A shaky start

I spent almost three hours at my local home reno store yesterday, learning all about carpets and blinds. I was feeling utterly, utterly overwhelmed, tired and discouraged. There is so much!

I measured the room I want re-carpeted, not once, not twice, but three times. (I believe you already know that I am not great with numbers.) I bravely headed to the store, armed with that information, a pen, and lots of paper. I found a knowledgable, helpful salesperson, who proceeded to tell me everything I never wanted to know about carpeting. In fact, somewhere about ten minutes in, I recall thinking things like, “I’m not going to remember any of this. It’s not making any sense now, so it’s not going to make any sense later. I wonder if she would be able to tell if I wasn’t listening. Oh crap! I’m actually not listening!”

I tried, I truly tried, but I just couldn’t take in much information yesterday afternoon. I did eventually narrow down my carpet choices, though, and got some samples to take home. I gave the salesperson all my information so that their installer can phone me and book a time to come in and measure the room. Again. So basically, I measured the room myself for no reason. Oh well, at least I’ll know that the measurements we end up with will be very, very accurate.

Then I asked about window blinds, and looked at what the store offered. I learned how to measure correctly (actually, I already knew, but the salesperson assumed I didn’t and explained the procedure anyway). I learned that yes, it is possible to have those California shutters installed on a sliding glass patio door such as the one I have in my kitchen, and that it would cost around 1000$, depending upon whether the door is 5 or 6 feet wide. I was given a price list so that I could go home and measure my windows and calculate a ballpark price for new blinds for all of them. I also learned that the store was currently offering 20% off a particular brand of blinds, so I took that as a sign that I should go ahead and do this now.

I visited the paint department and inquired about painting my kitchen cabinets. I was told which paint to use and how to use it, but cautioned that I should purchase the new cabinet doors first, then match that colour with the paint I eventually purchase. Good plan, I thought. There are many, many different whites out there.

By this time, I was hot and hungry and although I had more questions to ask and more information to glean, I went home. I left all my piles of paper and carpet samples downstairs, made myself some dinner and played on the Intarnets a little.

A couple of hours later, I tackled the carpet samples. They all looked awful with my couches. You see, my couches in the room I want redone (my TV room) are beige, with navy blue throw cushions as accents. The walls are navy blue below a white chair rail and a lighter blue above. I was thinking a beige carpet. That won’t work at all. Either I have to match the couches exactly, which will make the room look like a sea of vomitous beige, or I have to go for contrast, which will mean a very light beige which will quickly show dirt and normal wear-and-tear.

I gave up and started to measure all my windows. Did I mention that I’m not great with numbers? Somehow, numbers like 69 got turned into 59, and fractions like 5/8 just got me confused. I couldn’t manipulate my metal tape measure into the corners properly, and I was getting sloppy and scraping the walls with it. I kept forgetting to write things down, reasoning that repeating the numbers aloud would work just as well. (Note to self: repeating aloud does not work at all. Write it down immediately – but correctly.) I also have some fairly wide and tall windows, so I literally couldn’t measure accurately because I couldn’t stretch out that far. And those stupid metal tape measures don’t bend enough to get properly right in the corners, so I was stressing out that I wasn’t really measuring accurately enough, and accuracy is so important when measuring for blinds, and I’d better do it again – and then I started worrying whether or not the California shutters would fit over the patio door’s protruding handle, and if they wouldn’t, what were my options.

I went to bed, all pissed off.

Today, I was able to tell DD how frustrated and incompetent I felt. She listened and she helped me measure the windows, and though I’m still not sure that I was entirely accurate in the corners with that dumb metal tape measure, I think it’ll be okay. At most, I think I might be out an eighth of an inch, and realistically, that will make almost no difference.

DD looked at the carpet samples with me, and suggested that I go for contrast and choose the lightest one. Never mind the wear-and-tear and the possibility of getting it dirty, she said, if it gets too bad, clean it or throw an area rug on top. And really, if I live here long enough, I can always replace the carpet again. She also suggested that we (We! I think that means that she’ll help!) stain the two wood tables in the room darker brown, to contrast even more with a new lighter-coloured carpet. I looked at the tables in question, and damn, she’s right. At the moment, they are quite light in colour – uh, beige, one might say. Too much beige is not a good thing, so the tables will become dark. Soon.

Then I researched California shutters more thoroughly. It took a long time to get the information I was seeking, but I found out that if they are mounted outside the window casing, they will stick out about three inches. That should just – just – clear the door handle. And if it doesn’t, it looks like I can remove and replace that handle with a smaller one. It’s just a couple of screws, so I can do that.

Though I’m feeling more positive than I was yesterday, still I’m exhausted. I’m only at the beginning of my home renos, basically just gathering information, and I was almost ready to throw in the towel. What will I be like when I start the kitchen???

You may want to avoid me and my blog when I get to that point.

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5 responses to “A shaky start

  1. Wenderina – Yes, you’re definitely ahead of me on this curve. I’m watching you (reading you?) with great interest, believe me!

  2. Welcome to my nightmare. But if you can last it out…even if it isn’t perfect in the end…there’s a sense of satisfaction when you come home to a place that you’ve put work into and that now “works” for you. I’m doing it too- painfully slowly, but getting there.

  3. What Irene said. It’s their job, let them do it. I hate redecorating – it’s taken us about 3 years to finally finish our main living room!

    • Irene – Of course you’re right, but I mistakenly thought that I would enjoy doing a bit of this myself, just to save some money. Now I know that I don’t, not really. Just the simple (simple! Ha!) act of measuring has stressed me out!

      Mrs Jones – I’ve realized that I like the abstract idea of redecorating, not the actual doing of it. And I should have known this: when Porsche Guy and a friend of his replaced my grotty old linoleum and stained bedroom and hall carpets with laminate several years ago, the noise and mess just about gave me a heart attack, and about all I had to do then was provide food!

  4. Leave as much of it as you can to the professionals. Don’t try to do all the measuring and fitting yourself. have someone come out and do that and worry about the door handle. and the kitchen cabinet doors too.