Friday, November 9, 2007

Keeping it fresh

It seems as though my family has been renovating one thing or another for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories as a child are of our farm in Nashville, where every minute that we weren't in school, my dad had us involved in some kind of project, from fence painting to wallpapering, to plumbing and electrical upgrades. Looking back to 1981 when we moved to Grafton, anything that we had taken on in Nashville looked like child's play. I remember going to see the Tom Hank's movie "Money Pit" and thinking, 'this is my life'. But in those days, we could pretty much renovate at our own pace, as it was only us who were affected by the upheaval that emanated from such projects. Once we opened our doors to the public though, especially with guest rooms that tend to run at occupancy levels of 85% all year round, it became a different ball game all together. I remember one renovation back around Christmas 1991. My sister Anne, her husband Paul, and their 3 sons Ben, Brian and Matt were visiting for the holidays. Somehow we got it in our heads that this would be a good time to redecorate the Cathedral Suite. We were literally applying the last strokes of paint to the ceiling as we watched the guests walk into the courtyard. You would think we would learn! As it turned out, Paul and Anne and the boys enjoyed this frantic state so much, (and after much begging on my part), they decided to accept my invitation to leave their home in Westport to join me in launching Ste. Anne's Spa. I will be forever grateful for the tremendous contribution they made, and I can honestly say that the four years we worked together were some of the most exciting and the most fun. Anne's incredible decorating skills, and Paul's hard work are still very visible throughout the spa. Anne and Paul returned to Connecticut, where they have recently launched their own rental property, where we visited them this past weekend on our way back from New York. It is an absolutely stunning lakeside cottage in New Hampshire - check it out! This past week, our newest Facility Manager, (and I/T guru) Jake, and his team, Debbie and Steve took on the task of renewing a 1981 vintage bathroom in the Blue Room (Jake and Debbie hard at it and the ensuing chaos, pictured above). They did a fantastic job - Jake has surprisingly good taste (for a man, ha, ha), but once again, we found ourselves putting the final touches on the job just as the guests were arriving for the weekend. My job was to run into Home Depot every couple of hours to get that one last thing that we forgot about. I think I made a total of 6 trips. I guess what they say about history repeating itself rings true here at Ste. Anne's.
Here's a tip for you: If you, like me, enjoy writing but struggle with grammar, check out this web site. I just stumbled on it and found it to be quite helpful. We're off to attend my nephew's wedding in St. Maarten this weekend. Seems like a long way to go to witness someones nuptials, but hey, what do I know? Catch you on the rebound!

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