Wednesday, March 16, 2005

our little white colonial money pit

Since we moved in on October 29th, I have had several moments of being totally and utterly overwhelmed with the lists of to-dos on the house. When the hubs and I started house-hunting, we subscribed completely to the "location location location" theory, and we could be heard many a time professing to our real estate agent that we would take a house that needed work in order to afford the neighborhood we wanted. To tell you the truth, we had no idea what that meant. We put offers in on these awful houses that had no redeeming qualities other than the neighborhood. When you walked into the kitchens and bathrooms you could actually smell the rot coming from within the walls. The basements and roofs had to be completely redone, some had no closets. Idealistic idiots. And can you believe that we were disappointed when we didn't get them?

When we stumbled across this house, we found this lovely older couple who had owned it for 33 years. It was obviously loved and well-cared for and they made the decision not to hold an open house because they didn't want people trooping through their home. I took one look at the little white colonial on the pretty street in the right neighborhood and knew this was it. I could look past the orange, green, blue and brown carpets (different rooms=different colors), the mismatched shutters, the orange and blue flowered wallpaper, the tile on the bathroom ceiling. This was our future home.

We made an offer that night and asked for an answer in the morning. We even wrote them a letter telling them how much we loved their house and how badly we wanted them to choose our offer. Thankfully for us, they were saps too and wanted the young couple who loved their house to own it. And that is how we came to own our little colonial money pit.

I dreamed about everything we would do to the house for the 4 months between our offer and the closing. I obsessively collected paint chips, home decorating magazines and fabric swatches. I couldn't sleep some nights thinking about how excited I was to be in a place where I could choose the colors and the style. I felt like it was our home even before it really was.

On October 29th we were so excited that we drove straight from the closing to the house and started tearing down wallpaper in our dressy clothes. That first day we tore down wallpaper in the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, living room and hallways. Then came the glue. Days and days of scraping glue. I hate wallpaper by the way, but I hate glue sooooo much more. Then days of tearing up carpeting that had been down for 40 years. Do you know what happens to carpet padding over 40 years? It disintegrates and becomes a disgusting mess. The poor hubs hands were swollen for DAYS from pulling up carpet tacks and staples.

We got so much done those first two weeks that I was sure we would have a beautifully finished house in no time. But then things (read: WE) slowed down and the lists grew longer. The floors under the carpets needed refinishing, every room needed painting, every ceiling needed painting, and the list goes on and on.

I have to remind myself that we have done a lot, even though I feel like it has been forever since we moved in...
1. Took down wallpaper in kitchen, bathroom, dining room, living room, hallway and stairs.
2. Painted kitchen, (2) bathrooms, dining room, living room, hallway, stairs, 2 bedrooms and one office.
3. Took up carpets and padding in dining room, living room, hallway, stairs and 3 bedrooms.
4. Had floors refinished in all above rooms.
5. Moved in and unpacked.
6. Took up carpet and then recarpeted (by ourselves) in the office.
7. Hung curtains.
8. Purchased some new furniture and rugs for whole house.
9. Changed lighting fixtures and medicine cabinets in bathrooms.
10. Plus the hubs had to replace the heating panels (those things that control the heat, I don't know what they are called)

So we aren't complete slackers, right?

Now that we are here doing all this work, though, and I look back at houses that we almost bought, I just thank our lucky stars that we ended up here. Our little money pit doesn't even have any structural problems, it just wasn't our taste in decorating.

We are approaching 6 months in our first home and of course there are things that aren't done and no housewarming held yet.

Any volunteers out there? I just need trim painted, basement refinished and gardening done! I can pay you in carrot cake cupcakes!


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