Sunday, January 24, 2010

My miracle man

My husband Morgan continually amazes me.  He's a software engineer by trade--and works a kajillion hours a week, counting all the work he does from home writing software code.  But the things that astonish me are all the skills he's amassed over the years that don't have anything to do with what he does for a living.  I could tell you about how he took a crappy old warehouse on the east side and, with the help of a couple of other artists, turned it into a studio/performance space called The Off Center, which is the home of the brilliant theater group, the Rude Mechanicals, but that was before I knew him.   The truth is, most of what he knows how to do is quite mysterious to me.  I'm just grateful that the man has some serious skills!

What he's done:
In our house on the east side, he completely remodeled our tiny kitchen, replacing a non-functioning window with drywall and insulation, installing cabinets, laying tile on the counter tops and backsplash,  and doing all the electrical work.  He created a beautiful rose arbor one year for my birthday (with wooden pegs rather than nails!),  and the next year he built big pine bookshelves that framed a doorway in our living room.  I really hated leaving all of those lovely things behind when we moved, but the house was old, poorly constructed, and always needed work.  His task list was never ending.

A new house:
When we began looking for another house, Morgan said he wanted to buy a house that was in extremely good shape because he was tired of spending all of his free time working on a house that, even with the improvements he made, would never be a very good house.   We were lucky enough to find a home that had been built in 1971, when there was still old-growth wood and contractors didn't seem to take as many short-cuts.  The house is remarkably solid.  On top of that, the previous owner had poured a lot of time and money into tastefully remodeling the kitchen and bathroom, adding French doors to the room leading out onto the patio,  replacing all the doors and many of the windows, and installing a top-of-the-line, super high-efficiency ac/heating system.  After about 10 minutes in the house,  Morgan said, "I want this house."

Some stuff we had others do:
 Of course we had our own ideas about what we wanted, so before we actually moved into the house, Morgan ripped up all the carpet, scraped up the old linoleum that was under the carpet, and had bamboo floors installed throughout the house (He simply didn't have time to do it, but he could have.), and had the garage converted into an open, spacious office.  After we sold our old house, we had a screened-in- porch built onto the patio slab out back.  That was always a dream of mine, and mosquitoes are bad here in the summer.

Morgan saves the day (and a lot of money)!
Yet there was still something about the house that had always bothered us.  There was no dining room.  We used the room between the kitchen and the 2nd bedroom as a dining room, but you couldn't get to it from the kitchen.  You had to walk a few steps down the hall and enter the room that way.  wanted better flow. I thought we needed a doorway from the kitchen into the dining room, and I wanted a big doorway.  I am not a fan of walls.  It took over a year to convince Morgan of the veracity of this notion, but he finally succumbed to my weekly admonitions and agreed that a doorway was indeed a fine idea.   We decided to find out what it would cost to have someone else do the work and after getting a few estimates (from $1050-$3000),  Morgan decided with a little help, he could do the work himself.  To begin with, he needed move several electrical outlets.   The wiring ran along the bottom of the wall--a large section of which was to be removed.  Morgan spent two weekends moving all the electrical wiring and installing new junction boxes and outlets.   Then he enlisted the assistance of our friend Larry, who'd had a lot of experience with dry wall.   Morgan opened up the wall, he and Larry framed it out, installed dry wall,  and did the taping and floating.  (see link above)  So now we have this lovely little dining room (with French doors to the screen porch) that looks like it's a natural extension of the kitchen.   Of course I'll post pictures after I've painted the new room and placed the furniture.  I just wanted to shine a little light on my wonderful husband.   Ah.  I love my miracle man.

Hallway to dining room, first door on right

 Doorway from kitchen to dining room


  1. OMG soooo beautiful! Those floors, the colors, the books!!! oh, and the MAN! love it all!