Luck out of Hard Work

Not “working so hard you get lucky.” No… I’m your classic depressed millennial and my motivation is often low.

What I’m talking about is having luck which gets you out of hard work. Score.

I haven’t gotten lucky on a lot of this house so far. There are STILL massive staples in my floor that someone felt were necessary to use to tack down carpet. (They’re 2 inch long spikes driven into the floor! Why????). There were about 8 outlets that were not grounded and were massive fire hazards (hello $$$$).

But some things have swung in my favor.

The floor is the biggest thing. Underneath the rather crusty 90’s carpet was a hardwood in an unknown condition. It looks so much better than anyone expected! The worst thing about it is some paint drips. I will need to refinish it in the future, but for now, it looks pretty good.

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Hell yeah.

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HELL YEAH

On a slightly less impressive note, the latest lucky moment I’ve had has been in the kitchen.

The kitchen is… outdated to say the least. I don’t have issues with things looking old-fashioned. My grandmother actually owned this house in the 1980’s, and I would not have minded at ALL if the kitchen was still outdated to her tastes.

Unfortunately, almost everything that had been done to this kitchen to ‘update’ it was either done incorrectly or half-assed. It really does need a full redo, but I don’t quite have the money for it right now. Painting is the next best option.

Painting is easy! Except when things are in your way. Someone had put up a wallpaper crown thing around half of the kitchen. It wasn’t applied correctly and was peeling, with glue dripping everywhere. Parts of it were held together with that SUPER STRONG packing tape. Urgh.

I wasn’t looking forward to peeling this off of the walls. Everyone kept telling me it was going to be a nightmare, with the glue not coming off, or what have you.

LUCKY FOR ME the glue is SUPER OLD and may not even be proper glue because it is WATER-SOLUBLE. Literally all I had to do was run a warm, wet rag along the wallpaper and just scrape it off.

For some reason, this is more exciting to me than the floors.

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This is what I’m going for. I just really want teal cabinets. 

Basement Rescue

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What a dark and dingy space.

In order to comply with the FHA loan requirements, the basement needed a fair bit of work before I could even purchase it. Since I purchased the house from a relative, I took place in the rehabbing of the basement. This is my first home, and I wanted to spend as much time as possible in it to get familiar with it before I moved in.

The inspector was concerned about mold in the far corner of the basement. Not sure if it was actually mold, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and regardless, the walls looked gross.

IMG_1108The basement is divided into two rooms. The front room (left) has a drop ceiling, and all the walls are sealed with a white sealant paint.

Basically I needed to reseal the walls in the second room, which probably hadn’t been sealed in over 40 years.

This is what the walls of the second room looked like. You could almost feel the dampness seeping through the walls. Gross.

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*this is NOT the second room that I worked on. This is a room that still needs rescued.

The first thing to do was to chip away all of the old sealant paint, which was coming loose anyway, since moisture had gotten underneath it and kind of bubbled the paint out from the wall.

If you’re working on old homes, be aware of lead paint and please use a face mask when chipping or sanding paint off.

I then sanded down the whole wall with an electric sander… make sure you don’t actually care about your electric sander before subjecting it to a concrete wall. This kills the sander.

IMG_1655Make sure you also don’t care about your paint brushes… the sandy paint will murder them.

The corner picture is a fair example of the difference one coat of sealant paint makes. Pretty neat.

The lower half of the basement wall got a second coat of sealant, and I finished up with a coat of flat white over the whole wall.

I bought blue paint on an impulse, handed it to my cousin and his friend along with plenty of beers and told them to go for it.

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Oooh shiny. As a result, my basement looks MUCH less murdery.

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bonus pic.

Blank Slate

What’s simultaneously more exciting and more terrifying than a completely blank slate? I used to begin new sketchbooks from the back to the front because opening the book to all those blank pages was too intimidating. What if the drawing on the front page was terrible?

On a grander scale, I’m currently facing this with my new house. The duplex was built in the late 1940’s and is a perfect example of working class, post-war town architecture. The croppedneighborhood as it currently stands is actually pretty much the same; working class families. The house has been rented for the past 20 years, and as rental properties tend to be, it’s a bit worn down and devoid of character.

In other words, it’s a blank slate. In other words, I can’t mess it up.

This also comes with a fair bit of anxiety. I have never done this before. At all. Sure, I had painted houses before, spackled, even did some drywall. But I had never been allowed to call the shots.

What if I paint the walls too dark? What if nothing matches? What if my friends think my sense of style is ridiculous?

It took a simple door to instantly quell my anxiety. The basement door. The murder door. The door leads to the outside and was broken, peeling, and overall disgusting. I didn’t waste time sanding. I didn’t even clean it off. I just took an old paint brush and gave it a fresh coat of white. And I realized that literally anything I do will be better than the current situation.

Before_doorIMG_1697 *I will be replacing this door. Verryy soon.

Below: The blank slate as it stood in December of 2016.

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