There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.
I’m lucky. I have the privilege of witnessing miracles every day. Maybe they are not the kind of miracles you typically think of. But to me, they are miraculous.
I have been privileged to spend the past twenty-five years helping people remodel their homes. It can be a daunting process – tearing rooms apart, standing in the holy mess that creates, reassuring client’s that chaos will become beauty, and then finally and sometimes painfully putting the pieces back together. But in the end – magic occurs – old becomes new, dark becomes light, dullness shines with color and people’s lives are transformed.
1960’s Tract House
Twenty-five years ago, Jackie and Paul bought a dated 1960’s tract house on a cul-de-sac behind an elementary school. The home had good bones with high ceilings and wide openings to a patio that wrapped around it where they could hear children playing. But the rooms in the main living area were disconnected and the kitchen and dining room were tiny. The couple loved to cook and serve friends and family their inspired culinary dishes but the space didn’t lend itself to entertaining.
House of Dreams
For ten years Jackie and Paul lived in their new home without changing a thing except putting a coat of white paint on the mahogany brown paneling and ceilings in every room. But during those years they imagined how they would transform the space to suit the lifestyle they envisioned. A spacious gourmet kitchen where they could cook to their heart’s content, for just the two of them or their favorite guests, was first on the list.
Second, they visualized a dining room with a blazing fireplace where they hosted large laughter-filled dinner parties and Thanksgiving feasts. Third, they longed for a door in the kitchen as a passageway to the patio where they dreamed of grilling chicken and making mini pizzas to serve guests in an outdoor dining area, under the stars.
The couple finally hired an architect who convinced them they needed to double the size of their family room. He drew up plans for the addition which cost an estimated $150,000. Unfortunately, the plan did not include what they envisioned even though they had given the architect their list. Then Jackie asked me to look at the plans to give them a second opinion. I could immediately see the spacious home did not need to be expanded.
The rooms just needed to be reconfigured. The ideas the couple came up with were practical and totally enhanced the livability of the space. In the end, Jackie and Paul’s dreams came true as you can see in these “before” and “after” images of their kitchen. Many wonderful meals have been cooked in this well-appointed room and served in the adjacent indoor and outdoor dining rooms.
Seven Tips for Transformation
More blogs to come on Jackie and Paul’s home transformation. But here’s the take-away from their experience:
- Live in your home for at least a year before you remodel.
- Visualize how you would change the space to make it live better for you, your family and lifestyle.
- Make an ongoing list as ideas come to you. Continuously refine the list.
- Think both inside and outside the box. To save money and resources, work within the footprint of your home with creative space planning.
- Respect the site and the architecture. Don’t try to make your home something it’s not or cut down trees needlessly.
- And finally, don’t let “professionals” sway you from your vision.
Most of all, trust yourself, your dreams and the process. Your home’s transformation doesn’t always happen fast or painlessly, but the magic and miracle it brings is worth the wait, expense and chaos.
I believe thoughts create reality. Do you have a dream of transforming your home and in the process your life? Write it down and then believe your dreams will come true!