At Last

muse-goddess-thalia Neighbors of ours for a number of years in Seattle recently moved to another home, another neighborhood across the lake. When they first moved in they were a newly married couple. Now they’re a family of four, and their search was predicated around proximity to a choice preschool and high ranking public school system. As I watched the moving van roll off with the contents of their home, I felt an abiding sadness.

I wanted to be in their shoes, for I knew what to do then too.

Our first baby hadn’t taken her first step yet in San Diego, when I whisked my family off to take residence in the nationally recognized “Blue Ribbon” Poway School District. With children grown and gone now, it’s more difficult to know what to do.

Nevertheless, we’re trying. The house remodel on San Juan Island, I realize, is nothing less than a life remodel.

Perhaps because of the extensive area they cover, flooring and wall color took an inordinate amount of time. Good thing we called out hardwood floors throughout and one color for the walls. Initially my husband longed for a blond wood, while I was drawn to dark. What we wound up with is a wide boarded medley of grayed browns, reminiscent of weathered piers and docks. Both of us are at home on that.

Following floors, when the 9 1/2′ cut yew log went up as a mantle, the wall behind it cried out for rock. Until then we had been drawing up some sort of fireplace surround. It was our contractor, Shawn Kleine, who heard the cry. The entire wall should be faced with rock. It was, and it was good.

But I was in danger of being browned out.

If there is one thing I know about interiors, it is that a room should have a foot in both masculine and feminine worlds. By that I mean wood, rock, and steel, should be augmented by something light, soft and airy. So as wood planks went up on the cathedral ceiling, I whitewashed the boards. The cross beams were then painted out white. Benjamin Moore’s pure clean “Chantilly Lace White.”

I was getting happier, but it was still not enough for this rugged room.

Then the skylights opened up and the quartz island top arrived, basically a white with a bit of gray/brown/black. A gender-neutral gray quartz went down like a runway on countertops. And above it, Carrera marble subway tiles, reaching to the ceiling. Like a crescendo.

This is where my heart stops.

It’s like watching Rome being built. No better, classical Greece. Light seems to pour through these tiles as if they were made of liquid or glass. I have never been as inspired to cook as I am now, standing before this marble. I could dance.

Maybe everything is going to be alright.


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4 responses to “At Last

  1. Al Finn

    Ah Kim, sounds beautiful, it looks beautiful too because your words make it so in my mind. Can I smell it too? Weathered piers and docks? A cut Pacific Yew? A rock face, feminine and masculine worlds? Perhaps something good you are cooking? Almost but not quite there. Not your intent I suppose but if you’d just try harder you’d have me totally wrapped up, enraptured and more than an entry in a design time zine. Carry me back there, I want to watch the two of you think.
    I want to watch the interplay of your shared ideas dance around the walls between the floor and ceiling, over, under and playing each texture like a string quartet, in the window looking out, one moment, and outside the window now looking in the next as the two of you visualize together until what you see slowly becomes a, a, a, I have to say it, a romantic dance to the sea and back again.

    Since it’s a life remodel Kim, I wonder how that will affect you writing. It is already affecting your cooking, huh?

    My best to you and your Complement

    Bonhomme Alexander Finn

  2. Thank you for asking. I wouldn’t be on board if I didn’t think this move would make writing all the more accessible and enjoyable. Have I told you about the writer’s hut on the property, in the trees and down by the water’s edge? What writer hasn’t dreamed about having “a hut in the woods”? Presently it’s being used as a construction shed, but when the remodel is finished, I will practically move in!

  3. Sounds like a beautiful room. I’m about to go on holiday for two weeks with hubby and kids to work on our own renovation project in France. Although the process can be exhausting there is something exhilarating about listening to the needs of a house and respecting them in the building process.

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