Roger Hazard and Chris Stout-Hazard
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Grey House: Renovating a 160-year old Victorian.

Bad Days and Forward Motion

By Chris Stout-Hazard

I didn't wake up on the wrong side of the bed, did I? Did a black cat cross my path? Did I walk under a ladder? No matter. Something happened, and the day got off to a rough start. Roger: grumpy. Me: grumpy. We even cut short a morning arm workout, which almost never happens. So now even my arms are grumpy.

Roger and I stayed grumpy for a bit, and bickered in our own special way. And then we got over ourselves and dealt with it the way we always do: We talked through it. Turns out we were both feeling a little stressed, a little vulnerable, and a little misunderstood. We have a lot on our plates - juggling design clients, starting up our company, traveling all over for business, and renovating a house. Ah, yes. That. Renovating a house.

You'd think it would be easy - or at least easier - for us. Roger and I shepherd clients through home renovations all the time. Roger has restyled and renovated literally hundreds of houses. Many of them in under a week. While being filmed for a TV show. And while living out of a hotel room.

We have ample samples. Benjamin Moore's professional paint chip set (it comes in its own suitcase). Dozens of catalogs. Hundreds of fabrics. Custom Cupboards' entire library of kitchen cabinet designs. Thousands of images, web links, and how-tos for designs and projects. We're up to our ears in inspiration.

Color palette.

And we've had time. We first set foot in this house over a year ago. Long before we moved here. Long before we even considered buying it. We've worked through each room. Plotted the colors and furniture layouts, changes to walls and ceilings and floors, window treatments and lighting, and where I'd set the tripod to capture that beautiful "after" photo.

So we got this, right?


It turns out that two designers, when fully aware of the thousands of options available to them, can't always make a decision. Or, rather, we're too good at making decisions. We can't stop making decisions. We come up with great ideas, color palettes, furniture layouts, kitchen designs. And then we come up with more great ideas, color palettes, furniture layouts, kitchen designs. Rinse. Repeat. If you compared our initial design scheme with where we are now, I don't think they'd even look related.

But it isn't all spinning wheels; there is real forward motion. Our picture for the home continues to come into focus. It's become more practical, anchored by our experiences of actually living in the house. Where will we put our snow-covered boots? Can't we come up with a better location for the coffee maker than RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF EVERYTHING? How can we really expect to use the "formal" front doors on a daily basis if Roger's shoulders are too broad to fit through them? Etcetera.

So today's bad start led to an explosion of creativity. A whole new plan for our kitchen that will be easier, more practical, and more stylish. A revised master bedroom color scheme. New furniture layouts for the living room, and a tweaked dining room setup.

We're moving forward, with the hope that tomorrow brings no black cats crossing our path, no unlucky ladders, and only minimal grumpiness.

Until tomorrow,

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Chris Stout-Hazard
Chris Stout-Hazard · Founder · Roger + Chris · Sharon Springs, NY
Chris Stout-Hazard leads product design and development for Roger + Chris and co-stars with Roger in Roger That. MORE ABOUT Chris Stout-Hazard

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