This is the story that didn’t want to be written.

We’ve been living back in our home since February 12, 2018. Yep, that’s almost two years ago. That’s far longer than the renovation itself, although it felt at least as long at times.

A lot has happened in the two years I should have posted this. Our house no longer feels like it’s a strangers. It’s now fully and completely a home. That transformation was awkward. It wasn’t binary as in one day it just suddenly felt like home. It was much more nuanced. In fact, I still find myself reaching for the light switch that’s no longer there. Still turning right when I need to turn left. Perhaps after twenty three years in one house that may never change. I’m hoping eventually my brain will adjust.

The stats are pretty straightforward. The plans started in earnest in the summer and fall of 2016. We moved out the first week in September 2017 (not coincidentally the week both our kids left home to be away at school) and we finally moved back home six months and eight temporary homes later. To no great surprise, we went dramatically over budget and move in was pushed back to accommodate the growing list of add ons.

Horrors? Yes we had a few. There’s no surprise like a renovation surprise. A completely new heating and ventilation system, water proofing all sides of the house (only to have it fail and flood the basement on the very first heavy water fall), new flooring on all three floors, plus the dozens of small upgrades that slowly tear away at your soul and provide the nuances that make any renovation memorable.

In the end, we endured living out of a duffle bag for half a year, the beloved (and humbling at how lucky we are to normally live so close to work) Toronto commuter traffic jams as we ambled our way to and from our temporary residences, countless heated and occasionally fiery discussions and the never ending (or so it seemed) weekend shopping expedition to replace everything we tore out and threw away.

Lessons learned? Boy that’s a tough one. The glib answer is to never, ever, ever do a renovation. No sane person would do this fully knowing what lies ahead. On the other hand, you can’t help but feel reborn when it’s all done. The sheer newness of everything is in fact completely rejuvenating.

My favourite room by the way by far is our new music room. This has become my sanctuary. It’s all coming together, we’re finally getting the stereo system completed, and the new area rug was taken from the third floor where it was too big and has found a new home beside the Eames chair. I can’t help but feel a sense of pride. We imagined it, we created it and now it’s there to enjoy.

Alice and I sat down the other night to listen to St. Peppers Lonely Hearts and Abbey Road on our new turntable, the lights were dim, a glass of decent red wine in hand and the romance of those ancient discs turning round and round. I was transported to being 18 years old all over again. Perhaps Alice was as well. This is now officially a home. Our home. There truly is no place like it.






Robert KahnX100F, HOME, B&WComment