Monday, August 24, 2009

pink bedroom painted respectable colors

Master bedroom before:

Light pink walls, bubblegum trim, dusty rose floor.

Master bedroom now:

Antique white walls, white trim, gray/blue floor (with painter's tape still on).

We need to clean up some of the spots where paint got underneath the tape, but overall, a much better look.

The old heating grate.

Peaceful view out the bedroom window.

We'll see on Wednesday how it looks with furniture.


Friday, August 14, 2009

weeds, paint, humidity, critters

This Japanese Knotweed is apparently the plant from hell. Unchecked, it will eat your whole yard, house, family, pets. Killing it involves a long, vigilant campaign of mowing, uprooting, applying herbicide, and depriving the plants of light. Even then, the knotweed can lay dormant for up to 20 years until conditions become more favorable.

I want to avoid spraying weedkiller; no matter how safe Monsato says Roundup is, I don't want poison near me, my dogs, or in my ground water. After our neighbor was kind enough to mow the knotweed down to its stumps, we staked four heavy duty tarps over the entire patch.

It's putting up a fight under there, the pointy stems trying to slice their way through to sunlight, but without photosynthesis, it should eventually tire out. We'll see. Since the knotweed is in a low part of the yard, we may eventually fill in soil right over the tarps and plant grass.

Three coats of primer and two coats of paint later, the pink laundry room is finally green and white. I love the colors, but the lumpy wallpaper underneath looks awful. It was already painted, and we just didn't have time to peel it off before the washer and dryer were delivered. Eventually, I'd love to replace the wood laminate cabinets and redo the walls.

Rod installed a dehumidifier in the basement, and hooked it up to the sump pump. Thank god, because that basement is spider city, and I was getting tired of going down there to empty out the water. The basement is still ridiculously wet. It needs a barrier of plastic and crushed rock to keep out groundwater. I will have nothing to do with it. Too creepy down there.

Spiders, earwigs, and possibly mice have had the run of this place for almost a year. I'm shooing them out, room by room, and sucking up their homes with our new shop-vac. I feel like Mary Bailey fixing up 320 Sycamore in It's A Wonderful Life.

Next projects: paint the pink for girls and blue for boys bedrooms classy, boring colors before the movers bring our furniture on the 26th. New roof at the end of the month. Also, should we replace the rotten deck this year or buy a new refrigerator? Should we get an energy audit and learn where we need insulation? (Do we really want to know?)


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

major projects: roof, deck, yard

We've been busy working on the house, but don't have much to show for it. Applying coat after coat of primer over pink floors and trim takes time, but doesn't make exciting pictures. The new washer and dryer will be delivered next Thursday, so we'll get two coats of green on the walls in the laundry room this weekend. 
We bought a dehumidifier for the basement. 98% humidity when we turned it on; soon it'll start raining down there. Running it day and night, we've got the humidity down to around 85%. Moisture will definitely be our nemesis in this house. 
Before we get too involved in updating the aesthetics of the house, a few structural projects have to be completed. At the end of the month, we're having the roof replaced. The current shingles are wavy, in places the sheathing is pulling away from the house, and in one section there's a mystery bubble. 

Along with the roof, we're replacing the deck. The current deck is moldy and letting water into the basement, rotting the big tree trunk that holds up the dining room. Instead of pressure treated wood, we're going with cedar. The stairs to the yard will be beside the house, making it easier to let the dogs out in winter. 
We've got a patch of invasive Japanese Knotweed in the backyard. I don't mind a little patch of shrubs, but I don't want it taking over the whole yard. We're both new to lawn care. Our new manual lawn mower did an admirable job on the grass, with no gasoline, but it couldn't cut through the knotweed. We bought a propane powered weed whacker, but haven't tried it yet. Our neighbor generously came by with his power mower and sliced the weeds  down to their stubs. We're thinking about covering this patch with a tarp, and since it's a low spot filling it in with soil and eventually grass seed.  

We haven't yet addressed the home's shoddy insulation or rotted front door. Hopefully we have the time and resources to work on them before winter. It's a major fixer-upper. 
On the bright side, here are a few details of the house we really like:
This ridiculous built-in dresser in the guest bedroom.
A claw-foot tub with toes!
Old-fashioned sinks (that need a good scrub and polish).
Wooden bannister along the stairs.
We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Pictures of repainted rooms next week.