Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HGTV Moment!

Last week I got a card with a big smiling photo of a cat on it from my friend DAR.  It had been a year and she was again thanking us for her last year’s birthday present – a new kitchen.

Over the years, a close group of friends have celebrated milestone birthdays with everything from formal dinner parties to European trips. But, for our friend DAR, last year was unique even for us. 

DAR is the connection that weaves us all together. So we all assumed that when she turned ‘39 again’, she would want a festive cocktail party to celebrate with her many friends and family.  But, much to our surprise her request involved far fewer participants.  She gingerly asked us to help ‘fluff up’ her dated kitchen.  Having seen her nightmare of a kitchen we were more than happy to oblige and packed up the tool box and got busy. 

DAR is a social butterfly.  She is…well how can I say this…she is the best friend one could hope to have.  She has great taste and a terrific sense of humor.  She can plan a dinner party or whip up a spinach dip in a heartbeat, but she barely knows the difference between a hammer and a nail!  Being handy around the house is just not her idea of a necessary skill.  That’s what husbands are for.  Problem is she no longer has one of those, so Chuck and I have served as the long distance surrogate for sometime.  Over the phone we have walked her through everything from how to turn off the water line to stop it from spouting all over the kitchen floor to replacing blades on a ceiling fan.  All of which usually result in a handyman being called in to correct the situation.

Her 1920’s condo in the chic Meyers Park neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina suits her just fine.  However, the kitchen did lack … well it lacked everything!  Confused as to what to do and how to get it done, she had put off renovating the kitchen for years.  The little kitchen passed inspection through the many book club luncheons and dinner soirées only due to very low lighting and artful placement of accessories to hide the many accumulating flaws.  But, just like the Roman Empire this ancient room too began to crumble.  The backsplash grout could no longer hold its yellow ceramic tiles in place and they were falling like autumn leaves.  The harvest gold (yes I said harvest gold!) range and dishwasher had passed their prime years ago and the matching sink was slowly sinking into the disintegrating particle board countertop.  Even the broken trash compactor was now serving as a container for cat food. Two of the trio of 1980’s track light cans dangled darkly from their dusty track.  The plaster walls aged with their off white paint added another layer of dreariness. 

Armed with a small budget equal to the cost of a tasteful cocktail party and 3 days to complete the work, we set out to create our own TV style kitchen makeover, complete with a cocktail party reveal! 

Since our little clique does not all live in the same city, much less the same state all the pre-planning was done via email, phone and photographs.  We agreed that the small dark windowless kitchen needed to be brightened up with stainless steel appliances and since its owner had lived in and loved Norway our theme would be Swedish Casual. 

I must admit I did show up a day early and with the much appreciated assistance of my father who happens to live nearby, we were able to run around town and get most of construction materials.  The construction crew consisted of me, Chuck, and our other friend VSS.  [Side note:  understand that VSS is the high level corporate executive type, so I was a little nervous of her and me together in a confined space using power tools.] 

The next morning VSS and I set out to secure some decorative elements, but then decided we should wait until the project got further along before we committed to those details.  So we did the next best thing and bought a case of wine instead!  If nothing else we do know how to prioritize. 

Each day Chuck and I showed up unshaven, in shorts and baseball caps.  VSS arrived casually dressed in jeans, the perfect blouse, and Prada shoes!  If the HGTV camera crew showed up she would have been our Sandra Lee.

JS, the fourth member of our group, was not able to physically participate to no fault of her own.  DAR confused weekend dates and JS had plans she could not change; something to do with a debutante ball, or society wedding – I forget.  But, she did the next best thing.  She wrote a check – something she’s very good at!  Also, we pushed DAR off on her for a few days.  Completely against her will, we forced DAR to move out of the apartment until the project was complete so the final reveal would be a surprise – and to keep her out of our way!  That ended up being the best thing to do, since the kitchen can only hold so many personalities!  It’s just as well that JS could not physically participate.  In that small space I’m sure someone would have lost a hand or at least a couple of fingers.

All three of us worked our #$*& off and managed to finish within three days and still had time to plan and throw a small cocktail party for the big reveal!  Of course on the last day VSS had to call in reinforcements in the form of her house keeper, because we may have completed the kitchen but in the process we had also trashed the rest of the apartment. In the end we had managed to paint the cabinets, replaced the counter tops and backsplash, replaced all the appliances, moved the washer and dryer, changed the wall color, added new hardware, new lighting, and accessorized. 

Take that Vern Yip!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...