My office in Hope was a 6 foot deep space at the end of a narrow cat walk. If I had gained 5 pounds I would no longer have been able to squeeze into the space between the back of my desk chair and the front of my desk. It never seemed like a good time to commit to construction but this summer, in between book projects, it seemed like it was now or never.My friend Patty Maertons asked her husband Edgar for a recommendation as he is the local dry wall expert. He suggested Chris Smigel, saying everyone has wonderful things to say about him. Now I know why! Not only did he go above and beyond my expectations, he and his team cleaned up so thoroughly every Friday that when we arrived for the weekend it was almost as though no one had been there. And how exciting it was each week to see the latest transformations. (It was Chris who recommended the delightful architect Art Demarest.) Another friend, Margaret Kurzman, who lives in nearby Blairstown and also New York City, and has had vast professional experience in renovations, offered excellent advice and moral support. No matter how wonderful the contractor, having your home "invaded" has to be one of life's most unsettling experiences. There are always new decisions that have to be made along the way and plans that don't work out quite as expected but the only real drama was being awakened one night by not one but two bats that had made their way into the house and into the bedroom! Was I hysterical? Of course--I'm still somewhat of a city girl when it comes to things like that but I've been working on myself to think of them as my friends as they are known to eat mosquitoes and hopefully their taste will turn to stink bugs as well! I may have lost most of the summer being so involved in the renovation but it was worth it. The new office is truly paradise. Here are a few before and after photos. Extending the office 20 feet over the porch turned out to require hand drilling into the boulders to create secure footings. The area was too small to bring in heavy machinery so this took longer than a day and much effort. We hadn't planned for a lofted ceiling but when I saw the framing I fell in love with the feeling of airy spaciousness. Chris said he knew when I saw it I'd feel that way and he agreed. He made it happen. The completed office. Found the perfect fan out of 100's on line.
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