Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Making the House a Home

For our two years in London we experienced the joy of renting. Weekends were not spent fixing things around the house or spending hours at the home center. (Let me interject that Brad Pitt and his kids were at the home center in our borough over Easter weekend. We left too soon!) We spent our weekends in the city seeing all we could see.

Fast forward to today, and we are in full homeowner mode. 

The first thing anyone should do upon moving into a new abode is clean the place, obviously. Upon first look, the place looked it would just need an easy scrub of the bathrooms, kitchen, and a cleaning of the carpets. However, that was not the case. We quickly learned that a deep clean had not happened at our abode in quite some time. Please enjoy a few examples.

Exhibit A - behind the oven knobs - Those had never been cleaned prior to my discovery. The insides of the kitchen cabinets were not much better. So many bleach wipes were consumed before any of our belongings touched those surfaces. I was also very thankful for the Bed Bath & Beyond coupons to buy copious amounts of shelf liner.    

Exhibit B - the master bathroom flooring (the cleaned portion is the top left) - This required a hands and knees scrub with a firm bristled brush.  And multiple refreshes of the soapy water bucket. In the three months we've lived here the floor still looks as good as the top squares.  Consider this your PSA against wearing shoes in the house.

The fireplace was not much better. According to the technician, it had been many, many years since it's last clean. The gas supply line entered the fireplace box through a hole that was not properly taped, and enough bugs had found their way in that an entomologist would think it was Christmas. Thankfully it checked out fine and all he had to do was vacuum out the box and a squeegee the glass.

Once the house was clean, we started with projects to make it our own. Matt installed a closet organizer in the master closet to replace the inefficient one we inherited. Check out Matt's fancy new drill. 

The inherited water heater was nearing the end of its life, and no one wants to figure that out in a cold shower. We had a tankless water heater installed, and so far it's been great with no conflicts between two hot water uses at the same time. Every attempt is made to not have showers and the dishwasher run at the same time, but no one complained when it has happened.  

The main living area of our house was painted yellow, not a pretty yellow. It actually hurt your eyes on a sunny day. The color ran from the living room into the entry, up the stairs, and down the hall.  Over the years many nail holes were patched, which were unsightly. Based on the size of the project we immediately knew that a professional would have to remedy this color fail. Our painter was phenomenal; he patched every hole and even sanded down the bad drywall joints up the stairwell. The new color is not a dramatic change, but I'll take boring beige over blinding yellow any day.    

Our neighborhood is hilly, and our back yard slopes to a dry creek bed. When it rains the water runs from the two side downspouts & from the driveway along the side of the house dragging the land along. A drainage system was in place from one of the previous owners, but it was blocked and useless. Matt had an irrigation contractor out to remedy the drainage by connecting the downspouts to a pipe that empties into the creek bed. We eagerly await a rain storm to see if the land stays put. If it's a good fix, Matt will start landscaping.

What's up next?  We have some short & long term projects that will keep us busy. Nothing is pressing so we can take our time and make smart decisions based on how want to use the spaces. The master bathroom and kitchen are high on the list, but those are big budget items that need saving and planning. Until that time I'll continue pining over bathrooms and kitchens on Instagram.


  1. Wow! You have definitely been busy!!!!

    1. Even more has been fixed & improved since I wrote this post. New furniture arrives on Friday. I'm thrilled to get the TV off the card table and retire the wobbly IKEA end table.

  2. Oh the joys of being a homeowner!