April 24th 2007

Who’d Ever Imagine (aka Who’d Have Thunk It?)

Sinn Design Build Renovation Ladue LibraryA few years ago I bought a real fixer upper for my own family.  As my husband lovingly reminded me for the DURATION of the design and build, it was more a tear downer.  Regardless, I loved the house.  It had charm that is difficult to build (and afford)  in today’s terms.  There were alcoves in children’s bedrooms upstairs with sloped ceilings, window seats and built-ins in most rooms.  It was flat out cute.  “Cute” is a chick term, the male term is “way too much work heap of bricks”. 

I literally bought the house on the hood of a car and then called my husband to tell him we were moving.  I was very thoughtful in asking him if he wanted to see it.  He declined, trusting my instincts.  After the deal was done, I walked him through.  We drove up to the house, it had a nice presence and was on a beautiful lot.  So far, so good.  Then we walked inside.  He was strangely quiet.  The house rambled from room to room.  There was a breakfast table in the hall to the Master Bedrooms (yes, rooms) because there was no breakfast room.  The kitchen was the size of a powder room in some of the houses we build and the garage was detached with an open breezeway. 

As we approached two bedrooms on the first floor, he managed to speak.  “Are we really going to live here?” 

“Of course!”  I said indignantly.

“Are we planning on having separate bedrooms?”  He looked a little worried.

“No, silly.  This bedroom is the Library.” 

He looked at the green shag carpet and the green foil wallpaper and the green trim and said, “Really?” 

Now, I have been married to this man for 19 years.  He has seen hundreds of elaborate designs go through our office at Sinn Design•Build and then he builds them.   How could he doubt me now?  But, it is true.  When it is your own home you can’t seem to see through what’s there to see what could be there.  Luckily, I had enough vision for the both of us.  I saw it clearly.  There would be four additions to the house with a fabulous Kitchen, Master Suite, Master Bathroom, another bedroom upstairs (since we were losing one to the new Library) and added a stone turret (in the Master Bedroom) and a new stone front entrance.  I was determined to take this cute house and make it grand!

I would run the designs past my husband on a daily basis.  He always did the same thing………looked at me like I had a third eye.  As I was finishing up the floor plans and exterior elevations, I started on the interior.  The Master Bath was incredible with separate water closets, separate vanity areas, separate dressing rooms, separate linen closets and a  “human carwash” of a shower that could clean an extended family all at the same time, separate jet sprays from every angle (one side for him and one for me) and a seat to soak up the steam.  Did you notice how separate came up a lot?  Most of our bathrooms are designed that way…..STAY ON YOUR OWN SIDE!!!!! 

Now, my husband was perking up a bit.  Then came the Library.  He is a master at trim work and at building difficult designs.  He is always consulted about trim in our design process.  Once I had sketched out something, Mr. Builder Man took over and completely planned out this awesome ceiling detail with an octagon and chandelier, bookcases with trim that we had to buy from out of town to get the look we wanted.  When he finally “saw” it, he was like a horse for the barn.  The entire gut renovation and four additions took only five months to complete.  The guy down the street did a similar scope of work renovation and his took 18 months and litigation with the builder.  When he asked how we were doing this so quickly, I explained that I was sleeping with the Builder.  But, I recommended not doing that since he wasn’t married to his.

I am sitting in that Library at this moment writing.  I work in this room every day and love it as much now as I did when it was first completed.  One night I ran across a picture of the room before, green shag carpet and all.  We even had a TeleTubby bed in there for the little coward that would come down in the middle of the night from upstairs.  I showed it to my husband.  He studied it for a moment and said, “Who would have ever thunk?” 

“Me. It’s my job, remember?”