Non-Squalor Home: Check.

About a month ago, we had contractors come and quote us for a couple of projects around the house. Among them was an estimate to finish the downstairs room- what was once a second kitchen, and was now a very real eyesore/storage unit amalgamation of awesome.

They asked us what we wanted to do. We answered with the usual; new shelving, finished walls, maybe a new countertop, definitely a wet bar, perhaps a gas fireplace, a pool table, a craft table, an indoor swimming pool, and a good place for Jazzercise. We weren’t picky. We got two quotes. One for 5k and the other for 8k. We scaled back our requests- okay, maybe just make it a liveable space? Still 5k and/or 8k.

Looks clean in this pic. It ain’t.

Now, if you’ll remember, this room has been a source of crazy since Day One. It was originally a lumber yard when we moved in- a place to build necessary things like doors, baseboards, and wooden spikes to stick in one’s eye when full Homeowner Realization set in. Then it was an apartment storage unit for a good friend. (For a year.) Once all of that got cleared out, I carried all of the remaining building supplies out into the yard during an exceptionally long nap of Nora’s. (Then I spent the next day tending to my sprained arms, legs, and face.) I scrubbed. I painted. I shelved. But it still looked dirty, grimy, and mostly unfinished.

Some of you will recall that, this past summer (whilst hugely pregnant), P.J., my sis Kate, and I undertook some minor demolition of a Formica island (which would be a good name for a slasher flick) and found…water damage, rot, and holes drilled directly into the [ugly] ceramic tile.

So we got an exceptionally good mold remediation/demolition team to dig out, eradicate, and repair. They did a great job. But, when they were done, we still had a half-painted, fully plastered room with loads of storage junk in it.

Pregnant gal. Water damaged

That brings us to this weekend. And since 8k is way too much to spend on an auxiliary room in our home (and since spending 8k on any room would instantly make it The Nicest Room In Our Home), I decided to Get. It. Done. Myself. (A game which P.J. haaates.)

We donated a ton of, well, junk. Threw out bags n’ bags. We sold some more. We Craigslisted a very comfy- but very much so on its last legs- easy chair…which, moments after we placed it out back was vandalized and stripped of all metal springs and supports by a marauding scrapper truck. (Darn you SCRAPPERS!!!) I scrubbed and scraped some more. Painted and edged and painted and edged. Pale spring green and white and pale spring green and white. Covered a teal window well with five coats of white paint. Decided that the bright green horizontal blinds in the small window would have to stay. Decided that the cracked vinyl of the picture window would have to stay. Decided that the ceramic tile styled after a Miami hotel from the 1970s would have to stay…for the entire level.

But the ugly, greasy, and chipped cabinets gracing an entire wall? The holdover from when this was a garden apartment’s trashed kitchen, complete with broken, water-filled appliances (the only ones in the house upon our move-in)? Those, I could do. I painted and refaced and painted and refaced. (White and white and white and white.)

It felt good that I was reclaiming an area of this house from its former squalor.

It felt good that this room no longer incited me to vomit and/or cry.

The lighting does this pic NO favors,
but it’s the same angle as the first pic. And
yes, there is fruit on the rug. Baby steps.

I kept going, painting a green Formica corner shelf. (Painting things white is my way of saying- there now, this never happened. Shh.) We hung up a vintage framed Volkswagen poster. An 8×10 of Peter Sellers. An 8×10 of Scott Bakula. (‘Cause, if you’ll remember, I know him. From this time period.) Shoved a papasan chair in the corner. Plugged in a lamp.

Now we have one really cozy little corner…and a gigantic, extremely clean, and extremely empty room.

Just perfect for putting down a Jazzercise mat.



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