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It’s a project house

By on June 22, 2020 in Featured Homes with 0 Comments
“Although we had initially decided on one-level living, it is actually nice to have the bedrooms upstairs and the living areas on ground level. The stairway itself is a delight to the eye,” said Jaana.

When house hunting intentions were upset by love, these new owners got to work

By Jaana Hatton

We went on a house hunt in the fall of 2019. This was the criteria for the new home: small, one-level, move-in ready. It was time for something easy for the retirement years.

We looked at one house after another, and none of them were right; too big, too run-down, too poorly located. Whoever coined the term “Happy house hunting” obviously never did such a search himself. It’s not a happy undertaking — it’s downright exhausting.

 And then, we found the one for us! We smiled!

As soon as we stepped into the two-story, three garage house it felt perfect. This was the one. It didn’t meet any of the initial specifications we had listed — but when you fall in love, it can change everything.

My husband was excited about the expansive garage space and the potential of setting up his radio antenna on the side yard. I was equally taken with the large deck taking up most of the back yard and the possibility of an art room inside, just for me. I hadn’t had a room of my own since childhood.

The interior offered space, light and yes, an upstairs. That means two levels, not one. We suddenly didn’t mind that.

The family room became alive with the contrast of blue walls and white trim, versus the original pale, flesh-colored wall.

We looked at the pinkish rosebud wallpaper in the downstairs powder room and the wide floral wallpaper border decorating the front entry. They immediately signaled “project” to us. 

The pale, flesh-colored wall paint all over did not do the house justice. The tint created a subdued, tired feeling. Again, the house called out “project.” We were okay with that.

Now, as far as projects go, the list was going to be long; wood rot along the side of the deck, chipped paint and holes on the walls. Outlets that had become so worn over time that anything plugged in simply fell out. And more.

Yet, it seemed the house was simply begging for us to stay and take care of it. And so we did. We moved in on Dec. 17, 2019.

The main renovation was going to be replacing the old carpeting which obviously had witnessed all of the 30 years of the building’s existence, proudly displaying spilled coffee stains and worn spots. 

We hired help to remove and re-install two-story’s worth of flooring. Lowe’s did it all, from pulling and removing the now brittle carpet to installing the vinyl planking we had decided on.

When I first saw the word “vinyl” adhered to the flooring description, I almost turned away. Seriously, vinyl? 

We then chatted further with the professional at Lowe’s and did our own research: vinyl planking is an easy-maintenance, easy-on-the-feet, ready-to-install option. That checked all the right boxes for us.

 The installation process was a weeklong horrendous mess during which we stayed at a hotel. Coming home was like entering the aftermath of a war; a thick layer of dust covered everything and the furniture was scattered all over the place. I had covered as much as I could with large sheets of plastic, but renovation dust is its own entity, defying conventional protective measures. 

The master bedroom closet is big enough to be a small bedroom. “We took down the old, bulky wooden shelving and replaced it with new, wire-type shelf and rods. Painting always makes a difference. We covered the window with a vinyl, stained-glass look film which lets in light but still keeps the privacy. We applied the same film on the dormer windows and the doorway, all of which face the street, to give the house a unified look,” said Jaana.

After the initial shock and a weeklong cleaning, things were looking good again. What a difference flooring makes.

Even before the floor work, I had already started painting the walls. It was easy to do as I didn’t have to worry about the old carpeting, which was going to be removed. 

The family room was first on the list, the most-used room. Since the exterior of the house is a pale blue, I decided to mostly continue with the theme. I chose a soft, gray-toned blue, which created a nice contrast to the brown-toned flooring to-be. The dining/living area is a soft green now. 

With the wall color, the house took on a new, perkier personality. 

There was much more painting to do, two floors worth and some high spots due to the ceiling-to-floor entry. 

We went to Lowe’s yet again and purchased a monster of a ladder. Up I went, like a mountain climber, and tried to keep the long pole of the paint roller steady. I mostly managed to get the paint where it needed to go. There is a great sense of accomplishment in doing things that at first seem impossible. 

I have continued adding color to every room, happily watching the pale skin tone vanish with every brush stroke. The last one of the bedrooms received its coat of blue on May 2, and the work was much easier and cleaner than the initial family room effort in January. I am an expert in painting by now.

I decided to play a little, too, painting frames directly onto the wall to highlight some of the wall décor. It looks rather nice, but also determines the size of any other item that may be placed there in the future.

The worst part was removing old wallpaper in the guest bath and some other areas. Talk about tearing, spraying and scrubbing like never before. It was a hard task, indeed. 

Now, with the floors and walls taken care of, the old window treatments needed sprucing up. They were flimsy and faded, like old rice paper. We decided on white, two-inch wide vinyl (yes, enter vinyl once more) blinds and what a refreshing change that was. 

With the base molding and the door jambs all white, blinds in the same color were the perfect choice. 

 With the intense restoration we have gained a sense of love and ownership of this house. What’s more, we can pat each other’s backs after each completed project and smile proudly. We can do this!

 House projects are a blessing in disguise — even wallpaper removal. They elevate your soul and the appearance of your home.

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