Last week I gleefully recounted some of my favorite features of the house, but the last thing I want to do is paint an unrealistic picture of our current situation. There’s no way we could have moved to our choice neighborhood without buying a fixer-upper — and in doing so we had to make some sacrifices. So, let’s remove the rose colored glasses for a moment and take another glance around shall we?
#1 — It’s dirty. Like really, really dirty.
I’ve talked about this on the blog before and I know you guys are probably sick of hearing about it, but I swear every time I look up (or down, or all around) I see something else that needs to be scrubbed. After a month in the house I’ve tackled most of it by now, so going forward will be mostly maintenance, but I still need to see to the door handles, the light switches, and the darkest corners of the kitchen floor. I’m not even going to bother with the baseboards, the walls, and the window sills because I figure those are going to get painted over eventually. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, which leads to…
#2 — It needs to be painted. Every wall, ceiling, baseboard, window frame, door, and closet needs to be painted. These surfaces are ALL the same dingy white right now like someone got a little happy with a paint sprayer (it’s a color that you’d assume would be left behind by decades of smokers — although, thank heavens there were none). I wanted to at least paint the insides of the closets before we moved in, but yeah, that didn’t happen. Now, knowing me, it probably never will…
The repainting of an entire house is a daunting task which is why I’ve been ignoring it — I have no idea where to start! I think we’re just going to take it room by room for now, though we may hire out the painting of the great room because I have no desire to paint all that craggy brick or the 14 foot lofted ceiling with its 5 exposed beams. Speaking of paint and living rooms — I also picked up some heat resistant black paint so that I can spray the gold on the fireplace surround. Bye bye, brass!
As for outside, the paint is in good condition, but it’s a peachy-yellow. I’m not really a yellow kind of girl so it’s days are numbered too. Maybe something more moody and contrasting … like this?
#3 — Flooring. We replaced 1400 SF of wall-to-wall carpet with bamboo hardwoods, and I scrubbed about 400 SF of slate tiles in the hall, but that leaves about 800 SF under our toes that still needs attention. We’ve talked on the blog about the missing tiles in the yellow bathroom and we have shown you the horrors of the faux-wood laminate tiles in the kitchen/laundry room/half bath areas. We’re still not sure how or when we are going to address either of these issues.
#4 — Landscaping. Yes, I realize that this was on the “pro” list last week and I foresee that long-term that is where it will stay, but there is no denying that the yard will need a bit of an overhaul before we can relax into the bi-annual trimmings of our dreams. For starters, the hedges are way, way, way overgrown.
The windows in the house are about waist height but all the hedges planted along the perimeter of the home are over my head so I can’t even see out most the windows. We’re going to try to trim them down and see if they will fill in on their own — if not, some massive replanting of more aptly sized shrubbery will have to follow.
Verizon doesn’t seem to be concerned as they are not “live wires”, but it looks pretty junky so Kirk will be doing some major limb removal back there before too long. And then of course, by removing this foliage we will reduce the privacy screen it provided from our rear neighbors so some replanting will likely ensue.
#5 — The flat roof. So far, all the things on this list are temporary, but here’s one that we’re stuck with for the long haul. One of the iconic features of a mid-century home is their flat roof design and our house is no exception. It’s not entirely flat, but it’s flat enough that Kirk has scheduled monthly alerts on his phone to remind him to ladder it on up there and do some debris maintenance. So long as we keep on top of it, we are pretty sure we can avoid any standing water — like this that was discovered during our home inspection (and resolved before we signed the papers!).
We were also told during our inspection that our roof probably only has about 5 years of life left in it, so there’s that to budget for too. Oh, and the skylight has an ever-so-slight leak in heavy rain. It needs a bit of cosmetic help too.
#6 — All that glass. It’s beautiful, but could it be too much of a good thing? All the windows are double-paned and, with the exception of the great room, they’ve all been recently replaced, but our energy bills will be the deciding factor on whether we continue to love them or if we’re destined the be a love/hate relationship with our walls o’ glass.
Maybe we’ll invest in solar panels? This also brings up the three sliding glass doors that need to be replaced along with the solid door in our bedroom that we’d love to swap out for a light-filtering alternative. Hello, dollar signs!!
#7 — The laundry area isn’t exactly functional. It’s right off the garage which we use as our main entrance so it’s where we drop our shoes, bags and coats. However, the coat closet is on the opposite side of the kitchen (near the front door) so where does all of stuff end up? Directly on top of the dryer.
I’d love to create a little bench-style seating area with some coat hooks or even some closed cabinetry to make this a
little lot more organized. We’ve also talked about taking down the temporary wall that the washer and dryer are currently on (you can actually see light coming through where it abuts the ceiling and the accordion wall) and relocate the units to the opposite wall to make the design seem a bit more purposeful, but again … this takes money. But as I mentioned, we did a little upgrade in here this weekend for zero buckaroos. It’s far from done, but at least it’s a bit more serviceable now.
#8 — And, of course, there are the bathrooms. The counters in the kitchen, the master bath, and the master walk-in closet are terrible. The kitchen counter is cracked and stained and the faux marble in the master is just downright bad. Accenting them with gold and copper hardware hasn’t helped so that will be the first (and less costly) thing we remedy, but you may see some countertop replacements down the road. And the mirrors? I don’t even know what to say about all the mirrors.
With a little accessorizing, I’ve actually come to love our yellow and even our blue bathroom (stay tuned for Friday’s post!), but there is still chatter of complete gut jobs down the road. Even if we decide we like the rainbow aesthetic, there are structural things to consider such as regrouting and recauking … both of which have seen better days. The half bath off the laundry room isn’t mentioned much around here because it’s a snooze fest. I’m not sure if it was added later or was simply upgraded more recently, but it’s equipped with a honey oak builder-grade vanity and a tasseled roller shade — both of which need to go.
#9 — Low Voltage Electricity. On a day to day basis this really only means that we can’t run the toaster and the microwave at the same time, but it also means that a complete update of all our wiring and lighting fixtures is likely somewhere down the line. While on the plus side our energy usage and electric bills will be lower than if we had standard 110-voltage or higher lighting, it also means that we’re stuck with these funky looking light switches that have definitely seen better days. The replacement series for these old GE rocker switches don’t look much better that what we have and they are crazy expensive ($21 for a single switch and $46 for a triple) and we have 49 switches throughout the house.
#10 — Oh, and did I mention it’s haunted? Kirk thinks I’m crazy, and while I’m not 100% a believer either, I don’t think this list would be complete without mention of the resident ghost. He seems nice enough (albeit a bit of a prankster — things have a habit of going missing for days and then turning up right where you left them), but it is strange to catch movement from the corner of my eye as I make my morning cup o’ joe. I can’t shake the feeling of being watched either, which isn’t exactly the most desired sensation when trying to make oneself feel at home in a new place.
For the record it killed me to repost this typo! Charlie has never accosted (or accostomed) me in any way.
I could add 100 more things to this list (that’s why this blog was created after all — to chronicle everything from the minor tweaks to the massive overhauls), but that’s not the point. The point is that yes, this house makes us happy and it was a good move for our family, but we are going to have to put in a bit more effort to make it feel like “ours”. All good things must be earned, right?
Even if that means partaking in an exorcism or two.