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Gin Schaffer is a former higher education administrator and works part-time at MWHC's Regional Cancer Center as the Coordinator of Integrative Medicine. She lives in downtown Fredericksburg and enjoys walking and biking with her husband and 2 kids (especially if coffee is involved).

Pink Ribbon Journey

Before you read this blog post, please take a moment to read a previous post of mine, When It Rains...well, you know. I ask you to do this so that you have some background on what happened when we moved into our new home last summer.  Life and its trials and tribulations made it really hard for us to get moving on desired renovation projects.  But, time can help to heal wounds and you just have to keep moving forward.

2016 brought us new hope and renewed spirit, so we decided to start our bathroom renovation.  I thought I'd share with you how we prepared for the renovation and what we have learned thus far in the process.  I asked my own "Tim The Tool-Man Taylor" guest co-writer, my husband, Steve to join me.

A quick little side story:  We have owned historic homes before, but our current home has proven to have its own unique, dare we say stubborn personality.  Every time Steve has tried to make updates to the home, he's discovered oddities like upside down porch railings, bizarre wiring and switches, and unlevel areas of oceanic proportions.  These weird instances made us wonder if we had a ghost living with us.  We thought maybe he or she didn't like us or what we were doing to the house.  

Interestingly enough, right before Christmas, we got a card from the widow of the man who grew up in our house, circa 1950s.  She was writing to inform us that we were living in the home of the famous Carroll Edward Braden, Sr., a banker who initiated the development of the Mastercard.  Well, that explained it!  Mr. Braden must not agree with how we are spending our money ;-)

OK - back to the present.  Since it was clear that we weren't in a position to begin a renovation last fall, we spent time researching color palettes, bathroom fixtures, etc.  Additionally, Steve started to come up with a pros and cons list of what he could accomplish if he were to do the renovations himself, including vetting contractors for small jobs to get a sense of who we would use in the future.  

We focused on resources like This Old House, HGTV, and Pinterest for ideas; we also asked a few people for suggestions.  There is a point that you have to recognize when you are over-saturated with information.  So, take a step back when you get overwhelmed and when you return to the enormous amounts of links, pictures, and notes you've collected, be brutal with your editing eye (and, think about the longevity of the style you are selecting).

Right now, you might be asking, so, is Steve doing the bathroom renovation or did you hire someone? Steve decided to do the renovation (with a little bit of help from me).  Here are the key things to consider:

1)  Do you have the tools necessary for the job?  Which tools will you have to rent?  What is your plan for debris removal?  The amount of dust is shocking - our Shop-Vac hates us.

2)  Do you have the time to do this renovation?  Steve works a full-time job and then the renovation is like a part-time job at night and on weekends.  Understanding that your evenings will look different than they did before the renovation started, prepare dinners ahead of time, get homework done so you can take the kids out of the house for an activity - if they don't already have extra-curriculars scheduled.  If they have weekly after-school activities, be prepared to make scheduling compromises to increase the time the main renovator has to work on the job.

3)  You become the contractor of the job.  What is your knowledge base in plumbing, electricity, painting, tiling, drywall and masonry?  Steve accounted for calling in an electrician to handle the unique wiring and maximized his time by having him do other tasks in the house./

4)  Is your family able to handle this renovation?  Meaning, it will take longer to do the renovation yourself and in our case, we are down to 1 bathroom.  Luckily for us, Jack just went through a lesson about old passenger ships and chamber pots at school!

5)  Be savvy in your reuse, reduce, and recycling.  We can't recommend this highly enough - any household item you have, please consider donating to Habitat for Humanity Restore (and shop there too!)  Also, Thumbtack is a helpful resource for getting smaller projects accomplished (e.g. debris removal).

Many of us have heard that there is never a good time to start a family (e.g., you'll never have enough money).  Well, in many ways, starting a home renovation project is a lot like making room for another living, growing thing.  It can take over and rule your house before you know it!  We waited until after the holidays to start and right when we began, the blizzard hit - proof that there is never a good time, you just have to go for it!

IMG_20150208_092153.jpgBathroom Upon Move-In     IMG_20160224_194833.jpgThe Soaking Tub is In

We look forward to showing you the finished project...stay tuned!


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Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area Splash EventMassadYMCA

For the past seven years, Smart Beginnings has thrown the Splash Pool Party fundraiser. This summer, the event will be held on June 24, 2018 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park at the Massad Family YMCA. Tickets range in price from $12 for a single ticket, $20 for couples and $35 for a family/group of four and each ticket also covers a hot dog, bag of chips and a drink.