Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Little By Little

Why do we expect it all to happen at once? Is it human nature? Or is it the decorating shows on television? After all, they have somebody show up in a home that desperately needs work, and in an hour's time--sometimes a half hour--it's "REVEAL" time! The homeowner is brought in, eyes closed to the interior of his/her disaster of a house, and there it is! New furniture, walls painted, pots of silk flowers and little sculptures all about. The old place looks like a model home. And indeed it is.

I've redecorated a number of old houses--six or seven, I think--and know better. But this time I was ready for the private rooms to get finished. And I wanted it to happen all at once. I almost forgot, it doesn't usually happen that way. In the past I've had contractors who had a team of guys, and the work still took weeks and weeks. This time around my main contractor/carpenter has finished his work and my electrician/plumber/handyman and his son the painter are finishing tasks for me as they have time. I still believed I'd have the upstairs bedrooms and the floor of the stairs finished at the end of the weekend.

First stall was when my painter emailed me Saturday morning that he'd missed his bus. He's based in the city now and can only come to me when he has a break. I expected him at ten; he and his father showed up just after noon. That was okay, all he had to do was paint the stairs while his father checked out the washer and dryer in the basement and set them to working again.
The entrance hall was angry.

There was something rather depressing about the color of the balustrade and newell post. It gave the entrance hall an angry look, at least to me. The stairs were the same unimaginative tan. I wanted the stairs steps white and planned to have a beige textured runner installed when the painting was done. Obviously that couldn't happen in a weekend, but I had contacted the flooring store to come by today, Wednesday, to measure and give me a quote.

I chose a creamy beige for the newell post and balustrade, while the spindles and floor would be white. A primer coat had to go on everything. This turned out to be not only tedious for my bright young painter, but also much more time consuming than I expected. In the meantime, his father added some lights to the basement, updated the electrical, and got a new hose for the washing machine. He changed out a cheap looking sconce in the bedroom for the slightly more upscale one I'd picked up. They worked like beavers for the better part of two days, and wound up Sunday night. I went to bed discouraged--or at least disappointed--that I didn't have my bedrooms all shiny and new.

But I woke up to the reality that it takes time. And we've gotten off to a wonderful start! They are both solid workmen, good at what they do. It looks so tasteful, so serene. Ready for a carpet runner and maybe another party to celebrate. When I think of what it's come from, where we have yet to go seems insignificant. The bedrooms will be ready for guests (and I have one coming next week, and two more the following week). And little by little the house is coming to life.
The hall is inviting guests to come.
Now it seems downright happy!


  1. Old houses are always a work in progress. You just finish painting the last room and it is time to repaint where you started in the first place. You've come a long way.

  2. We bought an old farm house on 19 acres. Paid $70,000. Spent $125,000 to make it livable. A bargain.

  3. Makes perfect sense to me--but the 19 acres, no.

  4. The entry hall looks so much more attractive, ML! We need to paint ours, replace the few pieces of furniture in it, and update the ceiling fixture. I wish we had wood stairs. A new railing would help. My brother is a carpenter, but lives a hard drive across town (for him--he hates driving in the city/suburbs), and he's working now 12 hour days, 7 days a week, until February or so.

    I should have Bill read all your blog entries about fixing the house, and see if they inspire him. He doesn't seem to care that the house (except for the family room) looks terrible. He does like having one room that looks decent. Keep up the good work and the blog, I'm so enjoying reading about it and seeing the photos.

  5. Thanks, Patricia! Heartening to know my posts here are not falling on deaf ears.