Thursday, June 12, 2008

our house

Our house is now the cleanest and least cluttered I think any living space of ours has ever been or will ever be. We have worked our tails off, along with a few paid professionals, and we now have a house that I think is more than just presentable. It looks bright and airy and clean. I'd even buy this place. Oh yeah, I already did.

Last night, I started to feel the need to honour our home and the work we put into it; I felt a little like I was abandoning some small loved thing (nothing like a child, maybe a hamster?). This morning, my mom was all, "It looks so nice I bet you don't want to sell it now," but no. I still want to move, I just want to take a moment to honour the memories this house has watched unfold.

We've put a lot of work into this house. Our blood, sweat and tears literally line its floors. Mostly the front hall floor. I remember when we bought a coworker made fun of me for picking the ugliest house we could find. She was right. I was embarrassed to be buying a house at the age of 26, and I fancied myself a home renovator. I was wrong.

One of our first tasks was ripping up the ugly linoleum in the front hall and dining room, and ugly pissed-on 50-year-old-if-it-was-a-day carpet in the living room. The carpet was easy, and so was the first layer of linoleum, but then we found another layer. And this one was laminated onto chipboard sheets, which had clearly been nailed down by someone with a fancy-schmancy, brand spanking new, can't use it too much nailgun. In other words, the perimeter of each sheet had two nails per inch all the way around.

We started to work at it, but the chipboard just chipped off. It was right around this time that Sugar D and I nearly broke up. We freaked out, he went for a walk and I cried on the stairs, feeling trapped and solely reponsible for it, and wondering if he would come back. He did, we calmed down, and decided that even if we were just going to turn around and sell the house tomorrow, we had to just get through that damn floor. It took days of chipping every fucking square inch of that damn floor off. We tried different crowbars, and anything else we could think of. Eventually we figured out that pitch forks worked the best. But still it was slow, slow work. Nails pierced our shoes. It was July, and hot. We dripped with sweat and still had energy to bicker and argue about how to proceed.

We discovered that only the front hall had hardwood underneath, and the other rooms had this weird sort of masonite tiles floor. Once we got all the chipboard up we spent another full day or so pulling the leftover nails or hammering them in if we couldn't get them out. By that time we'd had enough of ripping out floors and decided just to live with the strange dirty flooring. Upstairs, the situation was a bit better. The stairs and hallway had the same ugly 50-year-old doggy carpet as the living room, and it came up not too badly. The pine floors underneath were painted, probably with lead paint. Another room had a couple of layers of linoleum, but they were only stapled down so they came up easily enough. Once refinished, the floors came up beautifully.

We also did work in the kitchen, which had ugly fake wood panelling half way up the walls. People warned me not to be too ambitious with taking that off, because it's usually up there to hide things. Um, yeah, they were right. Underneath the fake wood panelling was fake tile panelling, which was almost the same colour of green I'd picked out for the walls and actually kind of cute, except for the large areas of some black, tarry, paint-like substance. So we pulled that down, and it pulled large areas of the plaster down with it, except for the areas where the toxic adhesive remained all gluey-like. Yum. Long, long story short, we somehow removed the glue and paid someone to replaster the walls. Two years later, we painted them.

Unfortunately, if unsurprising, my before pictures are all packed away and I have no idea which box they're in. So I can only give you some of the afters, taken last night:

(eventually we covered the strange flooring with laminate)

(our bedroom doesn't look nearly so fancy in real life, although the lack of dirty laundry strewn on the floor does wonders for it)

(our backyard is suddenly much, much tidier than it was a few short days ago)

Sorry for the boredom... I tend to obsess about this shit. Plus, our house looks way better than I could have imagined.

PS Just got off the phone. Our listing just went up this morning and we already have our first viewing tonight. Woohoo!


Mimi said...

I was going to email you about the pictures: your house looks great! I felt much the same way you do about leaving that first house ... guilty but needing to honour it. Interesting.

Kyla said...

It looks great! You did this house well.

niobe said...

So, have you already planned renovation projects for the new house? Or perhaps it doesn't need any work?

cinnamon gurl said...

Oh God Niobe, I don't want to do any more renovation projects.

(Except there are some things that we COULD do... I'm just trying to hold myself back from them, because we are not DIYers. Also it depends what we get for our house.)

Bea said...

I checked out the listing and your house should go fast. To quote my real estate agent, "it is a hot cake."

Beck said...

Your house looks beautiful!
And we actually are handy - well, by "we" I mean "my husband" - but we're chronically broke and so we just never renovate and live in a wreck. It's sad.

cinnamon gurl said...

Bea, you'll notice the listing didn't include a pic of the bathroom. It's our achilles heel.

Andrea said...

It's lovely. Good luck! I hope it goes fast and you get more than you asked for.

And wow, that's a lot of work you did on that place.

Janna said...

The house looks amazing (and so does the quilt!). I finally started two quilts in Africa.
Whose backyard is that???
Sorry - couldn't resist. And my mom made the same comment (about 20 times - can you hear my teeth gritting?). I also felt the same way, proud but still happy to sell...maybe also a bit sheepish that we didn't make the effort earlier and enjoy the place more...good luck tonight!!!

Janna said...

I just noticed that Blogger didn't adjust the time correctly..

Magpie said...

I like your house - it looks great.

Anonymous said...

Your house (ex-house, I guess) looks awesome. So very you.

I bought a house at 26, too. And signing up for a mortgage did seem like I was playing at being a grown up.