So, I will start off by telling you that I think I can do anything (and also – in a nutshell – that I can do it alone). I have a great deal of what we call in my business ‘self-efficacy’. At work this makes me difficult to collaborate with. In a relationship, well, I leave you to figure that out. (In fact I’m sure any number of boyfriends/husbands/friends would undoubtedly tell you the same). I don’t like to ask for help, and i don’t like to pay for things I think I can do myself. Of course I am wrong.
I will also say that I have a bit of experience with things like painting, laying floors, and even laying tile. And I have been a huge fan of design shows since way back in the day. Of course I thought I would be able to completely renovate and remodel the homestead. And put in a magical and food producing garden, and make the grounds and landscaping perfect. And put in a greenhouse. And buy a goat. And get a dog. All while working 55-65 hours a week to pay for it.
So, where to begin. I think it had been about a week after closing when I decided to start. Andrew was out of town and Karim and I began with the foyer. It didn’t occur to me that starting with the part of the house which is seen immediately upon entering might not be the best idea. That in fact, design choices made in the foyer would need to be echoed throughout the whole house design! That I was in effect, and with no real planning, setting the tone for the design of the whole place.
So, off we started by removing the entryway closet, and built in shelves.
I figured starting with a closet demolition would be a good way to get my ‘demolition feet’ wet, as it were. It’s just a closet, I reasoned. Nothing load-bearing. But it came out hard – and was attached the ceiling with a suspicious looking screw. And taking it out ruined the walls, which I had not thought about!
What followed next was literally several weeks of wall repair…. I developed a mantra: dry wall mud is magic…
We’d put on a layer, then sand it ferociously! It took me a week to realize that we were sanding off too much, and then re-mudding. Lesson learned: put it on thick, then sand lightly!
During this time, I also repaired the other walls – removing a phone jack, a non-working door bell fitting inside the house, a baseboard heater. More mud, more sanding.
The dry-wall repair was pretty arduous, actually. And dry wall patches are expensive and sketchy. Easiest and cheapest is to just buy a new piece of drywall and cut and insert it, turns out.
During this time, we also decided to upcycle the paneling from downstairs – where it is the sole wall covering on every wall…. it is sheets of paneling actually. We took it down, cut it into planks, and then washed the hell out of them (yellow liquid from years of smoking down there came out. Yuck). We just nailed it to the foyer wall, where you first come in. It’s actually pretty nice, and – am I going to say this unironically? – served as the real ‘inspiration piece’ for the rest of the room (and perhaps for the house as a whole).
Next… foyer tile