Pink House Chronicles – Part 4

The most wonderful thing happened since my last Pink House Chronicles: the birth of my grandson, Austin Alexander Domke (8 lbs., because I know you want to know.) Credit goes to his parents, Joshua and Kat Domke, for bringing  The Most Handsome Little Boy into the world, and granting me the honor of being Noni Doni.

As if by magic, the joy I felt at meeting my grandson for the first time, and seeing the look of love and wonder on my son’s face as he held his newborn son, nearly wiped out my last 12 months’ worth of emotional pain and loss. Noni Doni looks on as son Joshua Domke holds Austin, less than 1 hour old. (Yes, his little head filled out the hat, but things are back to normal now.)

Meanwhile, back at the Pink House, Best Choice Home Improvement contractors Ron Goniwicha and Dave Christensen never stopped working. Well, sometimes they’d stop to eat, or go home to sleep, but that’s about it.

They were in a rush to interrupt interior work so they could prepare the exterior for James E. Croxton Lath & Plaster. (You can call him Jim.) Jim  arrived Monday and began wrapping the house in wire and black paper, which already looked like an improvement.

But first, Ron and Dave had to make sure all the new windows and doors were in place, and all funky stuff attached to the house removed. (Like a pink, wooden, giant motorized sliding wall-thingy on the side of the house. You can see it in the distance of this photo below of Dave removing some pink paneling from an outdoor patio area.)

All this talk of pink turns my thoughts to Austin, and his pink little fingers and pink little toes and sweet little pink chubby cheeks.

Where was I? Oh yes, the Pink House. Actually, one of the most dramatic recent changes came when Ron and Dave ripped out the trio of weepy windows from the front of the house. This left a big square gaping opening, just waiting for the double doors. (A bargain from Lowe’s returns: Regularly $1,300; I bought it for $300. It has a few dings, but nothing that can’t be fixed with putty and paint.) I love it. A front door at the front of the house. What a concept.

Now that was exciting. Speaking of exciting, you’re going to want to see Austin in his Santa hat.

Oh, what the heck, let’s just stop and see all the photos so I can get back on track with the Pink House.

You can see why even with the thrill and anticipation of the Pink House project, I was a little distracted. But even with the birth of The Most Beautiful Baby Boy in The World, the Pink House project continued. You can see some of the highlights here.

What’s amazing is Ron and Dave have maintained their good humor and fun personalities. They seem happy with the way things are going. At least that’s what they tell me when I bring Peet’s coffee and cookies.

Well, I know Dave isn’t smiling here, but he assured me that laying travertine tile in the guest bathroom was a total blast. Gone is the canary-yellow Marmoleum. We also ditched the old vanity, the toilet and even the bathroom door. All were given to a family who needed those items for a garage remodel. Recycling is my friend. Less to waste. Less to pay to haul to the dump.

Even as Austin slept and grew and ate and blew through diapers and tiny outfits like nobody’s business, the entire Pink House team worked and worked and worked. Best Choice Home Improvements, Royal Plumbing, E&S Electric, Trilogy Architecture, Shelly Shively Designs, Jack Wolf Cabinets,  Jim Croxton Lath & Plaster, and the newest addition to the team, Karen McGrath Landscape Design. They all toiled and labored: (I’ll bet you thought I’d mention labor and delivery here, didn’t you? Give me a little credit.)

I did have one minor setback. I’d promised – OK bragged – to Ron and Dave that I would texture and paint all the walls in the house to achieve that “imperfect smooth” style I love. I’d done it 13 years ago in a previous house. But I had help then. A husband, for one thing, who knew what he was doing. But I think I forgot that part. Anyway, twin Shelly and I started texturing my bedroom first. If you’ve not done this, it involves a big box of white sticky mud product, applied to the walls with a trowel. It’s not fun in the least.

It took the two of us an entire weekend to apply texturing mud to four walls.  The result was more “imperfect” than smooth. My plan – to mud and paint the whole house myself – that’s not going to happen. One bedroom nearly killed us. Shelly tweaked her neck, and I’m wearing my carpel tunnel wrist brace again. But the room looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. (So I’m on the hunt for a reasonably priced dry-wall and texture person. Or two. )

Ron and Dave took it from there. They sanded the walls, painted, applied window trim, baseboards and installed a ceiling fan.

(If you look closely, you can see exposed purple in the unfinished hallway. I think I like the new color better.)

Meanwhile, Karen McGrath, garden designer, has also spent a lot of time at the Pink House lately. She measured (in the rain), took inventory of the existing plants and talked a lot with Ron and Dave. They became fast friends, of course.

Poor Karen has her work cut out for her, what with a narrow lot that’s mainly covered in concrete. But not only does she have a plan, she’ll share it in a series of articles, The Pink House Chronicles: The Garden.

Of course, I’ll keep chronicling the Pink House progress, and occasionally, if you insist, I’ll include a photo of Austin. Oh wait, here’s one now.

Must go. Need a baby fix. See you next time.

Click here to read Pink House Chronicles – Part 1

Click here to read Pink House Chronicles – Part 2

Click here to read Pink House Chronicles – Part 3

Click here for Pink House Chronicles partners

Special thanks to Alan Phillips for the Pink House photos and Kat Domke for the baby pictures.

Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Ginny says:

    Love the new grand-baby and the photos. Think he has become part of the Pink House Chronicles! Maybe one day he can play with my first g.grand-baby, who is a boy, too!

    Have a Blessed Christmas, and only great things in the New Year to you and all your family!

  2. He is positively gorgeous – enjoy this very special Christmas. And the house looks great, too.

  3. Avatar JeffG says:

    Congratulations Doni, Josh, and Kat!

    (the house looks good too)

  4. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Doni, your pink house is going to be beautiful and congrats on your new grandson, Austin. He's so cute, I've got a new great grand daughter in Texas and have made her my latest desktop background.

    You've got some excellent talent rebuilding that house. Enjoy, I know you can't wait to move in.

  5. Avatar Terry says:

    Congratulations, Noni Doni!

    You do have the most Beautiful Baby Boy in the world. He is a complete charmer, even sound asleep…I have the biggest smile on my face from looking at such a total cutie….Great photos of him and the family!

    Tell Kat she does good work! 🙂 and my warmest congratulations to Josh, too, of course.

    It will be So much fun to have little Austin Alexander visiting Noni in her renovated Pink House – and before we know it, he'll be crawling around, heading right for his Noni! Enjoy!

  6. Avatar Terry says:

    and a p.s.

    I love the way you worked the story of little Austin into the Pink House Chronicles…You are such a Gifted journalist. I love your story telling!!

    Well Done! and Thoroughly Enjoyable. Thank you!

  7. Avatar Eleanor T says:

    Wonderful, beautiful baby, Noni Doni! What a Christmas joy!

    New beginnings all around, in a positive way. You make the best lemonade, no matter how sour the lemons – and those were some sour lemons!

    Thanks for sharing your world.

    And Merry Christmas!

    Eleanor T

  8. Avatar Grammalyn says:

    Love Austin. Love the changes on the house. Love you.

  9. Avatar Pauline Earls says:

    Congratulations Noni Doni. Austin is such a cutie pie. I love how the house is coming along. It will be completed before you know it.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    ~ Pauline E.

  10. Avatar Penny says:

    Congratulations on all good thing happening in your life! Love how the pink house is coming along …. you have a terrific team on your side! … and a growing, loving family to enjoy the new house…

    Penny S

  11. Avatar Carmen says:

    Oh my God, Doni, The baby is beautiful!! Contratulations to Josh and Kat. What a wonderful beginning to the end of a painful saga in your life!! God is GOOD!! And the house is facinating to watch as it changes and grows into a completely New Home for you, your children and grandbaby. So proud of your accomplishments and your children. Merry Christmas to all, and God's blessings be with you.

    Love you, Art and Carmen

  12. Avatar Lauren Brooks says:

    Congrats, Doni, Josh and Kat! Austin is adorable. I'm so happy for you! 🙂

  13. Avatar PJ says:

    Enjoy the Boy! The relationship you will develop with him is the purest you will ever have. My guy is now 8 years old and we are closer than ever.


  14. Avatar Alice Hoveman says:

    Noni Doni,

    Austin is adorable! Congratulations Best Wishes for 2011!


  15. Avatar Kathy says:

    It's all good, Doni and baby Austin is beautiful…wishing you a wonderful and amazing 2011.



  16. Hi, my name is Thomas Ahearn. I used to live in Redding's ‘Pink House’ with my former wife and daughter and I am the one who painted it pink. The Pink House began as a pink room. After buying the home in 2005, my daughter, Devon, picked hot pink for the color of her room (now the ‘guest room’). After her decision, white walls seemed boring so I painted the rest of the interior accordingly: gold for the family room, yellow and blue for the bathrooms, purple for the master/mistress bedroom, green for the office, and orange for the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Once the interior was done, I felt the exterior should reflect the same colorful spirit. Dirt brown and old yellow on the outside of the house were covered by paints called ‘Classic Cherry’ and ‘Cool Lava’ (the latter being the infamous pink color of the home). While they may not have approved of the changes, our neighbors were always nice and helpful. Enjoy your new home and the spirit of ‘Casa de Color’ (House of Color).