Sunday, January 20, 2008


Steve and I got into a scintillating conversation this morning about the definition of a den. I say it's a family room, where the TV is, and Steve says it's more of a home office. Maybe it can be both. Steve swears that in The Brady Bunch, Mike Brady's home office was called the den. I couldn't remember where his home office was, and I wondered if he used a corner of the family room — the room that had the big patio door that led out to the driveway — in which case that would be the den, too. But no, wasn't his office off the living room at the other end of the house? This led us to picking up Daniel's MagnaDoodle and drawing floor plans of the Bradys' house, leading to all sorts of reminiscing: "This is where the vase was when it got broken." "This is the front door, where Davy Jones came in." "Where was Alice's bedroom? Off the kitchen and under the stairs? What was her boyfriend's name again?" "This is where Jan sat on the couch and said, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!"

At any rate, we agreed to disagree on the den definition and went downstairs to look at our basement, which we use as a playroom, perhaps the closest thing in our house to a den (if you use my definition). It's a finished basement and works splendidly as a playroom for Daniel (and not so splendidly as a guest room for my family when they come visit). But it's not very attractive — shoddy panelling instead of drywall, pull-string lights and only two of them, only a thin layer of insulation. We wondered if we should redo it. Then we wondered if we should put in an extra bathroom downstairs. And if so, where? And how much would a basement remodel improve the resale value? And is resale value more important than our enjoyment of our home? And if we really want to enjoy our home and increase the resale cost, wouldn't it be better to tackle the bathroom or kitchen? Besides, aren't we already putting some money into landscaping this year?

Which led us to pick up the Magnadoodle again and jot down some priorities. (OK, we soon switched to paper and pen.) And we realized that the one room in the house that irritates us the most — both of us — is the bathroom. I hate the color scheme. Terracotta, peach and beige are desert colors, and they smack of the '70s. They just don't belong in a bathroom (not mine, anyway). They're not soothing or relaxing. My dream bathroom would be pale, cool colors, greens and blues, neutral whites, shabby chic colors accented with lots of pretty colored towels and maybe small touches of black. Steve hates the ubiquitous mold on the tile. I have to admit I like our bathroom a tiny bit better since we replaced the ancient, flourescent light fixture with a more modern row of sconces and changed the shower head to a handheld model that mounts over our heads and serves as an overhead shower, too. (Oh my Lord, I am in love with the handheld! And not for reasons you may think, naughty readers.)

Anyhow ... hooray for lists! As a result of our brainstorming, we decided that if anything is going to be remodeled this year, it's going to be the bathroom. We've already gone on Angie's List to get an idea of how much it would cost us and how much of a facelift we can afford. I think it might be doable. The only question is when — and how — we'd survive without a bathroom while the work is done. Especially with a new baby. I guess we'll figure it out.


Anonymous said...

I can recommend a good handyman if you want to remodel your bathroom. Hahaha! Hopefully you'll have a much better experience than I did. :-)


Emilie said...

Ha ha, Julie. I was just thinking about your experience and almost mentioned it here. :)

Ahuva Batya said...

A new bathroom sounds great-- how fun to plan and look forward to. And the description of the Brady Bunch conversation had me laughing.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Nanette Crooker Gardens is the name of the company I hire to do my landscaping. Actually, it's just a husband and wife team. They always do a great job and their prices are very reasonable. Nanette is really good at designing landscaping, too. Here's their number: (612) 616-1398.


Ellen said...

I like the new lights in your bathroom. They will go with any color and theme. You are right, the dark colors make it seem smaller. BTW, I like staying in your basement! Although I don't know if I would consider it a den. I've always thought a den is like a home office not in the main part of the house and smaller than a room.

Anonymous said...

Those lights, alone, make a huge difference! I almost didn't recognize it as your bathroom, and that's with only the lights replaced, not a whole remodeling!