Hi friends! Oops, it’s been two weeks since I posted last…sorry about that. I was going along thinking, “I really want to wait until something is DONE,” and then suddenly I had a dozen things to catch you up on. So let’s just jump right in, shall we?
First up: we took out and trashed 1.5 tons of drywall (literally), a trailer full of insulation, and 300-ish pounds of mouse poop. COOL.
…Which left us with a clean, empty space full of promise and potential (and sunlight and hardwood, and fans to get the dust out).
What you see above, in case you don’t recognize it, is the living room (first picture), looking through the wall into the master bedroom (second picture), and the master bedroom (third picture). In case I forgot to explain this, we decided to take out the wall between the two smaller, interconnected downstairs bedrooms and make one ENORMOUS master bedroom. Seriously, there is going to be SO MUCH SPACE in there and it is going to be PHENOMENAL. We’re going to wall off the door you can see in the first picture, so there will only be one entrance.
The Man also went through and put up joist hangers to reinforce the ceiling joists, making the attic space above these rooms usable as an actual room. No pictures because it’s not exactly a visible change. But he did a GREAT job. And while everyone else was doing the strenuous work of hauling drywall, I was upstairs painting, because
I’m a wimp I just needed there to be one bedroom that was in a semi-done state and suitable for sleeping in. (Don’t judge me, they had plenty of hands.) Funny story though…
As some of you may know, I’m a little bit terrified of colors when it comes to painting rooms. Don’t ask me why – I grew up with a bright blue kitchen. I just default to white. My excuse is that it’s clean and minimalistic. The result is, well, OVERLY minimalistic. So going into this painting project, I did my research – I asked the internet what color I should paint the bedroom. (It’s the upstairs one with pine paneling – see below for “before” picture.)
“What color goes well with pine?” I said. “Cream,” said the internet. “CREAM!” said I. “That’s perfect because it’s totally not white!” (Don’t laugh yet.) So we went to the paint section, which I have a love-hate relationship with, and I picked out several samples that looked like maybe they were “cream”…
We got out to the car and I proceeded to have an existential crisis because I suddenly had no idea what “cream” even meant. Light yellow? Light brown? Brownish white?? Yellowish white?? Whitish yellow???
I lined them up on the wall, picked one, and went for it. The result (drumroll please)…
…I accidentally painted the bedroom white. Whoops. But it’s cream-ISH! And look how nice it looks!! But also you can laugh now if you want. You’re right, cream is white.
On a fun note, I also discovered that my 10-year-old self’s super creative door art was still there. AND that my hand hasn’t grown much in the last 15 years.
In a much less angst-ridden decision, I also painted the smaller of the two bathrooms, in a color we used in our last house and that I already knew I liked. Without further ado, bathroom before (sorry about the weird angle)…
And bathroom after!
It’s a much nicer color in person. It’s less blah gray and more blue-green. The lighting is so weird in that room, it was hard to get a good picture. Even Mr. L said the bathroom looks “much better” and “less dungeony” now, which is a big compliment because he usually doesn’t care even a little bit what color I paint anything.
And with a bedroom and bathroom cleaned and painted, we can actually move in!! I AM SO EXCITED!!! We’ll move our “guest bed” out this weekend, and we can sleep upstairs until our master bedroom is done. It will be SO nice to have our own space again, and it will also be nice to be THERE to spend evening/morning/weekend hours chipping away at projects without having to factor in the half hour of driving time back to town.
Other things we did this week, kind of small and mostly purchases…
First, we bought a toilet.
If you’ve never been toilet shopping, you would not BELIEVE how many choices there are. Do you want a round bowl or an elongated bowl? What’s the flush rating? How much water does it use? (Cue me having a toddler-style meltdown in the middle of Lowe’s. I’m joking. Sort of.)
Our funny toilet story: all the toilet styles have names, because why not. As you can kind of see in the picture above, the one on the left is called “The Diplomat.” “Omg,” I said, upon seeing this. “We are NEVER buying a toilet called ‘the DIPLOMAT’.”
*5 minutes later*
Me: “Babe I think I actually really like the Diplomat.” So we bought it.
Next, we bought the coolest sink in the history of sinks.
Seriously, how gorgeous is that?? It’s called a talavera sink, hand-painted, made in a specific region of Mexico. There was one in the cabin we stayed in on our honeymoon, and I fell in love with them. (I found this one on eBay.) It’s going in the larger bathroom, and I am SO EXCITED.
Then, we bought a new front door, a stand for the sink (an old desk, which I’m sanding down and refinishing), several new light fixtures, and various small boring things.
But what I can’t neglect to talk about is the process of taking the popcorn off the ceilings. I’ve done several more ceilings with our little scraper, and in the process have had to come to terms with the texture on the ceilings (it’s virtually impossible to scrape them completely flat), as well as on the walls.
If you’ve never done house renovations, you might not know that there are two ways to finish walls: textured and flat. Drywall itself is flat and smooth. When you put sheets of drywall up and tape them together, you have visible seams between sheets. You can put plaster (or something, I don’t know) over the seams and smooth it wayyyy out, making the wall completely smooth from edge to edge. Alternatively, you can spray on “texture,” VERY effectively hiding the seams, and making your wall uniformly lumpy. Flat, which is understandably harder to do, is the way to go on either coast, and is the typical finish you see in most of the beautiful, glossy pictures of home decorating magazines/Pinterest. In South Dakota, textured is essentially your only option. For reasons unknown to me (we’re stuck in the 90’s? I don’t know, just a guess, love you SoDak), most people in the area prefer texture, meaning most contractors default to it and aren’t particularly familiar with the method of making walls (or ceilings) flat. Obviously, all our walls are textured.
Having seen flat walls, and having dreamed of having a home that could BE in a magazine or on Pinterest, it really irks me that all the walls AND ceilings in our house are textured. So I started looking up what it takes to make textured walls flat again. The options are essentially as follows: 1) Rip out the drywall and start over. 2) Wet the walls down, scrape with all your might, and pray you don’t peel the drywall. 3) Smear plaster over the entire wall and spend the next several hours (and wear out your arms, and drive yourself crazy) smoothing it flat.
Not great options.
“FINE,” I finally said. “FINE. I’ll leave it.” I’ve decided to think of it as character. As I was spackling over various holes and gouges in the bathroom before I painted, agonizing over making them look perfect, my dad said to me, “You know what? It’s an old house. It has flaws. That’s what gives it character.”
It’s stupid, I know. This isn’t a big deal. We’ll paint the walls and put pictures up and distract people with food and no one will notice. But there will always be a little bit of the 90’s showing…and in the grand scheme of things, it’s really ok. It just gives it a little South Dakota character.
And you know what else has South Dakota character? This sunset behind our field. That’s all for now, friends.