Home Renovation Blues

By: Steve Manes , Contributing Writer
In: Old House Musings

Three years ago I was struggling to get traction to begin a large renovation project in my house: the master bedroom and upstairs hall.  It was my last major project in the place so naturally I had been looking forward to it for seven years.  But I couldn’t get the energy together to even make a lumber order.

I knew why because it’s not the first time I’ve been through it.  It’s called Home Stretch Complacency. If an affliction like Restless Leg Syndrome can have an acronym, then so should HSC!  The symptom of HSC is that after spending months or even years on a time-consuming renovation project, you crash on the last lap. That final room doesn’t get done, the baseboard trim doesn’t go up, the primer doesn’t get painted. You sink into lethargy and self-loathing and just live with it.

Some HSC victims crash early; some only a few feet from the finish line. Perhaps it’s a mutation of the (DI)Y-chromosome or perhaps it’s because having slacked off from the construction you’ve begun to appreciate some semblance of a normal life again, despite the absence of door knobs.  We won’t know until more research is done.  Maybe we need a telethon.

After ten months of grueling work, I completed that master bedroom renovation two years ago. I decided to take a month off before working on the final touch: two pairs of stained glass panels, one for the built-in bureau and one for a redundant doorway I’d converted into a window.  I’ve done minor projects around the place since then.  But not the stained glass.

Don’t get me wrong. I like building stained glass.  It’s fun, relaxing and even therapeutic in a strange way.  But for some reason, I couldn’t drag myself down to the shop to get started on it.

One thing that’s always worked to break me out of a construction doldrum is to buy myself a sexy new tool to play with.  So I did.  I bought a glass bandsaw.  That was 18 months ago.  The thing is out of warranty now and I haven’t turned it on even once.

Okay, so maybe a glass bandsaw wasn’t the right incentive.  After all, the first step was to design those stained glass pieces. Since I can’t seem to drag myself away from the computer, maybe what I needed was some stained glass design software.  That way I could still sit at the computer and get started on this project.  That would make me eager to see them completed, right?

Window panel

Window panel

So I bought design software from Dragonfly, Glass Eye 2000, and that did the trick!

The software is so cool that I spent a week designing those panels. But when I finalized the designs, I just kept going, creating designs for stuff I had no intention of ever building. The only thing I’ve done with them is post to them to my blog, Brooklyn Row House, for comments. I still haven’t constructed any of them.

If that’s not mortifying enough, the president of Dragonfly saw one of those online designs and asked if I would mind submitting it for an upcoming Design of the Month. I haven’t had the nerve to tell him that I never actually built it.

Maybe that’s the kick in the pants I need.

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