Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Those Devilish Details

The phrase "the devil is in the details" is generally attributed to German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a man who understood the importance of fine-tuning the creative process. We writers recognize that details are essential to vivid writing, but they also bring life to our physical environments--our homes, gardens, and public spaces. 

OG and I have finally reached the "detail" point in our remodeling project. The bones of the house are complete: the structure, plumbing, heating, and electrical. The carpenters are finishing the exterior trim details that will turn the house from a big, flat-sided box into a charming cottage. Inside, tile has been laid in the bathrooms and laundry room and doors and trim are stacked in the living room and kitchen while the plasterers finish the walls. The project is barreling ahead at full speed toward the promised finish date of December 15th.

The first few months were easy. We watched and waited while footings were dug and walls went up. The roof color was the only choice we had to make for quite a while. That's all changed. Now it seems we have to make several choices a day, each of which will affect the others and our ultimate enjoyment of the finished product. Wall colors, counter tops, backsplash, and hardware must all coordinate in satisfying ways.

After so many months and so much money already spent, it's tempting to scrimp on the small things toward the end of a big project, but OG, in his wisdom, has  convinced me it's these details that will bring us small flashes of pleasure every day we live in the house. In that spirit, I've chosen these knobs for my kitchen and master bath cabinets. The beautifully detailed grapevines speak to the region and remind me of the vineyard across the valley that I see from my kitchen window.

For the guest bath and laundry room, I chose these rust-colored iron knobs. They're supposed to be some sort of flower petal, but they remind me of the artichokes growing in the fields of the Central Coast. 

Sometimes the volume of choices seems overwhelming, and I worry that I'll regret some decisions. But if I can keep my head and focus on the details, I hope the "whole" will take care of itself. Wish me luck!


  1. This reminds me of when I chose the knobs and drawer pulls for my new kitchen cupboards. Years later, I'm still in love with them.

    1. It's wonderful when the small things give us lasting pleasure.