Thursday, August 19, 2010

16 Years in the Making

We moved into our home 16 years ago, and we've slowly (emphasis on slowly) been trying to make it into my dream home.  I say "my" dream home because Dave doesn't really care, as long as a) it has four walls and a roof, and b) I'm not complaining more than usual about the state of things. 

Recently, on a whim, we had a realtor friend show us a older home - circa 1920 - that I had stumbled on online and we had visited already by ourselves (it was empty, I'm not a creepy house stalker!).  I was instantly smitten, it has the most wonderful wooden doors that were all round top, even down to the laundry chute door in the upstairs hall and a plumbing access door in an upstairs closet.  Beautiful woodwork throughout the home, a great lot, a garage apartment, and a bargain price because it needed lots of cosmetic work. Oh yeah, and a kitchen, it needed a kitchen. Cosmetic stuff, she says nonchalantly.  Of course, with a house like this, I wasn't the only one to see it's possibilities, and unfortunately, I wasn't the first one to put in an offer.  Our realtor told me the day before we were supposed to view it with her that the owners had accepted another offer, but we could still go look, if I wanted.  I wanted.  So we went, and I ate my heart out through the entire tour, loving it more and more with every turn around every corner.  So, we put in our offer, in case the first contract fell thru for some reason. 

It can happen.  

But it didn't happen, so my "dream" home is someone else's now to make over as they will.  So, in order to appease me and make me pick my bottom lip up off the floor, my hubby decides to tackle some of the projects at our house that we've been putting off.  For 16 years we've put off this job of tearing down an old, unusable chimney in our living room.  Guess how long it took us to get the initial demo done?

 2 hours. 

Yep, you read that right.  2 hours, for a job I've dreaded starting for 16 years, 2 months, and 14 days. 

2 hours.

Granted, it was a dirty, hot, messy, dirty job - did I say dirty?  But since it was over so quickly, my now industrious husband then decided it was time for us to tackle another job, which we'd been putting off until after chimney was gone.  Pulling up the carpet in the living room and hallway.  If there is anything to make you feel like a terrible, nasty, filthy housekeeper, it's pulling out carpet and seeing all the grunge that makes its way through the carpet and pad to await discovery only when the carpet and pad are ripped out by a crazy woman who wants hardwood floors.

My industrious husband, with his trusty sledgehammer
(are you humming that song Sledgehammer now?  you are welcome!)

We live in a house that constantly makes me wonder if the people who did previous work on it were 1) lunatics escaped from an insane asylum, 2) on drugs, 3) had a wickedly mean sense of humor, or d) all of the above.  I knew we had hardwood floors beneath our carpet in the living room only because one day early in our home ownership, I pulled back the corner of the dark brown, wood look linoleum in our dining room and discovered hardwood that had a painted border of such an attractive(!) shade of chocolate brown.  So we ripped out the lovely fake wood linoleum and rented a floor sander and worked ourselves to within an inch of our lives to restore the wood to it's glory.   Or at least until we decided it was as close to it's glory as we, with our limited talents, could manage. (You can see a little of the dining room floor behind my industrious hubby in the picture above)

So knowing that wood was under the carpet, pad and vinyl sticky tiles in our living room, we had always planned to someday reveal it.  However, we also knew that in their infinite wisdom, whoever installed the wood floors only ran them a small way down the hall from the living room toward the bedrooms.  It just stops, abruptly, with a change in floor height that the carpet installers camouflaged with a small 'ramp' under the carpet and pad.  See - wicked, stoned lunatics really did live here!!

We're going to leave the refinishing of the floors to a pro this time, after I finish using a heat gun to peel up the very stuck sticky tiles and scraping up the brown paint and the tile adhesive that remains.  Maybe I should have wrote "if I finish using a heat gun to peel up the very stuck sticky tiles and scraping up the brown paint and the tile adhesive that remains." So if I ever finish this job, the floor refinisher can install the wood the rest of the way down the hall, as well as patch the hole where the chimney was. 

 Stay tuned, for more Adventures in Remodeling the Lunatic's Abode (should it say Former Lunatic? maybe not, since I am currently living there...)