Monday, November 21, 2011

Mimi Moves

I am the oldest of 12 grandchildren. There is a very special bond between the oldest grandchild and the grandparents, and my "Mimi" and I have a rare connection.  She is 83 years old, is the funniest person I know and has always been there for me. She has never raised her voice, took me to Baskin Robbins at least once a week for my entire childhood, walked hundreds of miles with me "shelling" at Bald Head, and about a year ago, broke her hip.
We became very afraid she would not be able to safely continue to  live in the house she built over 50 years ago. This house is a brick Georgian where she and my Granddaddy raised 5 kids, 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren and hosted countless Christmases for over 40 people (each year)...  
(Me and My Mimi the last Christmas in her old house)

She asked me to renovate her new home and turn it into a place in which she could start this next chapter of her life. Needless to say, with tons of opinions and ideas coming at me from every direction, I was nervous to take this on. Not to mention the fact that it has been over 50 years since Mimi has built a house and her favorite colors are mint and peach. Need I say more? 
The home was dated, carpeted, wallpapered and just didn't feel like her. It would be hard to image Christmases here, or sleep overs without some changes. Before...

 The galley kitchen was dated with wallpaper and a floral border, laminate white (and stained) tops, linoleum "brick" floors, florescent lighting and outdated appliances.
The breakfast room, while equipped with floral border, was closed off from the kitchen and crowded. To make this feel like home, we were going to have to make some changes.
Moving day was bittersweet. She was nervous and sad and we kept her occupied her somewhere else, so we could knock it out and surprise her with her new home. My mom, her sisters and I began transporting her fragile heirlooms, breakables, portraits and most importantly... memories.Last Friday, when we hung the last picture, we called her to come over. The kids waited in the driveway holding up their "Welcome Home Mimi" signs and we took pictures of her walking in. I can only equate it to a ticker tape parade. It was one of those moments that when you are in the middle of it, you know it will stick with you forever. I was so thankful to be right there in that very moment to reveal my most important project to date.

Krista DeChamps from Prestige Kitchen & Bath designed an amazing new kitchen that incorporated the breakfast room. David DeChamps of Red Star Construction did the renovation and both did an amazing job. See below...
 We tried to duplicate her breakfast room. We added the built-ins for additional storage and opened up the space. 
 She loved this tile and it is various shades of MINT. The shape is contemporary, but on the diagonal, they are more traditional. 
 All new cabinets, tops, backsplash, hardwoods, appliances, lighting. 
Thank you Krista and David! You did and amazing job...

She wanted a cozy space so We picked her favorite colors and went from there.

The portrait of my grandfather is the focal point. 
 We moved her drapes, accessorized with her things and got her an Oriental to lighten up the room.
 I love her portrait. She was so beautiful (and still is).

 Her dining furniture fit beautifully in this large dining room. Previously, it was carpeted and the walls were dark green. We added the coffered ceiling and brought her chandelier over from the other house. A portrait of her when she got engaged hangs over the sideboard. 
 Her bedroom is awaiting aqua and ivory wool carpets, but her bedding, furniture  and drapes from her other house fit perfectly in the new space.
And a spot for me to sleep over... 
She was speechless. Literally. She walked through the house with her hot pink leopard cane with her mouth wide open. There were no stairs to fall on, no thresholds to trip on, levered door handles for arthritic hands, easy to operate faucets, handicap railings in the very comfy soaking tub and mint and peach galore. 
She called me that night to thank me and to tell me how much it meant that we did that for her. I told her that she has been doing that for me every day for the last 36 years and I'm glad I could finally do something to show her just how much I love her. In that very gesture, she got a small taste of just how much we all love her. My hope is that this next chapter of her life lasts a very long time, with all of us by her side.
I love you Mimi!

Bye bye birdie,


My Interior Life said...

Oh, Hooper, that was so sweet it made me cry. What a wonderful thing you did for your Mimi! Your love for her is a beautiful thing and is reflected in the beautiful home you made for her. Perfect beginning to the Thanksgiving holiday week. Thank you for sharing.

H.G. The Countess said...

Really lovely. I'm sure that rather than miss her old house, she'll be loving her new one.

bluehydrangea said...

Go Mimi!! And Hooper!! Loving the new pad!! Krista and David did a great job!

Lindsey Suggs said...

You did such a beautiful job!! Such a sweet post!

Faison said...

Oh this is so very sweet and special!! What a wonderful gift to be able to give your grandmother!

J. Lauren said...

Hooper, this was the sweetest blog post I think I've ever read. I seriously started to write almost verbatim what "Interior Life" said. You did the most amazing Job! I'm so impressed with your talent & heart!

PS: I can't wait to share these photo's with Mimi's sister over Thanksgiving! :)

Jaye said...

Priceless! You are blessed.

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