Friday, October 17, 2008

The 8-month half bath.

So, nobody said redecorating was quick and easy.

The next room I decided to tackle was the half bath downstairs. Yes, more wallpaper to strip. It was also hopelessly stuck in the early 80's.

We decided to replace everything except the toilet and floor, and bought the stuff we needed to redo the half bath in January. We got a pedestal sink, faucet, mirror, light fixture and new toilet seat for well below the $300 minimum purchase required for the 12 months same-as-cash promotion, so I also got a great vaccum, especially for homes with pets.

I got the idea for the half bath from my friend Loren. He had a full bath at his last house that had deep blue walls with bright white fixtures and chrome accents. It looked so clean. I've also been a fan of Spode for a few years, and although, plates don't "belong" with a bathroom, I thought it would be nice minimal decor for a small room. I decided not to go with dark blue on the walls because it is a REALLY small bathroom with no window, and I thought it would be too much for such a small room. The towel hook was actually left in the guest bathroom upstairs by the previous owner, and went with the Spode well.

When I started stripping the wallpaper, I discovered a 5-inch hole in the drywall at the top of the wall above the toilet. As it turns out, this half bath is below a full bath upstairs, and a leak damaged the drywall and ceiling in the half bath. Luckily, the leak had been repaired, but the last owner just wallpapered over the hole and left it. The drywall just crumbled when you touched it. Nice. Anyway, Jeremy cut out the damaged drywall and a piece of the ceiling above the toilet. We patched the seams in the drywall and had to learn how to "mud" the ceiling. The pattern in the mud is some sort of circular pattern that we couldn't replicate (we tried in vain). So we just textured it. You can't see in these pictures, but there is a boxed in part of the ceiling that hids the beam and AC/heating duct that runs through the middle of the house. So you don't notice the different textures of the ceiling in the bathroom.

Finally, in August we got the light fixture and sink installed. It's done for the most part, but we still haven't put up the toilet paper holder. Maybe one of these days we'll get around to that.

Living in wallpaper stripping hell.

As was typical for homes in the 80's, almost every room in the house was wallpapered. I've never been a fan, and almost fly into a flat-out rage over people who paint over wallpaper. After a month or two of getting settled in, I began stripping wallpaper.

The first room I did was the master bedroom. It wasn't fully wallpapered, but had border that had been painted over. PAINTED OVER!!!! It took something like a month of standing on a chair with my arms over my head spraying DIF and scraping the bits off with a putty knife. Yeah, it sucked. I don't have any "after" pictures because I am still waiting to replace the carpet, which is gold. If you squint your eyes real hard, it kinda looks like hardwood flooring. Okay, not really.

I then moved onto the guest room. At least the wallpaper wasn't painted over. My mom read or heard somewhere that a clothes steamer does well at removing wallpaper, and that's what I used in here. It works well if the wallpaper isn't painted over. When we bought the house I checked out some books at the library about French Country decor. I don't remember where I got the idea for that. I think it was because I like toile. As it turns out, there's no toile in the room. Here's before and after...

The bed is antique and I got it from my sister-in-law, Alicia. She and her husband bought a piece of property that had an old decrepit house on it. A previous owner had plans for a bed and breakfast that never materialized, and the house was full of antique furniture and housewares, but needed to be torn down. So, everyone got to take what they wanted out of the house before it was torn down. This bed was painted white and the rosettes were maroon. As if I hadn't had enough stripping wallpaper, I stripped and sanded the bed and repainted it black. It turned out great.

We finally decided on a house.

We bought our first house last July. After looking at about 10, and hundreds more on the internet, we found one to buy. For the longest time we couldn't agree on what kind of house we wanted. I like old houses and Jeremy wanted a newer rancher. We knew we both wanted a garage (not very many existing homes in Charleston have two-car garages). I guess Jeremy won out on the style, but I am happy with it, nonetheless. It was in great condition, but the decor was horribly out of date. Well, not as out of date as some other houses we looked at. One looked like it was a time capsule from 1966.

This house was built in 1977--about the same time that the house I grew up in was built. It's almost exactly like the one I grew up in, in that the same types of materials were used and the layout is similar. Most likely, because, like the house I grew up in, it was a "kit" house from 84 Lumber or someplace that mass produced floor plans with suggested materials. I know 3 or 4 people who had the same house my parents did.
The lady we bought it from was a widow who had lived in Summersville for the past few years, but raised her daughter in this house. She told us at the closing that it new construction but was owned by a realty company when her and her husband bought it. It might have been a spec house or something. Anyway, she fell in love with the house, but they didn't have quite enough money, so her realtor waived his share of the commission and applied it to the purchase price. I thought that was a nice story. It's nice to know the history of the house and of the people who lived in it--with one exception. She was the sole owner of the house by virtue of her husband's death. I just hope he didn't die in the house. I think he would have been in his 50's, so in my mind, he had a heart attack and later died at the hospital. That's what I tell myself anyway.

Here are some pictures of the outside last spring. I'm not sure what the tree in front is but it was BEAUTIFUL this spring when it bloomed. I also tried my hand at bulbs, which turned out nice, in the stone flower beds in the front yard.

Introduction: home decor and blogging

Well, here we are.

I decided to start this blog at the suggestion of a lovely lady (I can't remember which one, but they're all lovely) from the Women In Red message board when we were discussing decorating our homes. I actually had been thinking about doing a slide show on snapfish or something of the before and after pics of my house when (if ever) I'm finished decorating. So, I guess this is as good a place as any. It might also be nice to chronicle the progress of home improvement projects with you all (if you care), and to solicit advice.

The other thing is, I suppose I've always wanted to blog. I have opinions about things and sometimes I get so worked up about issues that I feel like I could explode if I don't get it out there. My blog on myspace has been a bit of an outlet for those bursts of opinion, but if I don't get around to putting something on paper (or in cyberspace) the feeling passes in a day or so. And I can't recreate it.

Everyone is blogging these days. The biggest thing about blogging for me is what I would write about. I don't have kids. I know plenty of people who blog about their kids--and I enjoy reading those. I don't kid myself into believing my life is particularly interresting. But, I've decided that even if no one reads it, I'll still feel like I've accomplished something because at least it will be an outlet for my various opinions about anything that strikes me as noteworthy. Maybe that's narcissistic, but I'll hedge my bets that at least my mom will be reading it.