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I wish I had a glittering list of awesome television programs and podcasts for you to watch or listen to, but you’re on your own for a while, folks. I haven’t seen my television in five months, ever since my sister and I started a down-to-the-studs kitchen and bathroom renovation back at the manse (it’s named Tudors Down, a lame Dolly Parton joke, WHICH IS THE ONLY THING LAME ABOUT DOLLY PARTON).

I mean: I actually have seen the television, but it’s wrapped in thirty layers of plastic, blocked by an upended sofa and a pile of drywall scraps and two-by-fours the size of Everest. By the time I see it again, there’ll be some new way of broadcasting things, like on computers or iPads, probably.

I guess I could start recording and recommending the multiple, lengthy, combative conversations my sister and I have had regarding which white to paint the new kitchen in late 2084 when it’s finished: Bohemian Lace, Granny’s Lace, or Queen Anne’s Lace (“they’re so different!” “I know, RIGHT?”) and that alone could be a thirteen-episode podcast with a disappointingly unresolved ending (sounds perfect for a new season of Serial!). 

Or perhaps I should start a podcast that’s just the sound of me grunting with indecision as I scroll through Instagram, because let me tell you: once you look at a single touchless faucet, your feed will be full of them for months.

Also: how lazy can I be that I now demand a touchless faucet? Is this the freedom our forefathers longed for on my behalf? Me not touching a spigot with my chicken juice hands? I GUESS SO because a touchless faucet is what I bought.

It’s in a box in the basement. SOMEWHERE IN THE BASEMENT, with the REST of my INHERITANCE that suddenly went from being in the form of money to being in the form of p-traps (whatever that is!) and miles of new electrical wire. “What exactly is so wrong with knob and tube,” I asked. “It sounds charming, like a Wes Anderson movie.”

“I want the bathroom to look like a cross between a 1920s Hot Springs steamroom and the rinsing-off room at an abattoir,” I chirped to no one in particular while thumbing through home magazines at the local Barnes and Noble.

Turns out what I SEE in my HEAD is hard to COMMUNICATE. Perhaps I could set up a time-lapse camera in the corner of the bathroom so that you could follow along with the many different configurations of tile that we’ve had tiled, grouted, removed, tiled, grouted, removed. Rinse, lather, repeat. Or rather: DON’T rinse, lather and repeat, because THERE’S NO SHOWER YET. 

None of this is our contractor’s fault. He is fantastic and almost hilariously patient and diplomatic like you would not believe (he manages to tell us each what we want to hear—but never in front of the other one—and somehow we both end up with the thing we want; he’s magic that way).

not my actual house, thank god

We didn’t hire a designer, so there’s been a lot of indecision—and with each flareup of indecision comes a delay. Surprisingly, our contractor has other things going on and when pressed, he just backs way slowly and admits that he doesn’t have a dog in the hunt when it comes to the angle of the bevel on the new pocket door panels.

Which frankly I find shocking, because trust me: I have about FIFTY opinions about that. All of which I’ll be telling you on yet another new podcast coming soon to your ear corks.

Anyway. I think I’ll love it when it’s all finished sometime during the second Taylor Swift presidential term. In the meantime, knit to whatever you can find. I’m busy looking for cabinet knobs.

Editor’s note: while DG gets his house in order (pun totally intended), knit to textile conservator Margaret O’Neil’s videos, including this one in which she knits an 1840s-inspired pineapple reticule, which is not a bag to put your pineapples in, unless you have very dainty pineapples.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • Way funny, DG! I remember my Mom and her dozen or so white paint chips in the 1960s. Pastels were introduced in the 1970s, thank goodness!

  • DG,
    Thanks for starting my day out with a laugh! I felt your pain…30 years ago while renovating our downstairs over the course of a year or so. We had a TV/VCR, and “The Money Pit” kept us in good humor during what seemed like a never ending reality show of rehab surprises. May you keep yours during the renovation!

    • Ha! The Money Pit! Also kept us sane years ago while rehabbing an old Victorian. Best home renovation movie ever.

  • Me, too!! (Minus the general contractor) bathroom first, kitchen next….and it’s called decision fatigue!
    Enjoy the process!!

  • Ah yes, the struggle is real. I FINALLY painted my kitchen cabinets this winter after about five years of haggling with myself over the color. I am happy with what I chose much to my surprise! (All in one paint’s Colosseum). I will hold a good thought for your sanity as this insanity continues!

    • Oh what colour did you pick?

  • So Many Whites….
    There’s always the dart board method.

  • A few years ago we installed a touchless faucet. It was a constant source of humor when guests tried to turn it on manually and then reported to me that it didn’t work.
    Have fun!

  • Pictures. We want pictures when it is finished.

  • Touchless faucets are great unless you have cats. Mine is taped over after I heard water running in the middle of the night.

    • Your cats are smarter than Jan’s houseguests! (I would struggle too, I’m sure, I’m always the one giving up on drying my hands in the airport.)

    • LOL! I wonder how long it would take our cats to figure that out (one of our cats prefers drinking from a running faucet)

    • This is the case at my kids’ house too. But now I want one.

    • In addition to the Touchless Faucet, we have a Catless House and a Moneyless Bank Account

    • Oooooh…. so GOOD to know.
      My cat actually demands faucet water… and would love such a miracle in her feline world.

  • “…he’s magic that way.”

    Oh thank you!! I needed this laughter this morning.

    Thank you thank you.

  • My husband and I just went through the piles of white paint chips last week. It is remarkable how many words you can use to describe white. We ended up with Ice Cube (cooler) for one and Shell White (warmer) for the other!

    • We used Ice Cube and I love it!!

  • I feel your pain because I’ve lived this life. Now I curse myself for certain mistakes, one of which was falling prey to the scourge of decorating in grey and black and white. I COULD HAVE HAD A PINK TILED BATHROOM! Follow your bliss, DG.

  • Oh, renovation! May the Force be with you, DG!

  • I literally laughed out loud! Thank you for putting a smile on my face this morning. Such an enjoyable read!

  • Ahhh, my thoughts are with you. I once had a c. 1940s house moved and totally rehabbed on a very tight budget; while living and working about 400 miles away. What could go wrong? Decision fatigue is real.
    I do LOVE that house!
    As much as I feel your pain, I am very happy because my Moss Field Blanket bundle arrived yesterday, and I will dive into that beautiful project very soon. Maybe while sitting in the above-mentioned house!
    Best wishes!

  • DG, maybe I can save you some angst? After we installed beautiful hickory wood cabinets in our kitchen, I was unable to find knobs worthy of them. Other things have changed in the kitchen but the cabinets and drawers remain knobless and totally functional today, 30 years later. We’ve never regretted that particular non-decision!

  • Thank you for the Sunday morning laugh and I wish you all the best with your renovations!

  • You crack me up! I truly needed that this am.

  • Thank you for sharing your renovation project (and humor) with us! We’ve had some minor renovation projects that seemed to go on forever and our kitchen needs to be done sooner than later, but we said that at least 8 years ago….living without a kitchen seems way worse than no tv. So many paint choices, so many knobs, faucets, lights, switches, vents, tiles, grout, woods, stains to choose….Good luck, everyone!

  • Great story, so sorry to hear of your troubles. I just bought a new house, where the builder made the choices. I sit in my forever home, surrounded by medium grey walls. Which I HATE. I suspect I will become a house painter to repaint in retirement, slowly.

  • Did you know there are 90 Pineapple reticule projects (also known as Big D-mn Pineapple) on Ravelry? Or that the pattern was adapted by fan favorite, Franklin Habit? Now here I sit, wishing I had a touchless faucet and a pineapple reticule.

    My daughter likes paint from Clare ( There’s a small “curated” color range. Sometimes fewer choices are your friend. Also, her house is much better decorated than mine.

    Good luck with the remodel. It’ll be terrible and suddenly it will be the best thing you ever did. (My advice, unsought, — you won’t regret more electrical outlets.)

    • Yes to more outlets! Our upstairs was redone, and the bedroom outlets were done to code (x feet apart from the door, or something). The result is there is one outlet behind the bed (should have requested 2, flanking the bed — and that’s the only place where the bed can go in the room)


      *scampers off*

  • This made me twitch. Hubby and I moved back into our home of 30 years on Friday after being in an apartment for 5 months for a renovation of about 70% of our home, including a bathroom and moving the kitchen to a former bedroom. Is it all done, you ask? Why, no, we reply. Not a single room is complete yet…and the 3 that weren’t renovated are ankle deep in dust and boxes. The optimistic plan is to cook on the outdoor grill until our Chambers stove gets returned by the restorer. So today, we’re having, of course, a patented New Orleans downpour predicted to last all day. We’ll be over here in a slightly less dusty corner, looking for the toaster and drinking gin…..

  • Been there and your great sense of humor will get you through it. I’ll vote for Taylor if I am still alive by then. Great decicion on touchless faucet! I always thought homes should have a foot paddle like in a surgery. Cheers!

  • Oh yes. Our 7-9 month estimated rebuild took 17 months. The contractor went to Maine to work on his retirement cottage and left carpenter Ed to finish our house. One hour at a time. Ed now has PTSD and politely told us not to ever call him for odd job maintenance or repairs. The house looks great though and we love our not-white walls. Good luck and have fun!

  • I saw the house that I eventually purchased in Dallas while it was midway through renovation. The white the renovator had on the walls was perfect and in case I decided to not buy it, I HAD to know what that white color was. Of course I asked him. He responded with “Off The Shelve White” from Baer. I started to write it down. He cracked up and motioned like he was taking a paint can off the shelf and said not literally, off the shelf Baer with no additives. It literally was the perfect white for that house in that lighting.

  • Hello DG…. We hadn’t heard from you in a while…. Now we know why! Very very pleased you’re still alive:) Always love your columns…. Good luck with the renos…

  • I love this and it came at just the perfect time! Two days ago, we finished a remodel that started last May. Two smaller bathrooms, a big primary bathroom and an entire kitchen. All were take down to the studs. I hope you’re as happy with your remodel as we are. It’s a long haul

  • Always enjoy DG, he’s so entertaining on his description of the remodel….all I can say is have fun with it, you’ll laugh (?) later at some of the arguments over ‘paint’, faucets and knob choices. Always keep your humor….

  • I personally love a good Reno project. But if that is your abode, I’d say it’s more than a kitchen and bath!!!Stay in good humor. It’s worth it:)

  • I recommend watching “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.” If you can unwrap your TV, that is. If not, the book is available, if still in print.
    I enjoy looking at Ball & Farrow paints. They’re just lovely. If only I could get around to painting.
    Best of luck!

  • I feel your pain. My husband and I have been “updating” our house (new layout for kitchen), removing the last of the knob and tube electrical and plaster walls, replacing carpeting with flooring.
    My knitting is floundering along with the paint choices I made along the way!
    I totally want a touch less faucet!
    Good luck!

  • This gave me the best laughs of the week! Boy, can I relate. You should write a book, DG. Love your columns.

  • LOL with you on all fronts and boy do I have issues with label-less faucets – in our two kitchens our Hot/Cold levers go back and forth, with each set of levers being the opposite of the other – in one the Hot is toward the back and vice-versa with the other. Since all temps start out Cold, it is a learning experience every time we move between the two places. Love the Taylor Swift comment – a sign of the times.

  • Oh no, not the TOUCHLESS faucet! There’s a way cooler option that you touch with any human skin (elbows work when your hands are chicken juicy). But touch it with a dish cloth or the long arm of the goldendoodle and it does not work.

  • you had me at ‘pocket door’–love those!
    will we get some pics of the newly improved areas? the reno sounds like it will be fabulous 🙂

  • Been there done that, got a collection of tile samples and paint chips that I seriously thought about putting together to finish another bathroom May you have better luck doing this post pandemic and supply chain issues than we did. Can’t wait to see the ‘after’ photos.

  • So, so enjoyed this musing! It’s a grand sign that you haven’t lost your sense of humor in all of this. Your contractor is magic, lucky you and so are you. Best of luck as you continue to shape the dream come to life.

  • What a story! I read it aloud to the delight of my partner. You love process! We were completely product oriented. The house was built in 1953 (date scrawled on old bathtub) and we bought it in 1986. The only changes over the decades were minor, many involving the leaking ceiling in the dark galley kitchen. A few months before Covid, we renovated kitchen, dining room, living room and the halls dividing these poky rooms. This involved permits, inspections, a clever, careful carpenter with a one month schedule — which he honoured — as well as subcontracting electricians, plumbers and others who removed walls, installed invisible I-beams, reframed, dry walled and refloored the space. When the beautiful new kitchen ceiling began leaking, our reno expanded to solve second floor issues. We lived in two rooms, and the main floor furniture, appliances and most possessions were stored in another, so we were motivated to make progress! We discovered the futility of setting our hearts on this or that particular sink, etc, as our choice was so often out of stock and we couldn’t consider delays.

    A few years later what I love is the light through the new window and French doors, the ease of movement in the kitchen and our luck in timing before the shutdown. The faucet, the paint, the tile, the new tub? All minor.

  • May I recommend Houzz for all those design questions? It’s a site full of home design ideas, a spot you can post a design question (or 5) to (and trust me, people will share OPINIONS), and you can even find a designer to assist you – either locally or online.

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