Coming Soon!

I’m happy to say that I’ll be writing two guest reviews for iScotch.ca in the coming weeks, which is a tremendously fun opportunity for me. Thirty Year House isn’t just a blog about the house we’ll own for the next thirty years, this is a blog about having lives again, to be frank. We gave all our time, heart, sweat and attention to our townhouse because it was a stepping stone to this house, and we’re damn tired. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with friends and having a chance to play with other kids. Of course, since we’re adults, “playing with our friends” can mean guest posts in blogs!

So coming up soon, I’ll be writing about scotch from Highland Park distillery, which is the most northern distillery in Scotland. This will be unbelievably interesting because I’m not a big drinker anymore, the only time I’ve had scotch it was at the end of a marathon evening of drinking whereupon it FINISHED ME, and I have zero experience or knowledge of how to appreciate food and drink. Ernest Goes To Scotland, basically. Peat?! Hoy-uck! In mah drinkin’ glass?? Golly!

I’ll also be writing a piece on Ungava gin. Ungava gin is currently considered by some to be the best gin in the world, and it happens to be made in Nunavik, on the Ungava Peninsula. For those who are wondering what Nunavik is (a territory you’ve never heard of?), Nunavik is a comprehensive land claim agreement and region. You’re in for a treat, because my day job is related to comprehensive land claims and I’ll be pairing talk of the drink with talk of the region.

In honour of the scotch and feeling like an imposter when it comes to writing about the appreciation of spirits, here’s some Dallas Green, “Death of Me“.

Tell Me You’re Going To Blog This

…is what my coworker said to me as she cried with laughter when I told her about cleaning our jetted bath tub.

When we got the house, we photographed the jetted bath tub because it was so disgusting. The previous owners had used (and left behind) a rubber mat in the tub. It was stained orange-brown with long hairs wrapped up in its suction cupped bottom. The jets were stained, grimy, and clearly had hair caught up in them too. It needed an exorcism, is what I’m saying. Second best: kill it with fire from space.

Now, I’ve often described hot tubs as “a crockpot of people sweat and genital secretions with a testicle bouquet garni“. I mean, a jetted tub has water lines, and the water lines are full of the water from the last bather, right? Ugh. My house has a stanky “hot tub”, now more like a “cold tub”, which I would probably prefer to call “an infection tub”.

Cleaners were hired to clean out the house, and while they made the bottom of the tub shine, they wouldn’t do anything about the jets. It was left to us. Inexplicably, they scrubbed the rubber mat clean and folded it up. ….I have NO idea.

Our home inspector had suggested that we use one cup of bleach, a full tub of water, and then run the jets for a good long while to clear the system out. Therefore, the night we moved in Mark and I went to WalMart to buy bleach and a new blanket for the dog. We were dead tired, and we stood in front of the racks of bleach in quiet contemplation. Mark reached down and picked out the cheapest, smallest bottle of bleach I’ve ever seen. It said, simply, Extra Strong Bleach. No brand name.

“Mark, don’t you want to get Clorox or Javex or something? A brand name?”

Mark rocked gently on his feet, like a zombie waiting for a thought or impulse to occur.

“There’s a lot of Clorox and stuff, like, I think there’s a reason why. I think that stuff is… better.”

Mark just stood there, turning grey from exhaustion. I caved immediately. He was DONE. I couldn’t explain why people bought Clorox and Javex instead of Extra Strong Bleach, I knew there was a reason, I figured it had to do with scent, none of the Clorox bottles mentioned scent, and my man was dying in front of me. It seemed important to get him home ASAP and just go to bed. The monetary difference wasn’t a huge deal, and there was no evidence that the brand names were better than Extra Strong Mystery Acid.

Huge. Mistake.

1) Never cut your boyfriend/fiancé any slack. Never.

2) Trust your gut.

We went home, the dog loved his new blanket, and the next afternoon it was time to take on the tub. I’d be lying if I said I was dismayed. I love really dirty things – I love to clean them. I love to clean complicated VERY dirty things, like children’s toys and hamster mazes and yes, jetted tubs. The weirder the object, the more satisfying the work. During the move we’d found a really old toothbrush and I was elated. I would use it to clean out the jets! YES. So excited! I was already feeling the glowing satisfaction of a pristine white tub with that bleach fresh smell and polished up jets. I could visualize it. I love the smell of Javex. I was SO ready to do this ugly job.

The toothbrush worked wonders. I was so satisfied. Everything was working out.

I plugged up the tub and turned the water on, heat on max. As the steam began to rise, I opened up the bottle of Extra Strong Bleach. I recalled that the home inspector had said to use one cup of the stuff but naawwww. I wanted my tub to be sterilized. I broke the safety seal very carefully and poured until my feelings said I’d reached the right point.

The stench of cat pee blossomed like a nuclear mushroom cloud.

BLEACH IS MADE FROM AMMONIA. Jesus god I think I knew that but like I didn’t understand. Javex and Clorox are probably leading bleach brands because their products are made from ammonia (probably, maybe there are different origins for bleach) but don’t stink of cat piss!

Even worse, I am so allergic to cats that the smell of ammonia was making my skin crawl. CATS ARE NEAR: I CAN SMELL THEM said Paranoid and Allergic!Janine. WE SHOULD BREAK OUT IN HIVES, MAYBE.

The hot water was shunted to cold to reduce the spreading stench, and I closed the bathroom door. I didn’t have any rubber gloves, there wasn’t enough water in the tub to dilute the bleach to the point that it wouldn’t melt the flesh off my hands (because I’d dosed the tub until my feelings said stop!) so I was committed. I worked on priming the bedroom ceiling as I listened to the tub fill, considering the eternal conundrum: can a tub be sterile if it smells like cat piss? It had never occurred to me that the answer to that might be an emphatic yes. Considering there was a third of a bottle of bleach in there…

Eventually, the tub filled to the point that the uppermost jet was covered with three or four centimeters of water. I cannot emphasize enough at this juncture that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I have no experience with jetted tubs.

The power switch is outside the bathroom. You flip the power to the tub on, I suppose you’re supposed to get in, then you push a water proofed button on the tub to start the jet function. I flipped on the power, I turned on the tub, and an incredibly loud rumble signalled that Things Were Happening. The water in the tub was suddenly moving and then BAM. Like a vision of the water fountains in Versailles being started for the day, the two jets on the back of the tub began to stream water. For one hot second they were contained under the water line, but they rose above the waterline as the motor under the tub revved up to full strength.

At first I thought it was going to be okay but no.

I recall seeing them rise about an inch above the water line, but nothing after that because that’s when I began to react to the instinctual knowledge (by this point I was all about instincts) that I was in shit. I don’t know what I did, it happened so fast, but the ultimate outcome is that those two jets blasted me in the face with heavily bleached water. I was turning away when it happened (instincts!) so my right eye took the brunt of it, but I want to be clear that my entire face was thoroughly soaked. My nostrils were full of cat pissy water, my right EAR was full of it, and worst of all my eyes were saturated.

Oh shit.

Oh shit oh shit.

MY EYES. I kinda need those?

Oh shit.

But it wasn’t done, the jets weren’t at full strength when they got me. No, at full strength those bastards were hosing down the bathroom vanity and mirror. I was ineffectually batting at the water, trying to deflect it back into the tub with my hands but it was a fools errand. The floor began to run with water when I recalled that I could kill the power to the jets from outside the room.

I did so.

The water foundation died instantly, and the water falling to the floor made a self-amused slap when it hit the puddles on the tile.

My whole world was the stench of cat piss. My eyes were doing alright, so I dried off my face, but as Mark came to ask why I had been screaming, it started. My right eye began to burn.

Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit.

I ran to the other upstairs bathroom, turned on the shower, aimed the shower head at the wall and for the first time in my life EVER, I held my eyes open under running water. Even with the water running over my face, filling my right ear, everything EVERYTHING ALL THE THINGS smelled like cat pee. Everything. My eyeballs were like *scccreeeaammmmmmm* of horror because they knew. They knew. They weren’t damaged by the bleach, my eye sight is fine, but they knew. They were scared. They knew they also smelled of cat piss. They weren’t happy about it.

Mark taught me that a jetted tub needs to be filled up to at least an inch to two inches above the highest jet. Where were you when I needed you BEFORE, O Fount Of Jetted Tub Wisdom That Is Called Fiancé? An inch of water is enough to deflect the strength of the jets. We ran the tub for an hour, and when it was done the jets were glossy white and yeah, cat pissy.

I drained the tub and refilled it with hot water, and an all purpose LAVENDER scented household cleaner to get the cat pissy water out of the lines. I cleaned up the standing water on the floor (cat pissy towels!) but to my surprise, the bathroom mirror dried itself and is SPARKLING.

So…. cat pissy silver lining?

Moving Day

Mark left to get the moving truck about 5 minutes ago, and I let Zaphod out of the master bedroom where he’s been snoozing.

“Where’s the Man!!!?!”

“He’s gone to get the moving truck.”

“What’s that?!?”

“Hunh?”

“What’s ‘moving truck’ mean?”

“Oh! Oh dear. Zaphod, when a man and a woman love a house very much, sometimes they…”

“IS ‘MOVING TRUCK’ A NEW DOG?!?!”

“No, baby.”

Further Developments

….and so, in the fullness of time, we took possession of the Apple House, and it was good.

A day’s worth of time of a cleaning crew was given unto us, and today they cleaned up the Flies, and the House was no longer the House of Flies, it was rebirthed as the House of Body Hair That The Cleaners Missed.

Lo, a phone call was made, and the cleaning lady was made to return on the morrow to finish the job because SRSLY. The house is empty, you have the time to clean out the insides of the bathroom cabinets. The Word of the Lord, amen.

And in that time it was discovered that the powder room sink leaks terribly, and that the powder room sink cabinet needs to be removed, and a new sink must be purchased, and new taps, and there was much rejoicing, for LO I DO LOVE RENOVATION, and verily this is my jam.

The dessicated poop that was revealed to all in the master bathroom toilet was rehydrated and flushed, praise be unto Me, who used an orange juice jug to refill the toilet, and who laughed the entire time for indeed it was SO GROSS and yet, I did say I wishethed for a challenge.

For thine is thy fixer upper, the power tools and the stories, earl grey tea lattés, amen.

Hello My Name Is

I should probably get around to introducing myself. I’m the OTHER HALF. Mark, by name. Known across a multitude of car forums by.. well, that’s not important, is it?

 And I had originally thought I’d just talk about my thoughts for the house, and my priorities and the fun we were going to have talking out design ideas and… but that’s not the way Janine and I work. And anyone who knows us, knows it. I had my thoughts on the home inspection: my priorities are always the function over form (car too: give me performance, and it can look like hell) first, which means all the nits that are picked (she’s going to change that before this gets posted, mark my words) in a home inspection got a viable, italicized list, with fixes and estimated costs and…

 Screw that. It’s not time for that yet.

 So, lets start here, with Janine’s own words:

Game over, seller.

 Your junk pile is ours.

 It’s mine to turn into a gem, and it’s his to turn into the ultimate support system for the garage. (We have different priorities, and that’s fine, because I respect his garage and he doesn’t say no to my paint choices.) People need boundaries and their own “spaces”.

 

The statement there isn’t entirely accurate. It’s KIND OF ACCURATE. Yes, the garage is gonna be a definite play thing for me, and yes, there’ll be design stuff to deal with there.

 I do say no to her paint choices. Regularly. At which point, there’s ranting and raving, because I don’t know the difference between oatmeal and creme grey, and dammit, it’s OBVIOUS when you look at it in the 3pm light on a fall day during the equinox. or something.

 I don’t know interior design, is what I’m saying, but I know waht I like. And I know that if I don’t know what something is going to look like ahead of time, I inherently dislike it on the face of the discussion.

 This makes Janine bonkers.

 This making Janine bonkers makes me bonkers.

 You can see why we get along, right?

 There’s currently an ongoing war about whether or not there will be a plethora of pink in the house. It goes like this:

 Janine: I’m going to do this, this and this, it’s these wonderful pink shades

Mark: No pink. Seriously.

Janine: it’s more a salmon/peach type of flavor

Mark: It’s pink. You just said it was pink. it looks pink.

Janine: it won’t in the sun between 3pm and 4pm, in the fall, it’ll look rosy and warm.

Mark: *gets out phone to google* “rosy”. That’s PINK. YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ME.

Janine: it’ll be fine WHY WON’T YOU TRUST MY VISION?

Mark: Because your vision is PINK!

Janine: it’s not!

Mark: it is!

Janine: It’s not!

Mark: It is!

Janine: FINE I’M DOING IT ANYWAY.

Mark: NO PINK!

 This is only half in jest. It’s at least fifty percent of the truth. Maybe less.

 Mostly, what I’m saying is, we have very different visions, and extremely different ways of attacking projects. She’s talked a bunch about design and color already, both interior and exterior. I’m not really thinking about any of those things. And honestly, despite the somewhat facetious display above, I’m generally fine with what she’s looking at doing, style-wise. She did brilliantly with the townhouse, before we sold it. In reality, our tastes are similar, with hers being more adventurous than mine.

 Where we really differ is the way we attack projects. She is superbly detail oriented. She’s said it herself, she’s a perfectionist, and she gets hung up on the details. I, on the other hand, dig my hands in and sweat.I pre-plan like crazy, and get all my supplies together first. I don’t mind breaking things, I don’t mind building them, and (with a laptop and google handly) I don’t have any issues doing something I’ve never done before. I can get plumbing right… after she points me in the right direction for the correct style fixtures. I’ve done laminate flooring, a deck, spent a summer doing roofing. I worked in landscaping for years, and while my kneejerk reaction to landscaping now is “pave it all”, if you need a tree trimmed or stump dug out I’ll be in there with an ax and shovel and that tree WILL get moved. And I’ll make you some nice lookin’ flowerbeds when it’s done. I’ll fix my own tools where I can, and happily.

 I am king, with a caulk-gun.

And I’ll provide design input where I feel appropriate. Because I can, and it’s not all about the garage.

 I’m looking forward to this house. Janine and I have really disparate views on where it all goes (the kitchen alone is going to cause a multitude of high volume discussions, I’m already sure) but it’s going to be fun along the way. There are design cues throughout the house that I want to pick up, and as she said, the garage will be a thing that gets done in the same way. there’s no need to neglect that space: I plan on spending a lot of time there with friends and fellow enthusiasts. I’m a garage kind of guy. So, it’s gonna be interesting, and useful.

What you’ll probably see from me here (as you may already have guessed) is counterpoint to Janine’s more regular discussions. Also, probably a bunch of step-by-step DIY stuff, and documentation of the colossal fuck-ups I’m undoubtedly going to make. And the garage and basement plans, and probably a lot of landscaping. The individual fixes that are, in and each, minor, but put together, much larger and more time consuming. And the general high-larity that will come from doing all of this, and living the life with Janine.

Planning Ahead

There’s a lot of snow outside, and even more filling up the driveway of the Apple House. Mark and I drove past it while on Christmas vacation, and the city snow plows had given us a seasonal gift of a 4 foot high wall of compacted snow and ice. No one is clearing off the path to the front door either, although some hard core postal worker is still trudging up to the front door to leave fliers. Poor bastard… also, poor us, because we are in for a nightmare of a workout. Thank the LORD I go to the gym.
 
Despite the fact that it’s the season for hot drinks, mountains of blankets, roaring fireplaces and movie marathons, I think both Mark and I are a bit obsessed with thoughts of spring and the exterior of the house. We were at the house because it had warmed up unexpectedly and snow was melting, and we wanted to know if the snow on the very very messed up roof of the Apple House was melting. We were in for such a great surprise! Despite all the snow we’ve had this winter, the prevailing winds in our new ‘hood picked up the snow from the East roof faces and dumped it all on the West roof faces. The weak spot in the roof, the big crisis spot that we wanted patched so urgently, is on the East side of the house and miracle of miracles, there was only about an inch of snow over that spot. The West side of the house had about a foot of snow, and it was forming an incredibly impressive drift over the front of the house! The Apple House looks like an emo kid with a heavy sweep of bangs hanging in his/her eyes.
 
I fell in a snowbank. I am a graceful Canadian swan. 
I pulled myself out by holding onto our Subaru Forester. 
When I ran out of station wagon to hold onto, I almost fell back into the snowbank.
Mark couldn’t even look at me, it was so embarrassing to watch.
 
That’s not the only creeping I’ve been doing, though. I’ve been working on figuring out what to do to improve the exterior of the house. Right now, the house is the worst of the 1980s in Canada. Any Canadian (who would notice these kinds of things) will tell you that in the late ’70s and in the ’80s, there was this insane Canadian civic love affair with dark chocolate brown: libraries were painted chocolate brown, park signs were chocolate brown with yellow letters, trim on houses were glossy chocolate brown OH GOD THE MEMORIES. Everything that was provided to the public by the provincial or municipal governments (it seemed) got painted chocolate brown! Our house kind of falls into that category: cream vinyl siding, red brick, and dark chocolate brown trim (and shutters).
 
This colour combination has always strongly reminded me of a nanaimo bar, which isn’t BAD because yum? But it’s dated to be sure. Since we have to put a new roof and new windows on the house, we’re in a position to make significant changes to the appearance of the house. This is brilliant! However, if you’re gonna be choosing a new roof and new windows, it’s a good idea to have a vision for the whole exterior. The roof will come from one supplier, the windows from another, so it really falls to the homeowner to have a master plan.
 
So what do you do with a red brick and cream vinyl siding house? (Answer: google image search the crap out of red brick houses!)
 
The internet seems to say that your only options for a red brick house  are black shutters with white trim and windows, but that’s pretty much what we have now and it doesn’t look good at all. It really, really looks… dark? Dirty? Boring?
 
I decided to assume that the windows would have charcoal grey trim (more on that later), and that the roof would be a medium grey. The choice of roof colour is a big deal: the darker your roof, the more heat it’ll create and the more your insulation will have to work at keeping your house cool. Since that’s the case, I think a medium grey will be both dark enough to have class, and will be light enough to not create too much heat.
 
After futzing around with Microsoft paint and trying out a wide variety of colours, I created a milky oxblood red (applied to the shutters, front door and garage door) that just happens to look absolutely incredible with a charcoal windows and cream vinyl siding. The look is very “modern farmhouse”.
 
I’m hoping that in real life we’ll find a garnet/oxblood house paint that looks absolutely incredible with the existing brick. The colour I created on my computer is darker, browner and somehow has a smooth milky-ness that sets off the brick instead of creating a sense that the whole damn house is an OXO cube. Win!
 
But the tricky part becomes this: in my successful mock up with the imaginary oxblood house paint, my starting point was those grey frame windows. The mock ups with pure white window frames clashed with the cream coloured siding.
 
Well, we have a quote for getting grey frame windows, but they’re more expensive than white windows. So now my question is…
 
…if I wanted to put grey framed windows on the parts of the house that face the street, and white frame windows everywhere else, would that be such a crime?

Getting To Work

One of the interesting things about the Apple House is that the bathrooms were recently renovated, and they’re nicely done. There’s no reason to undo decent work, even if it isn’t exciting stuff. I would never waste well done construction, I’ll make it work. My starting point is a little… dark, though.

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The walls and ceiling are a shade of blue-grey (not a bad choice, previous owners) and obviously the vanity light doesn’t throw much light. That’s outrageous! ITS ONLY FUNCTION IS TO THROW LIGHT. Light fixtures of the world: you serve a noble purpose! You throw light around rooms for people who can’t see in the dark. You’re noble, you save lives when you do your jobs well. This light, though, is giving y’all a bad reputation. I need a solution.

The bathroom vanity is original to the house, the counter top is laminate, the sink is fairly new, the taps are okay. Given all of this, I think I’ll donate the entire unit to Habitat for Humanity. It can be installed in a house right now, or sold to support building houses for low income families. I’m 100% into that, always.

Here’s where my head is at:

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In 2007, I took a solo trip to Morocco and I took a lot of pictures, like you do. I worked really hard on developing my pictures, probably too much, because as soon as I had them printed and was satisfied with them, I became unbearably bored with my prints and just wanted to get rid of them. I never hung them unless I had to (had to is defined as staging the house or doing a rush job on decorating a room for guests).

Here’s the game plan:

- paint the room cream, or a warm creamy pale grey;

- reframe some of my photography into slimmer frames, suitable for lying very flat on the wall in a high traffic area,

- the West Elm shower curtain (shown above) is already in the mail;

- remove the towel bar, and install multiple towels bars across the room for multiple guests;

- a new vanity, very modern, with warm wood tones;

- I brought back two hand of Fatima door knockers from Morocco. One is antique and graceful, the other is very small and crude, but very very sweet. The smaller hand was a gift for Mark, the antique is mine. They’ve been waiting for a home for 7 years, and it’s about time I put them up somewhere. Maybe one on the bathroom door, maybe one the vanity or on the medicine cabinet.

- the vanity top  with integral sink in pure white, to bounce some light around;

- find a mirror like the one in the inspiration photograph in the upper right hand corner, but that’s gonna take some looking and budgeting. It’s a Moroccan bone inlay mirror, and they’re available here and there.

- and finally, if the budget allows, getting an electrician to advise us on and install pot lights to bring light into every corner of the bathroom.

This is it. This is the first plan for the new house. It’s the first fix. I described it to Mark, he likes it, and that’s good enough. This is good enough.

Painted Thonet Chairs and Long Term Vision

There are a lot of rules in design, and I’m picking them up randomly by listening to design trained people talk. One insight I heard and keep coming back to is the koan of quick-cheap-easy.

The triumvirate of PRODUCING things is quick, cheap or easy. (You can almost swap cheap and quality, because they have a really strong relationship.) The idea behind the triumvirate is that you can have one or two points, but not all three. Let’s say I want to have a painted house: I can get it done quickly by pros, and that’s easy on me, but it’s not cheap. Let’s say I want to renovate my kitchen, and I want it to be cheap: it’ll take time to wait for sales (not fast) and I’ll probably choose to install it myself (not easy).

Everyone wants all three, me especially. Quick is good, cheap is good, easy is really good. I love easy. However, with a house we’re going to have for thirty years, I have to choose slow. If slow is the name of the game, I can also release my death grip on easy, and enjoy the bargain hunting thrills of cheap.

These are all good things, but when I think of letting go of easy, I think of letting go of hiring professionals for work that’s hard but still DIYable. I’m an under-achieving perfectionist: I’ll quit if I think I can’t get things flawless. Why do I quit? Because my vision of perfection can be hella intimidating. Maybe if I’m working within the framework of cheap, gradual and “elbow-greasy”, I can deal with the issue of perfectionism. Living with perfectionism is hard, and like I said, easy feels good. That’s when hiring a professional answers all questions and drops the anxiety levels right down. But professionals might not be necessary when there’s no time limit, and no pressure.

We don’t have the house yet, so instead of packing up (ridiculous thought! totally silly!) I’m setting myself up for a first project for the Apple House, aka the Drunken Earl of Sommersby, aka the Finnish Beach Party. (Yes, we’ve been coming up with nicknames for the house.) To be honest, I don’t know why I started with chairs, but that’s me and that’s the thirty year plan. Take advantage of opportunities when they happen, and be open to things happening out of order.

First there was this picture on Pinterest, from House of Turquoise:

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I was researching dining rooms, painted dining room tables, and this blew my mind. I adore the mints, the peppermint, the forest green, the hits of turquoise glass… WHAT A COLOUR PALETTE. But what I really love are the thonet chairs. Thonet chairs are usually plain wood, but when I saw this picture I felt like I was seeing the perfect colour palette for a chair with those curves and swoops. Can’t explain it anymore than that. Mints, pastels, and bentwood: it feels right.

Quick and not cheap options? Buy a thonet chair or chairs from any online source.

Not quick and maybe cheap? Find some thonet chairs secondhand online. First, though, you’ve got to find them. They can be knock offs, that’s okay, it’s secondhand. If the seats are caned, it’ll either be in good condition or you can get them redone. While you wait for a set of these chairs to come up for sale, research people who can redo caning. When they show up online, go get ‘em before someone who knows furniture gets heart shaped eyes and snaps them up.

That’s what I did. I was so surprised to find four bentwood chairs, secondhand, listed on usedottawa.com. I don’t think they’re actual thonet chairs, but that’s fine with me because instead of one bent piece of wood across the back they have two bent pieces of wood that I think of as “hearts”. Anything that makes me think of a heart without overtly referencing one has a place in my life. Not only were they heart-y, there were four (four matching chairs! swoon) with newly caned seats. FLAWLESS.

Here they are, paired with a vision for their future.

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The wood on the heart-y bentwood chairs is in great condition, very blonde, a nice silky finish with only a little character. Since that’s the case, I can see myself partially painting them like the chairs on the left. (Picture source: http://singularesmag.com) The “dip painted” look is a trend right now, it won’t last forever, but it’s probably going to work for me when I need some touches of accent colour to pull a room together without covering up the existing finish on the chairs.

What’s fun about this is that I’m planning to use the chairs in the kitchen, in some kind of “eat in” set up. The kitchen plan, though? No money for it. No floor plan yet. No materials chosen. Haven’t moved in. No guarantee that there’s going to be an eat-in area.

That’s the unexpected freedom of the thirty year house: gambling on what you MIGHT do. I have a long schedule, I can gamble a lot. I can develop an idea of things I like (such a list) and grab them when I see them for the right price, even if their eventual use isn’t guaranteed.

It’s a worthy trade off.

YELLOW DONE RIGHT

There’s been a BUNCH of love for the horrible yellow in the house. Sure, it’s sunny and bright. People like the happiness, sure.

Guys, here’s a nice black and yellow kitchen by Sarah Richardson. This is how you do a yellow and black kitchen.

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Now that is A LOT of black cabinetry and A LOT of yellow. It works because of the mixture of white and grey to smooth it all out, to keep it from being Life As Viewed From Inside Charlie Brown’s shirt.

I’m really excited about the new kitchen because it occurred to me that since we’ll update the kitchen right away, but the update will be only temporary…. we can go effing crazy.

WE CAN DO SOMETHING TOTALLY RADICAL.

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Weird Moments

We’ve talked about everything that’s wrong with the house we’re buying (ruined roof! rotted windows! overgrown yard! flies! mice! carbon monoxide!) but it’s beginning to dawn on me that when those things are fixed, the house is move-in ready.

The dirt will wipe off.

The roof and windows will be replaced.

We went with friends to Home Depot (couples date, you know how it is with homeowners) and we were looking at flooring. Mark and I were admiring different types of flooring and it kinda sunk it after awhile that actually, the house has new birch hardwood floors. (Birch is a softwood, but when it’s tongue and groove flooring everything is called hardwood. This is an argument I have with my Grandfather all the time.) The main areas of the house are DONE. We won’t need to shop for hardwood for….. thirty years. I had to look it up on my iPhone but yeah, the entire top floor has new floors. Even on the landing. All new floors.

We were looking at tile and aside from the kitchen and the front hall vestibule, we don’t need tile. The bathrooms have already been renovated, and nicely renovated too.

That was a weird moment. Our house (after the new roof and new windows) doesn’t need construction. It needs strictly decorating.

I won’t need to buy a toilet for the next thirty years, because all the toilets are new and toilets last for forever. The furnace is new. We’ll have a new water heater by the end of February.

I can’t wrap my head around it.  We bought an (almost) move in ready house.

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