Writer’s Block: Improvement project had simple start

by Eric Hagen

I still have many of my books packed in boxes even though I moved to my new home during the summer of 2009.

I recently found a spot on a bookshelf for my photo albums but am having trouble figuring out where to display shot glasses that I bought from locations such as the Black Hills, London and Walt Disney World.

All of my problems will be solved with a new bookcase.

That would seem like a simple project to most of you. I certainly thought this would be a breeze.

I soon found out that there are many different roads a home improvement project can go down, and I have taken the long, winding road.

I began planning for a new entertainment stand last fall. I did over a dozen rough sketches. I visited local stores to get design ideas or to see if there was something I wanted to buy on the spot.

I visited home improvement stores to find out the cost of wood and to look at the different wood stains.

During this planning, my friend Mike asked what my long-term plans are for the wall color and flooring.

I had no clue what I would do at that point, but I understood that it would be easier to get those issues out of the way before I tackle a huge entertainment stand project.

After all, it is much easier to do new flooring without having a big entertainment stand to move.

Therefore, my fairly simple task became a full-scale home improvement project.

The first thing I got done was painting the walls. It took me a couple of months to decide what color paint.

The challenge of my home is the living room has very tall ceilings. I never measured, but I know the ceiling is taller than 15 feet because my window is about 13 feet tall.

My home has an open floor plan so the living room transitions into the dining room. The dining room is next to a galley-design kitchen and the kitchen walkway goes to a half-bathroom.

Therefore, I was considering what color paint I wanted for walls in all areas.

After making my room look like an interpretative art museum with several different colors painted on the wall, I chose Canyon Clay, which is mostly red, but has some brown and pink in it. It was the second darkest color on the color palette, but the next lightest color had too much pink in it for my taste.

The tall ceilings and the abundant light from the tall window makes the room bright enough. I’ll need some better lamps with my redesigned living room, but that is another battle down the road.

What I am currently working on is finding the right hardwood floor.

I have debated whether to have hardwood throughout the whole downstairs, but I am leaning toward the living room and dining room to keep the costs down and so I do not have to worry about spilling water or dropping a frying pan on a wood floor. I will be keeping the linoleum in those areas.

I have decided on the hardwood flooring I like the most. I really like the look of hickory and the handscrapped and distressed texture. I want to have as much of a rustic cabin feel as possible.

Unfortunately, I do not have a fireplace to complete the ambience, but I will have photos of different Minnesota lakes and landscapes hanging on the wall. I found a discounted wooden canoe paddle at a downtown business in Anoka that will also go on the wall. Instead of a fern or other large plant, I would love to have a small pine tree decoration.

I will have a large rug with some North Woods motifs. Mike has joked that I should have a large bear rug or a bear statue in one corner. I will not be going that overboard, however.

After the flooring is done, I can get to work on settling the bookcase problem.