The Two Parlours

So, a little more work on straightening out the parlours today. Mostly this was clearing out that largish pile of boxes in the middle of the front parlour, but there was also some moving around of stuff, such as the smaller beige chairs from the back room to the front.

Last major tidy in the parlours

We took a break midday and went to see a movie for the first time in a couple years. We don't get out much, especially on weekends when we could be working on the house.

Anyway, mostly done, modulo dealing with the pile of mail and assorted paperwork on our mail table. I think both rooms could use a rug, but for now we have a light sprinkling of dog beds and Goldie's favourite dog blanket.

What you can't see is that we made a sort of kids' area off to the left in the front room, with children's books and some toys, and we unwrapped my childhood tea set onto the tea cart so when our friends and neighbors bring their kids over, there is stuff to play with. Usually when kids come over they mostly want to play with the pianos or treadle the spinning wheel, and that's cool, too. This way we have somewhere comfortable to sit and watch them do that. Now that most of our friends have kids, we need to accommodate them in our lives, too, and I'm pretty happy with this as a way of handling that.

The most common request we get from people about this project is for tips on how to live with a renovation in progress. One of the things I always say is that it is important to take time off the big projects to make the house feel more livable. It's easy to let the house turn into a workshop, especially if you kind of like workshops, even more so if you have a hobby that can get stuff-intensive (like, say, collecting pianos, not that we know anybody like that). But houses are also for living in, and you really cannot work every second you have free. Rooms not under construction should be usable so you have somewhere to go that is not in a hundred pieces with gaping holes to the outdoors.

The key part is that this ends up being like a tide, but a tide you have to participate in. Rooms are not going to stay clean and usable by themselves, not if major construction is going on. Every now and then you need to take some time to pull things back from being a workshop or equipment storage room. I try to plan for at least a weekend every other month to fight back the forces of entropy in the rest of the house, and that works out pretty well (my tolerance for chaos may be quite different from yours). So in theory we are now ready for two more months of work before we have to clean up again, right?

posted by ayse on 12/16/12