despite the inevitability of winter, december is one of my favourite months of the year. it’s my birthday month, for one, and pierre’s, too. and jesus’, which means a pine tree in the living room and twinkly white lights everywhere. the grinch is on cbc a lot. plus, all the “best of” lists come out, which inspires a lot of debate about music and movies across the dining room table.
in the recent decembers of our lives, we had two big things happen (besides each of us turning another year older). we took possession of our house in december 2010, and in december 2011, we decided not to go ahead with the major renovation we’d been planning for the whole year up to that point.
having made that decision at the end of last year, 2012 brought the master painter, designer, landscaper, and carpenter out in both of us. on new year’s day, while most people were nursing hangovers, i was painting our foyer (there’s no cure for hangovers like paint fumes in an enclosed space, as everyone very well knows).
in many ways, 2012 has been an exhausting year, but an exciting one, too. in looking around, i’m pretty amazed by what we accomplished this year, considering i didn’t even know how to use a drill at the start of it.
in early 2012, our living room became our dining room, going from sage green to light blue in the process. much to everyone’s surprise, we were able to fit this massive dining table, handmade by pierre’s friend dave, in our house, even though doing so meant giving up our television. we have a victrola record player in this room now instead, which we retrofitted with an am/fm radio, ipod dock, cd player, and turntable, so we tune in to cbc radio one when we get up in the mornings instead of watching breakfast television, which isn’t such a bad trade-off.
working on our bedroom made the biggest difference to our house, in my opinion. it freed up a whole extra room, which is now our studio. and all our clothes are in one room, which (mostly) eliminates the need to go downstairs in the morning in bare feet.
our spare bedroom was a catch-all for everything that we didn’t have space for anywhere else — coats and shoes at one point, dressers full of clothes, and a vanity chair that was purchased for our future ensuite, which didn’t ultimately end up being a real thing. now we have a room with a nearly empty closet, space to work on things like this blog, and a big chair for curling up in to read.
for all of 2010 and much of 2011, our mudroom was empty — so chilly and unwelcoming. but it seemed like a much better place to store our shoes, coats, bags, and hats than the basement or the spare room closet. i prettied it up with some paint, prints, and plants and organized it with floating shelves, hooks, and bins. it’s not perfect, and it’s still freezing in there, but it’ll do until we dig out our basement and rebuild it.
when our living room became our dining room, our dining room, in turn, became our living room. we replaced a window and bought this mcm shelving unit from upside dive to hold books, board games, and bottles of whisky and wine. it’s not a big space, but having a dining room table that all our friends and family could gather at was more important to us than a big screen tv.
the backyard is a space we’ll continue working on in the spring, but we made a tonne of progress this year. two sides of the yard are now fenced with pressure-treated wood. we replaced our aluminum shed with this cute carriage house. and a lot of trees and shrubs were pulled out by (pierre’s) hand and replaced with a purple leaf sandcherry tree and a number of perennials.
you can probably see what i mean by 2012 being both an exhausting and exciting year. every room seemed to have one hundred little snags and projects that needed to be completed in order for the room to be “done”, and nothing came easy. luckily, we have a smaller to-do list for 2013, and i hope we’ll spend more 2013 weekends enjoying our handiwork rather than always chiseling away at the next task.
until then, i’m off to watch the grinch, turn another year older, and debate some “best of” lists.