Back With A Vengeance. Part 1. THE HOUSE.

25 Apr

So.  What’s up?  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Great!  Okay, now it’s my turn.

For me, the past month has been a whirlwind tour of the many different ways in which one might go nuts: Moving, family-hosting, baby nap-changing/teething/walking (!), the re-appearance of depression, and a new, 800-square foot house.  It’s all in there!  Were I a stronger, more balanced individual, I might call it edifying – even educational.  But seeing as I am who I am, I just call it insane.  In an effort to make up for lost time and bring y’all up to speed, this week, I will break down the many different ways my month has been a challenge.  Lucky you!

Part 1.  THE HOUSE. 

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I know.  This is a blog about the highs and lows of parenting – NOT houses.  But so many of you have shown an interest in what our little place is like that it seemed appropriate.  If not, boo hoo and come back tomorrow.

The first time I ever laid eyes on our new house was during a drive-by with our realtor. 

“Nah,” I said.  “Keep driving.”

The next time I saw our new house was after Jake and I realized we weren’t going to be able to do much better in the town of our dreams.  At the time, it was a rental house for two college boys, and it was a mess: nasty stained carpet, a freakish red wall that called hell to mind, a toilet encrusted with pee, and a kitchen more aptly called a “kitchenette.” 

But the bones of the house were good, and there were aspects that appealed to us very much: a spacious, beautiful backyard traversed by a creek, lots of windows in every room, and hardwood floors under the carpet.  “This might be it,” we whimpered.

As escrow came to a close, neither of us was terribly excited about moving in.  It was going to be a lot of work over a very short period of time to get the house even marginally comfortable.  But March 31st arrived, and we began the intense process of deciding how we wanted to live for the next several years.

The kitchen – unanimously the most challenging room in the house – would have to wait to be remodeled.  Our savings evaporated the moment escrow closed, so we would only be able to take care of the cheapest, most cosmetic aspects of moving in.  We started with painting the rustic wood-plank ceiling white to lighten the living room, dining area and kitchen.  We tried painting it with brushes at first, but it looked horrible.  Then we tried using a roller, but it didn’t get into the grooves.  So then we decided to go with a paint sprayer – in theory, a very good idea.  In practice, a nightmare.

Jake went through five – count ’em, FIVE – sprayers over the course of three days. 

  1. Borrowed from work, was broken.  Returned.
  2. Bought on Craigslist, was too weak.  Returned.
  3. Rented from equipment company, was defective.  Returned.
  4. Rented from same equipment company, was brand new but refused to suck paint.  Returned.
  5. Rented from same equipment company, worked.  Mostly.  Returned and was still asked to pay rental fees.  Refused.

This is the point at which I was sure Jake would lose his mind, but he never did.  I could learn a lot from observing the way Jake handles conflict.

Anyway, with the ceiling now painted, we moved on to painting the walls.  I’d seen a color in a magazine ages ago that I always thought looked nice.  Thank goodness I bought a sample and tried it out first before painting the entire house.  It was a gray that read cold and sterile – and sometimes, purple.  Not cool.  Thankfully, my nice friend April is an interior designer and knows her stuff.  She came over with her Benjamin Moore book and recommended the most incredible color: Manchester Tan.  It is so rich and beautiful, and has a different effect in every room depending on the time of day.  After the first day of painting, I called April.

“Manchester Tan makes me want to weep every time I look at it.  It’s gorgeous.”

“Jaime,” she said, “the goal was to make you weep.  I’m so happy you like it.”

Next came the floor, which was a labor of love for Jake, who has never refinished anything before.  We stained it a dark walnut color – which is absolutely gorgeous, but doesn’t hide dirt, baby-flung food, or dog fur – and slapped on a satin finish coat.  It had to cure for about a week, which meant we were eating our meals in beach chairs from the kitchen for a while. 

And speaking of the kitchen, yes it’s miniscule, but it’s liveable…for now.  We have plans to knock down some walls and create more storage in a year or so.  For the time being, though, we’ve installed a pot rack and crammed all of our utensils into one of the THREE drawers at our disposal. 


My mom and dad are in town right now, and they’ve been enormously helpful at deciding on furniture and decor placement.  I chose the Emma curtain from World Market for its vintage charm.  Someone told me they look like the drapes that Maria turns into the Von Trapp childrens’ clothes in The Sound of Music.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I like that they evoke a reaction!  My style tends toward the 50s and 60s, so it’s not much of a surprise. 

My favorite room so far is the dining room.  (The chandelier came with the house, to my utter delight.)  I also love Seabass’ room but haven’t been able to get a shot of it yet because he’s always napping in it when I have a spare moment to shoot.

We are settled, comfortable, and enjoying our new place very much.  Thanks for your interest. 

Now I have to get back to baby-proofing all these new cabinets.  Excuse me.

10 Responses to “Back With A Vengeance. Part 1. THE HOUSE.”

  1. Caroline April 25, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    I love it I love it I love it!

    We’re coming to see it, hopefully in August or September (oh, and we’ll visit with you and J and C too.)

  2. Oma April 25, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    What a delightful transformation! We have so loved playing with you in your new home ~ enjoy making memories there for many, many years.

  3. Anonymous April 25, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    It looks awesome you guys! I love it. So far, I also love the dining room with those cool curtains and black buffet.

  4. g April 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Love the before and after pictures (I live for those man). Your house is beautiful; congratulations!

  5. Grandma L April 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    You have decorated with your usual flair & good taste. I love it!

  6. kendra April 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    It looks beautiful. And if you get any slack for posting stuff about your house and not your baby, then those folks have not hit the LOWS of home improvement around a 1 years nap schedule. When all you want is them to sleep 10 more minutes, just to get your project 1/4 done. It looks great, you should be so “House Proud”

  7. Kristin April 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Whoop whoop for Manchester Tan! That’s our color, how random is that! We love it and, yes, you are so right, it looks different on every wall and changes throughout the day. Does it have a hint of green… or gray… perhaps mocha? 🙂

  8. Anonymous April 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Beautiful transformation of your house. Love the paint color & yard with patio!

  9. M April 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    It looks great! And the backyard is beautiful!

  10. Beth May 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Wow Jaime, it’s hard to believe that’s the same place. I do believe you will eventually have to share the after picture of the bathroom!

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