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Story #26

Turn to page 24 of today’s Inside Out home and garden section of the Times-Picayune, and you’ll see a devilishly handsome fellow in an orange tee-shirt. I look so much better in this picture than in the last one they published, but both were taken by the same photographer, Kathy Anderson.

I don’t have a digital version of the picture, but to make up for it I’ve inserted a picture of the new marble counter which was installed one week ago today.

As for the story by Stephanie Bruno, it’s the 26th installment in a series that I hope will not run to 30. Here it is:

Saturday, November 17, 2007
By Stephanie Bruno
Contributing writer

NOTE: Bart Everson is on a mission to complete the renovation of his formerly flooded basement by the end of the year. At the rate he’s going, he just might make it.

Bart Everson turned the key in the lock and swung open the door to his basement utility room, eager to display the results of many hours of work painting the ceiling, walls, trim and exposed sill. From the looks of things, he likes the color green.

“There are four shades of green,” Everson noted. “The ceiling is a light shade, maybe too light. It almost looks like I painted it white but it looks green because of the reflection.” The thought that someone might mistake the ceiling color clearly troubled Everson, who has denounced white as an anathema.

No one could make the same mistake about the walls. “Day-Glo Green” might best describe their electric shade. Toning things down a bit are the dark forest hue of the trim and another, more peaceful shade painted in a band at the bottom of the walls, where the sill is exposed.

“I have taken stock and I realize that all of the colors of the spectrum will be represented once I am finished painting the downstairs. There’s already yellow, blue, red and purple upstairs. Downstairs there will be green, blue and orange.” Everson was quite pleased with the chromatic eclecticism, even if violet and indigo are not part of the mix.

Except for a concrete utility sink, the room was empty. No washer and dryer, so Everson’s trips to the Laundromat are continuing a while longer.

“As it happens, our dishwasher seems to be malfunctioning, and so the thought is that we will buy the washer and dryer and new dishwasher at the same time,” Everson said. “It should happen soon.”

The guided tour led into the downstairs bath, where the recently tiled shower is. Work on the patchwork pattern was completed about a month ago, but showerheads weren’t installed until the past week, after Everson gathered the collection of valves and faucets listed by his plumber as must-haves.

Everson had hesitated to celebrate completion of the tiling last month, given the fact that several aspects of the renovation have had to be done more than once. And, as it turns out, his caution was justified.

“After the plumber installed the shower heads and faucets, we turned on the shower, only to discover that the water did not drain out of the bottom. Instead it pools on one side,” he said. “As it turns out, shower floors are supposed to slope toward the middle where the drain is, but ours doesn’t. In fact, the floor is unlevel and at least part of it doesn’t drain. It’s fairly obvious once you look at it.”

Repairs will require ripping out the newly installed floor, but Everson’s tile man has already said he will take care of it. When it’s complete, Everson and Paxson will have a custom shower with three showerheads: one overhead, one set at a height that’s right for Everson’s 6-foot-4 frame, and a third that suits Paxson, who stands less than 5 feet tall.

Everson next led the way into the room downstairs where he and Paxson did most of their relaxing before the storm. Its main features are a fireplace sheathed with tiles in an orange and black zigzag pattern and the recently reconfigured stairwell leading to their living quarters upstairs.

“The plan is to paint this room orange, although Christy has said she would like to paint one of the walls gold,” he said — metallic gold. “She said it would make quite an impression when you see it from the stair.” It was clear that Everson has his doubts about the idea.

The room was ringed with original wood windows and new trim — all now raw wood that Everson plans to stain.

“I was surprised at how long it took to paint the woodwork in the utility room,” he said. “I hope someone has some ideas about how to make staining go faster.”

Everson continued to the last room, a space the couple called the craft room before the storm but are now putting to a decidedly different use.

“Now it’s the bar,” Everson said, beaming as he showed off the cabinets that contractor Mike Kaplan had installed in the past month. Kaplan had also installed a small sink, and Everson indicated where the refrigerator would go. He found the marble countertop especially pleasing.

Marble Countertop

“I got a line on the marble from someone Mike knows. He had a supply of it and had a small piece left, so I was able to get it, installed and with a backsplash, for $700,” he said. Blue walls will complement the sable-colored marble.

Everson says that the Thanksgiving holiday will afford him time to keep the work on track to meet his year-end self-imposed deadline and to celebrate.

And his culinary inclinations match his renovation tastes.

“I started researching recipes and found one for mandarin orange turkey legs. And since citrus are in season now, I thought I would make satsuma turkey legs. But friends called who invited us to Thanksgiving dinner and all of them are vegetarians. So satsuma turkey legs are now out.”

. . . . . . .

Stephanie Bruno can be reached at

Published inNews & MediaOur HousePix


  1. Andrea Andrea

    Can’t wait to see it all!

  2. Lee Lee

    I’m normally not a big fan of marble, but I like that!

  3. J.B. J.B.

    The bar looks swank!

    I say go for the gold. Gold & wood grain are two things you can never have enough of in any environment.

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