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Kelly home renovations, Week 1

Do you know what I mean when I talk about the utter satisfaction of white paint? The catharsis that comes with  rolling a coat of clean white paint over a wall studded with grease, dog prints and the history of a thousand foreign fingerprints? It’s a feeling of release, that I imagine unwinds the tight strings of my muscles and lowers my shoulders just a fraction of an inch in a moment of pure happiness.

Ok, so maybe I am a bit type A, and maybe I am overthinking this, but I really love what a coat of paint can do to a room. I’ve had the pleasure of that moment of joy about 47 times this week, as we’ve been working through room by room, painting each surface with Behr premium dual paint and primer with low VOC. The magnitude of that moment has reduced a bit with frequency, as all strong emotions are apt to be dulled via repetition and time, and I can’t say that I love spending every evening with a roller in hand (I’d vastly prefer a drink, but then there is that whole growing a son in my womb thing at play, too.)  I’ve cleaned paint brushes nightly and ran to the Home Depot for more paint three times now and we’re still not done, but we’ve definitely made significant progress on the house in our first week of home ownership and I am excited to share it with you.

Our goals prior to move in day (which we’re hoping comes prior to baby’s eviction day!) were to address the flooring and walls. Everything else we can do later, but those large things require open space, time for fumes to disperse and are a whole lot easier without furniture so they have been prioritized. Except- when you renovate nothing ever goes exactly to plan and when you start one project you begin to realize that although you tried to predict what other things might have a direct effect on this first project, there’s probably something else you didn’t expect to have to consider at the same time, that now makes sense to consider because of its dependencies. For sake of example, let’s talk about the floors.

The day we received our keys, Troy’s first move was to sink and exacto knife into the emerald green carpet and begin to rip it out. We aren’t carpet people, I hate vacuuming, and we definitely wanted to change the color scheme of the room (a scheme I have affectionately dubbed the Taco Time color palette, as it consists of dusty rose and emerald green hues that make me crave a soda with pebbled ice and a Veggie Fit Hit bowl.) Upon removing the carpet, we finally got to see the condition of the original fir floors that we knew were underneath. Though there was obviously significant work to do to clean them up, we were encouraged to find them in pretty good shape, with just one coat of paint on top that we identified as simply “annoying that it is there Latex” and not “entirely toxic and cannot be disturbed lead” paint. So far so good.

In the dining area and entry, hardwood had been laid on top of the original floors and nailed in. This was a bit harder to remove and required a crew and some crow bars. Luckily, on Saturday family and friends began streaming into the house around 9 am, all eager to help us. We couldn’t feel more thankful to the work they have put in to help us get settled. Having everyone we love around the house has already begun to make it feel like a home, so thank you to all who have stopped by, painted, demo’d, let us borrow tools, brought dinner, and provided us with loving company through this busy and stressful week.

One night later in the week, after the living, dining, hall, office and downstairs bedroom floors had been revealed, Troy and my dad began to ponder about the likelihood of the same flooring continuing into the kitchen. So this happened:




Sure enough, trapped under a layer of linoleum and tar paper, the floors peeked through. In the process of removing the  old cabinets to reveal the entire floor so work could begin to refinish it, a wood window in the kitchen was broken. So next we ordered 3 new vinyl windows. And finally, we ordered the replacement lower cabinets for the kitchen. To recap so far, in the process of re-doing our floors, we ended up expanding the flooring project to the kitchen, replacing 3 windows, and replacing our lower cabinets.

But we weren’t done yet. The flooring stressors continued as we debated whether to pay for a professional to re-finish the floors from start to finish, lay over the top of the old floors with a new floating hardwood floor, or try to refinish the floors ourselves. Aesthetics and budget were the big consideration factors, especially as our limited budget now had to accommodate the windows and cabinet costs. After a couple of quote and scheduling issues, we found a custom floor refinisher who is willing to work out a happy medium with us: we take care of the majority of the prep work, and he will provide the proper, professional final sand and clear coat of finish at a very affordable price per square foot.

Inside, I rejoiced at the prospect of preserving these century old hardwoods, including every rustic dent and scratch, while Troy wilted a bit and tried to maintain a positive outlook on his long week ahead. Though he’d already removed the flooring on top (including chipping away at linoleum pieces, scraping tar paper, and pounding out the hardwood splinter by splinter) the carpet staples still needed to be removed and the entire first floor had to be sanded down with an industrial sander and heavy grit paper to remove the paint and polyurethane finish.

And so leads us to today. The first floor is prepped for the final sand, the rose wall paper in the living room was sprayed with remover and scraped off in a process that was easier than any of us expected, and the majority of the walls upstairs and down have that fresh clean coat of white paint that so pleases me. Except the many walls that have the color that is supposedly Cathedral Grey and appears very purple in the lighting in our house- those have a purple-grey, and they will for a long while until I feel like picking up a paint brush again.


Please keep up the prayer…

The "glass" behind the garden to glass cocktails, Belinda is the owner of the Happy Camper Cocktail Company, bartender, recipe developer, younger sister and karaoke lover.

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