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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Renovation and Revision

I confess. I’ve become addicted to HGTV. 

I sit entranced by the renovation shows, amazed at how a crumbling “fixer-upper” can be transformed into a gorgeous dream home. My hubby has admitted to being worried that I will want to pour money we don’t have into our little log cabin. He may have good reason!

But honestly, my favorite takeaways from these shows involve the small changes. Making better use of space. Adding or subtracting elements to improve flow. When you live in 600 square feet as I do, every little bit counts. So yes, I’m making changes, some big, some small. This summer, I plan to sand and paint my kitchen cabinets. I already have the new hardware. I would love to gut it and start over, but that’s not in our budget. A little DIY project will have to suffice. My BIG expense for the kitchen re-do is the counter. My old one is shot. I want quartz. I may need to sell a lot more books to swing it, but for now, I can dream.

Most of what I’m doing though will cost little or nothing. I plan to rearrange my home office by moving a small cabinet into what is now wasted space, then moving an Amish-made rocker from our cramped living room into the space the cabinet occupied, thereby making myself a reading nook. In the process, I’ll free up some much-needed floor space in the living room.

Once the weather warms up and we can take stuff to the flea market, I have an oversized knickknack stand that I intend to get rid of, again to make more space in the living room. The problem becomes what to do with the books and DVDs currently populating the stand. I need to talk nice to Hubby so he’ll build me more shelves that hang on the walls. I also need to declutter, which is the hardest part.

It struck me that reimagining my living space isn’t much different than the revisions I’m starting on my current novel. I’ll copy and paste paragraphs from one spot to another, so the words make more sense. I’ll delete all the overwriting and over telling (clutter), which means slashing words and scenes that I love as much as my extensive DVD collection. I might even add a few words of clarification where needed.

When my critique group or editor points out what appears to be a major problem, often the solution is simply the addition of a few words of dialogue or the deletion of a sentence. Revising, like renovation, can be a simple matter of moving something we already have to a space where it works better. No need to knock out a wall or rewrite an entire chapter.

Granted, sometimes it does come down to that, but not as often as you’d think.

Tell me, readers, do you enjoy the home renovation shows? Have you ever gotten ideas from them? And do you have any remodeling or redecorating plans, big or small, in your future?


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I like your editing analogy. I've moved from decluttering to ruthless large-scale purging, in my house and on my works-in-progress.

I watch HGTV at the gym, amazed with all the walls that come down. Some ideas make sense: reconfiguring a kitchen, creating storage, moving a staircase. I like bathrooms with deep storage drawers that can hold shampoo bottles and hair dryers. I like rolling shelves and pot racks in kitchens. And LOTS of electrical outlets and overhead lights.

In our first house, the day we moved in we realized the only overhead lights were in the kitchen and bathrooms! Hiring an electrician to install ceiling fans with light packages in the bedrooms was the best solution.

Annette said...

Margaret, we built our log cabin ourselves, and I'd do so much different now. We have NO overhead lights. We later installed a couple of ceiling fans, but still no lights. Hubby wants to add a light to the one in the bedroom, and I'm thinking while we have our resident electrician (our grandnephew) in the attic doing that, I might have him install a light over our kitchen table. We've had a swag light there all this time but I'd like to swap it out and options in swags are very limited.

As for revising, I'm finding lots of walls of words that need to come down in my WIP, and a few that need to be moved to make more sense.

KM Rockwood said...

Can I confess that, with the exception of the placement of the refrigerator, I prefer the "before" kitchen to the "after?"

We splurged on quartz counters when we redid our kitchen. I love them, but be aware that they are not chip-proof.

I took my husband, who had very little interest in the remodeling job, to look at counters. I didn't want to spend so much money on something he didn't like. As we were looking at the options, he found one he did like. "Oh, look at this. And it's only 99¢ a square foot." I looked at it, and said, "It is nice, but that's 99 dollars a square foot."

Kait said...

$99/square foot? YIKES.

When I bought my first house, my then boyfriend gifted me with a new kitchen. The old one was unworkable - the dishwasher was in the garage. It was glorious to watch all the new space and appliances go in. When we sell this house and go back to Maine another big reno is in our future.

I am addicted to HGTV, or I was until we ditched the Dish. That and The Weather Channel were the only things we watched. Everything else was streaming. Need to find an HGTV outlet. I love House Hunters, of any stripe.

Annette said...

KM, I had to laugh when you said you liked the before kitchen better. Sometimes I think remodeling...AND revising...becomes a matter of moving things around to make them different but not necessarily better. For me, that's when it's time to turn in the manuscript!

And your husband has expensive taste!!!

Kait, I've only had over-the-air antenna TV until this fall when we got a great deal on cable. I'm like a kid in a candy shop with HGTV, History Channel, and USA.

Grace Topping said...

If there was a support group for HGTV addicts, I would have to join. Fortunately, I have learned a lot from my viewing time. Good luck with your projects, Annette.

Annette said...

Haha, Grace! Hi. My name is Annette, and it's been 2 hours since I've watched Property Brothers...

Grace Topping said...

That made me burst out laughing! I'm going to have trouble juggling support groups--one for HGTV and one for Facebook. I'm double doomed.