Posts filed under ‘New house scariness’

You’ll want it to look perfect, but it ain’t

We closed on the house on Friday afternoon and started painting on Saturday morning. Our plan was to paint two rooms — our bedroom and the office. As we started up the stairs that morning my husband said “I think if we have time, we should just go ahead and paint the living room.” “Yeah, totally” I agreed. How wonderfully naive we both were.

Turns out, painting? Lots of work. And lots of time. And by the time you get to the 2nd night of painting, you’re dizzy from paint fumes and pretty much willing to sell your firstborn just to have someone finish the whole thing for you. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

My husband’s mother and stepdad (Eve and Keith) came up to help us paint. His stepdad has done a lot of painting and was able to tell us what we needed to buy at Home Depot. And we bought a LOT of stuff. You can see some of our supplies here (probably about a quarter of what we actually bought), including the wet vac my husband’s mom bought because she could no longer deal with the dust around the radiators:
paintsupplies.JPG

Once we got started, Keith schooled us on the basics: washing the walls, filling the cracks, sanding the dried crack filler, taping, cutting in, etc. Being that I was mostly imagining myself rolling away at the walls all day, this was quite an education. Finally, they let me at the walls and I was very pleased:
paintingbedroom

It was during this initial rolling that Keith uttered the phrase that would get us through the rest of the weekend: “You’ll want it to look perfect, but it ain’t.” I think I repeated that to myself 20 times during the office painting alone.

An full 24 hours later and the bedroom was finally done. Well, except for the doors which we removed and will paint sometime next weekend.

Before:
DSCN1230.JPG

After:
bedroomafter.JPG

By the way, it’s kind of amazing that people just don’t bother removing the switch plates before painting, considering how easy it is. There was green paint all over those plates. Strange. Did I mention that there is a ceiling fan in every single room of the house? Including the bathroom? Yeah.

Next was the office. Eve and Keith left us alone for the office and who could blame them? Let’s face it, painting two rooms in one weekend is a bit like participating in some cruel experiment.

The office was a huge challenge. The walls were a mess and the ceiling was even worse. I think my husband spent 2 hours just filling cracks. There was also a wallpaper border at the top that was insanely difficult to remove. My triceps got the best workout ever while I was chipping away at that wallpaper. After all that, we did put primer on this room because of all the imperfections. Here’s the husband “cutting in”:
cuttingin.JPG

Before:
officebefore

After:
officegrey.JPG

Here’s the blackboard wall that’s going in the office. This is with only one coat (it takes four hours to dry between coats) so you can still see the primer and the pink peaking through:
blackboard.JPG

There was just no way to finish this room. Not without jumping out the window anyway. So, we still have the trim to do, the doors, and another coat on the blackboard wall. But still, I’m pretty happy with the results in both rooms. Plus, I have a MUCH better idea of what goes into painting a room and will certainly never plan to do two rooms in one weekend ever again.

March 27, 2007 at 11:08 am 1 comment

Lighting Novice

Lighting novice is putting it mildly. My husband and I have cared so little about the lighting in our NYC apartment that I’m sitting here right now typing this post under some of the most hideous yellowish overhead lighting imaginable. I refuse to let that happen in our new house. We’re going to get lamps, I promise. But, we’re also interested in installing recessed lighting in the living room. The problem? We have no idea how to do it. I mean, that’s okay, we can follow the instructions in our new handy dandy Home Depot book. But, our new living room has a ceiling with no overhead lighting at all. It’s a fully finished ceiling. This may seem like a completely asinine question to anyone who has ever done…well, ANY home improvement work at all, but I don’t get it. If you want to install recessed lighting in a room with no overhead lighting, how on earth do you know where to make the holes?

I know this must be a stupid question, I just know it. But, I’m not too proud to ask it.

March 19, 2007 at 6:08 am Leave a comment

First entry, whee!

I’ve started this blog to share the design projects/problems we’re sure to face with our recently-purchased home and to hopefully get some advice, suggestions, admonishments, etc. from people who love interior design or those who, like me, are just newbies at this whole thing.

After years of living in various Manhattan apartments, we’ve gone and bought ourselves a house in NJ. A whole house. Yay! But, also, yikes. Our current apartment is just 4 rooms (counting the bathroom) and has the dreaded living room/kitchen combo. I don’t even think you could call it a kitchen, really. I love to cook, so this “kitchen” has been the bane of my existence for the past 5 years (as I’m sitting on my couch typing this, I look up to see my tiny stove staring back at me. Stupid stove.) You’d think that 5 years in a place would lead to some attempt at decorating, but you would be wrong. I guess I’ve always looked at this apartment as a transitional space and so I never really wanted to bother going too far in decorating it. That’s probably a silly reason, but I’m often silly and always stubborn.

So now we’ve bought a house that has an actual kitchen (though it does need to be redone), a living room, dining room, 1.5 baths, an attic, a basement and 3 bedrooms. And a sort of porch room which I just have no idea what to do with. That’s a whole lot of house when you’re used to having your refrigerator within reaching distance during Ugly Betty.

I’m hoping this blog will help me organize our projects before and after we move in. Our first step is buying this book. When one of your first questions upon seeing a basement is, “which one is the furnace?”, you know you need help.

February 11, 2007 at 5:02 pm 1 comment


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