Sunday, February 28, 2016

Everyone Needs a Steve

Our beloved Steve always had a cup of coffee in his hand when he walked in the door.  

Four years ago when my friend, Mary, introduced me to her jack-of-all-trades and friend Steve, I had no idea what a special friend Steve would become to Dan and me.  Initially, Steve came to install a painting I had that I wanted to use to conceal a new electrical panel that had been moved from a closet to a wall in our kitchen.  He had done something similar for Mary. 
He installed the painting using a piano hinge so that it would swing away if we needed to access the electrical panel.

When the painting is closed, it hides the electrical panel behind it.
From that one task I became to use him more and more for lots of things around the house, and Dan and I became to treasure him as a friend. He became a member of our family.

He would have long discussions with Dan---political, religious, literary, philosophical.  He was truly a Renaissance man and was intellectually curious about so many things.  I remember once Dan made some comment about a certain kind of rabbit being not a rabbit but a hare.  We were at the table having lunch, and Steve immediately wanted to know the difference between the two.  Dan explained and I googled, and we had a long discussion over lunch about the difference between a rabbit and a hare.  Every lunch we shared usually ended with a long discussion of some new topic for Steve or for us.

I came to rely on Steve for any household project I had in mind.  I wanted to renovate our TV room and while we were on vacation in Florida, Steve removed the wallpaper, prepared the walls, painted the trim, picked out a couple of suggested colors for the wall and when we returned  he painted the wall.  I gave Steve full rein in redecorating the room using art work that we had scattered around the walls of the other rooms. 
Steve chose a soft yellow for the walls, added a new bench, moved the giraffe art from our living room.
The result was lovely, and it is one of my favorite rooms now.

When we decided to convert our two-car garage into a guest suite, I told Steve what I had in mind and put him in charge.  We had so much fun together working on that project. 
Steve designed and  built a picket fence of sorts to hide the water heater in the bedroom of the suite.  He gave me these bamboo clothes hangers to match other bamboo pieces I had on hand.

He built shelves on the bedroom side of the suite and chose books, pottery and art from our collection to display.
He chose a cotton painters drop cloth to cover a door between the two sides of the suite. It is beautiful (and cost next to nothing.)
Steve went with me when I was shopping for furniture for the suite, and this is a chair that he and I chose.

As soon as I learned how creative and what a good designer he was, I didn't undertake any project without having him on board.  I've always enjoyed projects around the house, and it was fun having Steve's experience and talent along.  Steve was just a joy to have around.  He was a great conversationalist and he had a great sense of humor. 

Steve particularly enjoyed working in the garden, and when we extended the deck in the little courtyard between our house and the garage, Steve did the landscaping.

Steve was a talented landscaper. 

For the last two years Steve did our decorations for Christmas.

Our front door decoration this past Christmas, handiwork of Steve.

Steve's greenery in the window boxes for Christmas. 

I simply put Steve in charge and he took care of the wreaths, the table decorations, the tree, and even helped wrap the presents.  There was nothing Steve could not do when it came to design, and whatever he did he did to perfection.

Our kitchen corner that Steve designed and built.

Another project involved adding a corner counter in the kitchen where we once had a small table.  This was going to be my station for storing my mixer and for baking.  Steve designed and built the counter and  picked out the counter stools.  He hung some of my pots and pans above the counter.  I use this space constantly now. 

All of our pantry doors hang perfectly now.

Our organized pots and pans pantry.

Just three weeks ago, Steve began his last project for me--organizing our pantries.  Our house was built in the 50s and some of the doors on our pantry shelves had become askew.  He took all the doors off and rehung them so that they are now straight and they close perfectly.  Then he organized our pots and pans pantry. 

There were other project on my list for Steve, but Steve passed away suddenly last week, and this has left a hole in my life and in my heart that no other will be able to fill.  We no longer have our Steve, but he will live forever in the hearts of his many friends. .

                                                 RIP Steve Gilewicz
                                July 30, 1961--February 23, 2016

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