Dear friends, family, and specially Bill who’s working on an exciting project in Spain at this time (we miss you Billy!),

Here’s a report about how things are going regarding our Maple Tree farmhouse remodeling. Long story short: we’re right on schedule and super happy with how things are coming out. We should be moving there on March 1st, 2015.

But let’s rewind the cassette a little bit (I used to be an expert at rewinding cassettes with a pen/pencil, a hundred years ago). OK, the remodeling of the house consists on adding a room that will be a provisional studio for me (and a guest room), until we build a larger studio/guest house outdoors. Besides adding that room, which is being done by professionals, I decided to take on the colossal task of painting the kitchen cabinets all by myself. But more about that later.

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What you see in these pictures is a view of the provisional studio from the outside, on the second floor. The windows are not installed yet, but they are placed strategically to enjoy the beautiful views that surround the house. Lucky my eyes! They’re going to spend lots of time enjoying those views.

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Here’s another view from far away. See all those foot marks on the snow? They are Natalie’s, Diego’s and mine.  Behind that big bed of snow there is a big bed of grass taking a long nap until the end of Winter. Isn’t that wonderful? How plants can go to sleep for months and then wake up as if nothing happened? Bears do the same thing, with the only difference that they wake up very hungry. Run for your life!!

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Below you see the kids’ playground, which they use every time we come here, regardless of the cold. But let’s go inside since it’s getting too cold out here.

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So, when you go upstairs to the second floor, there is a door on the right side of the staircase that takes you to the new room/studio. Before that room was built, there was nothing in there, nada, only air. So if you tried to go outside from there you would’ve experienced a free fall into the bushes. But now you can just open a door and find yourself inside a room. Very nice.

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Below is a closeup of the door that takes you to the new room. See the little sign on the edge of the door that reads HUGHTBD ?  Well, that’s a secret code… not really. The first 4 letters stand for Hugh, the name of our contractor, but the other 3 letters I don’t know what they mean. I’ve been trying to decode them with no success so far.  But I imagine that the man who built the doors placed the sign there to keep track of what door was Hugh’s. Hugh’s door is this? Hugh’s! 🙂

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Here we are inside the room. Do you like the decor? Well, no decor yet, but almost. This photo gives you an idea of what this room is all about. Basically a rectangle with some windows. Very easy.

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Another view. The lights haven’t been installed yet. Besides the ceiling lights, we bought a fan/lamp to hang from the center beam. You will see it installed in the future. I can’t wait!

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Another view.

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And another view. Oh! The wood floor is already installed but it’s covered now for protection.

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Below you see the walk-in closet where I will place art supplies plus clothes and other items such as myself, just for personal enjoyment. It is a quiet and relaxing area. Also perfect for playing hide-and-seek with the kids.

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Another photo.

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And another one.

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So heeeere is the kitchen. Let’s stop here for a second. What you see below is a semi-chaotic room that I love so much! You see big pieces of rag covering the floor (some of it) for protection, different materials such as paint, sand paper… AND kitchen cabinets painted in blue-gray color. Yay!

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I spent maaany looong hours re-doing our kitchen cabinets, from point A (sanding, sanding and more sanding), to point B (painting, painting, painting). Before I started working on it, I gave myself the task of becoming an expert at painting kitchen cabinets. So I read tons of tutorials from the most professional websites that I could find. The first thing that I learned was that every expert has a different opinion about how this should be done. But they all agree on some things: first, you need to remove all the hardware, then you must spend lots of time sanding, then priming, then  sanding, then painting, then sanding, and then painting again. I did all of that over a period of about 8 weeks or more because I wanted to do it right.

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The most important thing that I learned from this experience:

* Have you seen those TV shows where they transform your kitchen (including painting the cabinets) in 5 minutes or less? Well, more like in a day or 2.  Doing the job right takes a looot more time than that. As everything else, for good results you need time, energy, focus, and care. I put all those ingredients into my kitchen and I’m loving the results, which will be more visible when the place is totally finished. I can’t wait to get there! It’s all a matter of cleaning now.

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None of the things that you see there are in their final places, except the dirty rag on the floor. I’m kidding! I have just been bringing some things in so I don’t have to bring them all at once later.

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That blue-gray color is so beautiful in person! I have to get you the official name of that color when I go back there. It is by Sherwin-Williams. The previous color was beautiful (green) but too dark. This one makes the kitchen look so much brighter.

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OK, this is all I have for today. But I will be back with more in a year or two. I’m kidding! It’s a matter of weeks now before we move into the new house. I’m so excited! I’m loving our new life in Upstate NY. Each of us is happy and looking forward to the future.

Sending my love!


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