. He was a treasure trove of inside information about various brands and their claims of excellence, and marketing tricks. We'll probably go a little bit over budget in the kitchen because I want a separate cooktop and wall-mounted ovens, but we'll find savings elsewhere.

Lighting is quite a different story. We found another enthusiastic walking encyclopedia, but while I was in the store I started feeling the onset of what I call "museum syndrome," brought on by too much information and too much choice. She loaded us down with catalogues (I mean a good 15 pounds worth!) which are full of pictures and specs, but stingy with price information. When I leaf through all those books I'm first amazed that there are people who actually make a living dreaming up these amazing combinations of metal, wire and sockets--and then my eyes glaze over completely. But in the next two weeks we must make choices so the builders will know what to install. The lighting lady gave us an idea of which brands were top dollar and which were mid-priced, so we at least know where to look. We'll take our choices back to her and she'll tell us what the price will be with the contractor's discount.

If you're ever in need of something to keep your mind off impending chaos, your own or somebody else's, try designing a house. It's a fantastic diversion!


Anonymous said...

Sounds exciting and that you have found a decent contractor.

It is always exciting to watch a project from start-to-finish. Have you seen the new This Old Season timberframe. We were enchanted (I think some 20 years ago) by the first barn conversion.

Always fun to watch. Hope you consider a Flickr account and link so that we can watch the sequence.


Zoey & Me said...

I wished I thought of putting in double ovens when we built this house back in 2000. I wanted hardwood floors throughout, tile in all the wet areas, 24" tile as kitchen counter tops and all stainless steel appliances. We brought gas in from the street as I love cooking with gas. I also re-designed the master bath to include a double shower, jetted tub, and ice block window. This leads to discovering a talent I never knew I had . . . Master of spending more than you have.

Have fun!

Peewit said...

We had a bit of an indian summer here, too, at the weekend (not that I saw much of Saturday (see my latest post)

Before we remodelled our kitchen we had a wall double oven and a separate electric hob. We wanted a gas hob and the only place they could put it was on the opposite side of the kitchen from the original ovens. I now have much smaller double ovens under the gas range and in hindsight am disappointed with the compromise.

By the way the kids loved my take on SKILLET CHICKEN WITH BROCCOLI, ZITI AND PARMESAN . I won't try them on TAMALE PIE though!

Ralph said...

Flickr is one of those things I've heard of but haven't explored. If it makes sharing the progress fun and easy I'll definitely look into it.

Ralph said...

Z&M, we put in the oven/cooktop arrangement when we designed the kitchen in this house and I'd never go back. Cooking with electricty is a lot less dicey than it used to be, I know, but somehow preparing food without an actual fire just doesn't feel "real" to me.

Our bathrooms in the new place are also fancier than the usual, again, based on the design we were able to incorporate here. The shower is a glass-block, walk-in affair wi;th just one head, but a big, overhead one that feels like rain (I learned that in Ghana).

Ralph said...

Peewit, I'm glad the chicken and broccoli went over well, and I hope you'll write back telling me why you won't try the tamale pie. Chile con carne is a huge hit with kids here--all tomatoey and saucy. Not so there?

Mim said...

We call that 'the museum feeling' and know it well.
An exhaustion and tired eyes go with the feeling!
Yes separate cooktop and wall ovens, the way to go.
Your picture of boxes in your garage and driveway brought back memories of our long summer of 07 move.. and still some unpacked boxes sitting in the garage.
You sound very organized.

Ralph said...

Mim, I can't imagine going about a huge undertaking like this without at least some organization--I'd be in the crazy house otherwise! I'm we'll have boxes unopened years into the future...

Peewit said...

The kdis won't eat Chili con carne because A) it's got chilis in (they don't like spicy) and B) it's got beans in (not yet adventurous enough to try them; we made the mistake of not introducing them at weaning stage)