Marsha Canham's Blog

May 10, 2013

The light at the end of the tunnel

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 7:08 pm

Okay, so I’ve been home for 10 days, and I must admit I came through the door with some trepidation. While I was wintering in Florida, I got mixed messages from home about how the progress was going on all the renovations. Cabinet Guy, naturally, said that everything was progressing as planned. The DIL sent emails and pictures showing, as of a week before I was supposed to return, that nothing was close to being finished. Luckily there was still snow and cold weather here, so I delayed my return for a week, giving Cabinet Guy some extra time…which he apparently needed to do major clean up.  (Why is it that men think their farts don’t stink and their boots don’t leave dust behind???)

So to set my homecoming mood a little, yes, we left sunny, hot Florida a week ago Saturday. I was driving by myself, following another couple, keeping in touch via walkie talkies which worked out great. We had frequent stops but still made pretty good time to Wytheville Va, rolling into a Best Western around 10:00 that night. Asked for and were given non smoking rooms where a pet was allowed, cuz I had Suzie, my little dawg, who did not sleep a wink on the long drive. She hates car rides and usually sits stiff-legged and owl-eyed regardless how long the trip takes. When my Brother in Law and I drive down, straight through without stopping, Suzie sits stiff-legged and owl-eyed for the full 22 hrs.

Normally, I have no problems with Best Western but on this trip, tired and seeing crosseyed from driving all that time, I checked into a non smoking room that smelled like the ashes on the bottom of seven day old ashtray left outside to get crusty and molder in the heat. Worse, at some point a cat had stayed in the room, and while they never bothered me when I was younger, I go into sneezing fits now if I’m around one. So there I was…hastily changed into jammies cuz I was tired, snuggled up in bed with Suzie, who was asleep the instant she found an accommodating pillow. I started sneezing in earnest around midnight, and because most of my things were packed sardine-style in the car, had nothing to take for it, not that I would have ventured out into a dark parking at that time of night anyway. The smell of the old smoke started to work on me too, having quit the habit before Christmas, so by 4am, I gave up trying to sleep at all and watched reruns of NCIS until it was time to get up and drive again. Yes, I did complain to the front desk advising them to make note of the rooms where cats stay. My own sneezy reaction was mild compared to how my son would have reacted. He swells up like a bloated yak and his throat closes within five minutes of breathing feline fumes. The manager’s reaction? “So sorry you were inconvenienced, dear, but why didn’t you call the front desk we would have changed your room?”  Well, the hotel was full, for one thing. For another, it was 4am when I was most uncomfortable, and not in any mood to go slogging to another room.

Even more fun, when we went outside in the morning it was raining. And it rained alllllllll day long, all the way north from Virginia to Ontario. More fun…there was an hour and a half line up to cross the border (Although I did get to play with some of the previously unexplored buttons and knobs on my car and found out how to lower the aim of the headlights so they don’t blind the person I’m following. Sorry Jim, but who knew?) So it wasn’t until close to 10:30 pm that I pulled up in front of the son’s house, where I was staying the next two nights with the kidlets while the parental units were off for a weekend to celebrate Jefferson’s 40th birthday. Yes. My baby turned 40. I suppose that means I must adjust my age slightly upward as well, since few will still believe it hasn’t changed in the last ten years. Bummer.

Kids were happy to see me, I was happy to see them. Suzie was so happy she crapped all over their living room, so I spent a good part of that initial homecoming two days steam cleaning their carpets. *snort*

On to my own little abode. Again, with some trepidation, I drove the few short blocks and was met at the door by Cabinet Guy, who looked like he was suffering major trepidations of his own. Not sure if I mentioned it somewhere in these reno blogs that I’ve known Cabinet Guy since he came home from the hospital in his mother’s arms. So I have no qualms about smacking him upside the head, and he is very much aware that I will do so if I’m not happy with something.

First thing I saw was the new storm door and steel door on the kitchen. They replaced an ugly brown screenless thing and a scratched up wooden door with single-paned window inserts that let in more cold air than an AC unit. Woo hoo, good start.

Then came the kitchen, and I must say I was holding my breath a little. To save having to flip back, here’s how it looked to begin with, taken all those months ago with a fisheye lens….





Here’s how it looks now…(taken with my iPod cuz I haven’t unpacked my camera yet *snort*)





Ugly white cupboards…gone. Blue tiled island…gone. Outdated angelstone fireplace…gone. Useless (and hollow) bulkheads…gone. The placement of the sink and stove were reversed and the dishwasher was installed in the island. The pic doesn’t do justice to the height of the cupboards or the size of the pantry, nor do they show all the secret spice drawers and corner nooks that look like solid wood but they open up to store trays and cutting boards etc. And all the drawers and cupboards are slam-proof, they close softly on their own unless you dive at them like a linebacker.

I think I actually hugged Cabinet Guy…Jason…he of The Woodworking Shop in Brampton, Ont. Yes, that is a shameless plug. The cabinets are gorgeous, I have almost as much storage space as I did in my huge kitchen in the other house, but the workmanship is soooo much better. I’m very very happy with the result and it was almost…allllllmost worth all the aggravations. LOL

The second most amazing transformations happened in the bathrooms. You may recall the long, narrow 50’s era pink arborite, pink tile, pink toilet, pink sink, dwarf washer and dryer beside a dingy, and claustrophobic shower that I never would set foot in?


Well, thanks to Bathroom Guy, it was completely gutted, walls pulled down, bulkheads again removed, the jaundice-inducing florescent light box ripped out and the dwarf machines dispatched to Snow White’s camp.  Mind you, the bathroom is still long and narrow, and fitting full sized machines in was a bit of a magic act, but it all works….



With the ugly half wall and bulkheads removed, the shower is twice the size of the old one, the slate is gorgeous, the double shower heads are mahhhh-vellous! Especially after a long day of unpacking, sweeping, dusting, washing…augh. And you can sorta see the original farmhouse window on the left that Bathroom Guy found buried behind the drywall. It has been restored and painted and I’ll be putting mirrors into the four arched panes. Very spiffy.

As for the upstairs bathroom…*sigh* Once again, I think I hugged young Jason.

It’s not that it was so terrible when I first saw it. I mean who can complain about a deep two-person jacuzzi with a million jets? Ummm…maybe the person who has to use two tanks of hot water to fill it?

So here is the original…


And the new look…




What the original photo didn’t show was the incredibly grotty, gross, plastic shower on the right hand side of the room, which, as you can see by the middle pic, was replaced with a huge new linen closet and three deep drawers. That stained glass pic was a birthday gift I made for my dad for his 70th birthday, and Jason has built it into the wall with tiny lights behind it. I *know* there was a tear in my eye when I saw it.

The other major reno job was the family room, but as you can see the Guys are still working on it. When they’ve finished…I’ll post more pics.




  1. Incredible Marsha! Looks fabulous. Your ability to picture what you want done is indeed a talent. Far beyond my capabilities. But then…I never claimed an artistic bone in my body. Congratulations!

    Comment by Carolyn — May 10, 2013 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

  2. Love it. Your new kitchen is amazing. And I would happily take a long, long bath in your new upstairs bathroom.

    Comment by Phyllis Lamken — May 10, 2013 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  3. It’s beautiful!!!! We are re-doing our bathroom, bought an antique claw-foot tub (so jealous yours is in!!) and can’t wait for it to be completed. May have to send down your cabinet guy to help us 🙂 What a gorgeous house you are going to have!!

    Comment by dreamer1962 — May 10, 2013 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  4. I had my kitchen and bathrooms remodeled last fall and know how pleased you must be with your lovely new rooms. It is that remaking the world “closer to your heart’s desire” moment.

    Comment by Phoebe Matthews — May 10, 2013 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  5. The kitchen is beautiful and I love the blue corn color you used in the bathroom. Isn’t it nice that it all got done while you were warm down south?

    Comment by Southern Belle — May 10, 2013 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  6. Gorgeous; just gorgeous. Congrats!

    Comment by SurferGirl — May 11, 2013 @ 1:23 am | Reply

  7. It’s all beautiful, Marsha. Turned out really well although the dust, dirt and general disorder would have driven me nuts long ago! LOL This was obviously worth the wait and the inconvenience. Absolutely gorgeous! Congrats. Now get back to cleaning up the construction stuff. 🙂

    Comment by JILLMETCALFJ — May 11, 2013 @ 1:58 am | Reply

  8. Thank you everyone. It’s been a trial at times, but I’m loving everything that was done. Except for the dust, of course. *snort*

    Comment by marshacanham — May 11, 2013 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  9. I know it’s been a long, harrowing road (especially the laundry, heh) but it looks fantastic. Swiffer sweeping pads are good with dust. lol (I am so lazy.)

    Comment by Sandi — May 11, 2013 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  10. I know it seems like a minor detail compared to all of the beautiful changes that have been made, but I really love that kitchen hood over the stove. I think that piece was done so beautfully, adding so much character to that space. It’s all beautiful. Enjoy your new home!

    Comment by Mel — May 14, 2013 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  11. Mel…not a minor detail at all. I love it too. And the best part is that the side panels that look decorative slide out as secret spice racks! I can honestly say there is not an inch of wasted space anywhere and things that look like they should be solid or fixed in place open to allow for extra storage. Even the lazy Susan is amazing. The door pulls straight out then swings to the side allowing for two double tiers of shelves to slide forward in an S shape.
    Very cool!

    Comment by marshacanham — May 14, 2013 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

    • I’m mighty jealous! I HATE dead space, especially in a kitchen!

      Comment by Mel — May 15, 2013 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

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