Friday, June 18, 2010 brought too much baggage into this relationship

I love new homes. I love the smell. I love the look. I love designing exactly what you want. I love the feeling that I'm the first person to use every inch of it.

Now...I'm in a relationship with a new 'used' home and he's brought some nasty baggage that we've got to deal with if we're going to make this work.

A little background...I've been very blessed to have build two homes in the last 10 years. When I say built, I really mean with my own hands - framing, wiring, tiling, painting. My hubby works in the building materials business, I am a quick picker upper and fearless when it comes to learning new skills so it just made sense that I would help with every aspect. So we found some land and built the first home. We sold it four years later and built another one next door. That's my second baby in the photo at the top - oh how I miss you baby. We sold it four years later and have landed gently in a used home where we plan to live out the high school years of our kiddos. This lovely home is smaller, lowered our mortgage by half (thanks to Dave - live like no one else!), fits in our short term retirement/move to the lake plan but definitely needs to be updated.

A strong relationship needs to have great communication skills. The first week in the new diggs I grabbed paper and pen and sat down in the living room. "House", I said, " We need to talk. I love you and I know we're going to be spending some quality years together. I know you want to change, too. Let me help."

That was the beginning of a long and frustrating year. But I have to tell you, we're making progress. Any good therapist would tell you to write it down. Set goals. Take baby steps towards your changes. Good advice.

After a year of making lists and prioritizing our relationship goals we decided these issues needed to be addressed first:
1. Light oak laminate flooring in the kitchen
2. No built in's flanking the fireplace
3. Textured walls
4. Popcorn ceilings
5. Dark, dark, trim and doors
6. Off white carpet - even on the stairs from the front door!
7. Bathrooms with tiny toilets, vinyl flooring, old vanities and lighting
8. Old kitchen appliances
9. Bad lighting in every room
10. Really rough berber carpet in the basement

Shwoo! It's a long list but me and the house, we came to an understanding that changes would happen in good time. The house was going to sit back and relax and turn things over to me. I'd call when I needed him.

I called on my contractor friends, worked my magic and immediately marked three things off the list.
3. Textured walls....the only way to get rid of them was to have a skim coat of drywall mud put over them or to replace the sheetrock. First choice - too costly and messy. Second choice - are you kidding??!!
4. Popcorn ceilings...removing the popcorn wouldn't be difficult because they had never been painted. They are in fabulous shape (thank you previous owners for never smoking) and I really didn't want to deal with the mess or patching any hiding nail pops. I decided this was a flaw I could live with.
8. I searched Craigslist and found appliances that are PERFECT and PRICED GREAT! Brand spanking new at used prices...gotta love Craigslist!

So, here we are. Me and the house. Working on the rest of our issues and trying to make this relationship work. I have to tell you...he has been easy to work with. Patient. Easy going. I think I could learn a thing or two from him.

My post tomorrow will be about tackling the dark, dark trim. I found great tips online and from some master painters I can't wait to share. Starting on Kendra's room has started the project dominoes.

Speaking of Kendra's room...The walls are painted and I'm working on the furniture. I'll do another post today with the progress. Uber fun!



  1. Wow I hope I can pick up skills like you did! That's so great!

  2. Sonja thanks so much for the lovely comment over at my blog! I love that you printed it out! And I promise you you can't go wrong... even if it ends up being uncooked, just eating the filling is amazing! hahaha

  3. It takes time and patience but ANYONE can do it :) Thanks for posting - I'm a newbie at this and I love getting posts!

  4. AND THANKS AGAIN - your site directed me to Favourite Vintage Finds which directed me to Shermancat where I found exactly what I was searching for last week at thrift stores. YEAH! and what a great cause.

  5. Hi Sonja,

    Oh you are so talented! Thank you for visiting me at Favourite Vintage Finds and for your lovely comments. I am so glad that I found you too and that you visited Shermancat and found exactly what you were looking for, that item was surely meant for you. Best wishes, Carla. :)

  6. Your blog is uber exciting! I enjoy finding fresh ideas.
    Camille of