Demo is in my DNA

Recently, my husband Ray and I went to our friends’ Jeff and Lynn’s home for Lynn’s famous homemade waffles. After our delicious meal, Lynn mentioned that they were having a group of folks over for dinner in a few days and they didn’t know how they were going to fit them all around their dining table.

Space was tight.

Their living and dining furniture shared the same room. To start, Ray suggested they move their two sofas closer together to allow more room for the dining table and chairs. I suggested moving two dressers out of their living room and replacing them with a gorgeous credenza that Jeff had built. They liked both ideas.

We started moving furniture. Moving the dressers out of the living room and replacing them with the slimmer, airier credenza lightened the room and allowed more space for getting to and fro.

Then Ray made a bold suggestion.

Their Chinese rug needed to be turned so that it laid in the direction of the grain of the floor. (I had thought of this previously, but didn’t want to mention it, as it is a bit of a job.) Surprise. Jeff was game, and I, ever more so. We moved the rug. Voila! The room exhaled. The new furniture placement made the room work so much better.

Improving spaces is in my DNA.

Years ago, I attended a writer’s gathering in Seattle. It was the first time I met the host, a journalist named Dean. His home was beautiful –- an historic Queen Anne. When he learned that I had a design background, Dean showed me around his place.

Everything was beautifully maintained. But when he led me to the stairway leading upstairs, I stopped short. The stairs were covered in a dirty, stained, off-white carpet. I asked Dean about the carpeting. He said that it was there when he bought the house seven years before and, oh, by the way, the previous owners had dogs.

It was clear that the dogs had left their mark. Then he informed me that he had chronic asthma. We walked up the stairs and I saw that the filthy carpeting also covered his bedroom floor. So I asked the obvious question. "Dean, why don’t you remove this mangy carpeting?”

His reply? He was concerned that if he removed the carpeting, the wooden steps underneath it might be damaged and then he’d have to deal with that. I looked at him, stupefied, and said, “We are removing this rug. Now. Get me some tools.”

Turns out, Dean was really bored with the party. Diving into a demo project with me sounded like fun. He promptly returned with some tools and as the party proceeded around us, we set to removing the carpeting.

As soon as we lifted the carpeting from the floor, the carpet pad disintegrated. It was nasty. This job had been long overdue.

Eventually, Dean painted the steps and refinished his bedroom floor. His refinished floor revealed so much figuring that it resembled an animal print. The world under his feet no longer harbored germs. Instead, it had rhythm and glowed a rich mahogany brown.

Needless to say, our demo carpet caper bonded the two of us for life.

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