Since I will be starting the official move-in process this weekend, here’s the story of how we got here (it’s kind of a lengthy ordeal, I’m sorry). Honestly, I wish I had taken pictures of the house before I started working on it – but it was in rough enough shape that I didn’t even want to show people. So, use your imagination.
The first time I went into the house, I couldn’t breathe. How was it even possible for a house this small to be this gross? The entire house was done with carpet floors… The bathroom, the kitchen, the laundry area — everything. All of it was dirty and had been used by pets for whatever they wanted (ew). The walls used to be white (I think) but had turned an ugly yellow color with splashes of color from unidentifiable stains. The area around where the stove sat was covered by grease and food particles. Both bedrooms had cracked and peeling drywall underneath the windows from improper installation of a window air conditioning units. And oh, don’t let me forget the hole in the hallway wall from where there used to be a wood stove.. It had a rag shoved inside it and an ugly cross-stitch in a frame over it. Add this to the fact that there was a hole in the ceiling in the kitchen and there was a falling ceiling tile in the den, I knew I was in over my head. Quite frankly, the whole thing was disgusting.
Where was I even supposed to start to fix this? If you’re anything like me, a big project sits in front of you and you can’t focus on one thing. I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer mass of the task in front of me, and all I really wanted to do was give up before I had even started. And at that exact moment, in stepped my own personal superhero – Mom. Over the years she has patched, painted, and scrubbed more places than I can imagine, so she pointed me in the right direction.
The first step to making things better had to be fixing the walls. Holes had to be covered, cracks had to be smoothed, and peeling patches had to be sanded. One trip to Lowes, a container of joint compound, a package of sandpaper, and a few hours later, the walls looked a lot better. Then came the fun part: picking paint. I promise I looked at so many paint swatches that my eyes swam. Given that the house is pretty small (two bedroom, one bath, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom which will serve as a laundry space), I decided it would be best not to paint each room a different color. It was hard for me to try to pick something that I really liked and that would make my (mildly conservative) landlord happy, but finally I settled on a creamy off-white color for all the walls and a very pastel green for all of the trim.
Honestly, I was shocked by the amount of difference a coat of paint can make. The house looked so much better once the walls and trim were fixed up. Unfortunately, getting all the painting done was the short part. With the help of my munchkin brothers, it took about 30 minutes to pull up all the old carpet and tack strips. Do you know what was under the carpet? Hardwood! Gorgeous dark hardwood. But it needed to be sanded and refinished…. So instead I laid laminate wood flooring over all of it (and by I, I mean my dad). He was also pretty great through this whole process – working late into the night, working in the cold – just trying to get the floor finished for me.
Now, I wait to move in. The shoe molding is done. The back door is getting replaced (although the lock does need to be changed). I have a disassembled bedframe, a refrigerator with the doors off, and a bookshelf all sitting over there. And so this weekend, I’ll start putting it together. Piece by piece. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll look like home when I’m done. I’m an Idle Ginger, and I redid a house. What can you do?