Saturday, December 30, 2006

Progress Report - Number Umpteen

I fear that I may become boring at times, with my relatively repetitive updates about the seemingly snail-paced progress on renovation of our church's new ministry space at the Herengracht 88... But I sometimes feel that I don't have much else to talk about these days. Our church's relocation has been quite consuming -- not just on the practical level (i.e. number of hours in my week), but also on the physical level (I haven't really gotten to immerse myself in any good ol' fashioned physical labor since summer jobs during my early university days) and on the emotional level... It's hard to explain, but I feel like this project has a metaphysical dimension to it.

At any rate, we had a couple more "work days" at the Kelder this week.

We didn't get quite as many volunteers as I might have anticipated (or at least hoped for) in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day... But the people who did come by to help worked hard (like Avantia, pictured above), and we were able to take some significant steps forward. As you can see from the pictures, the two biggest rooms of are nearing completion. Ninety percent of the surface area in this area has been painted. Our furniture, appliances, and boxes have all been moved in, neatly stacked, and covered. We just have a bit of trimwork to finish up and some general touch-up work -- and then we'll be as done as possible... for the time being (the kitchen, hallway, and the two smaller rooms in the other half of the facility are still under construction by the contractors).

The Lounge area (pictured above) has become a bit of a personal project for me (although, let me be quick to point out there have been numerous other individuals who have also worked extremely hard on this space). In my original estimation of the renovation work required, I anticipated that this room would be a relatively "quick fix" (famous last words) in comparison to the other parts of the facility... However, we found ourselves unexpectedly spending hours and hours in scraping and sanding the ceilings... only to be followed by unexpected hours and hours in preparing the walls for painting... only to be followed by unexpected hours and hours of applying layers and layers of paint (some walls have now received no less than five layers of paint!).

But it's finally getting close to being finished (or at least so I assume).

There's been a lot of discussion about the choice in paint colors (for which I cannot take credit or criticism -- as I let other, more qualified, individuals make the decisions about aesthetics). Some fear that the shades of brown will be too dark and overwhelming -- creating a cave-like effect in a room with no natural lighting... But personally, I've come to really like the brown. It's earthy and strangely warm. It's reminiscent of the famous "brown cafes" celebrated for their gezelligheid in the surrounding Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam. The color seems to flatten out a lot of the imperfections in the walls, and it creates a nice resting place for the light. Especially once we get some furniture in there, and some artwork on the walls (it's intended to be a sort of art gallery, in addition to a lounge), I think it will be a very cozy space.

So that's the progress report from the Herengracht these days. Keep praying for us. I'll keep you informed of our progress (for better or worse)...


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