When Kim and I first saw this place we were enchanted - by the house that looked like a cabin, by the beauty of the property, and by the fact that the farm infrastructure was already in place.
The problem with being enchanted is you can't be objective. So we didn't really see a few significant problems: that the outbuildings either hadn't been finished or hadn't been maintained and would need significant repair. That the lovely deep verandah and surrounding coniferous trees would mean we would be fighting for light inside the house. And, especially, that the house needed work from top to bottom.
All the bathrooms. The kitchen. Almost all the flooring and baseboard. Both staircases. Every light fixture. Every wall would need painting.
What were we thinking? As Kim said the other day, "Were we stupid?!"
This came up when Kim ripped the carpet from the staircase that goes up to the top floor. It was dirty and stained, and carpet isn't very practical in a family with hairy pets and dust allergies. But we haven't been able to come to a decision about what to do instead.Finishing stairs can be tricky, and probably more fiddly a job than we want to take on. We'll probably end up doing a bit of patching of the rough lumber, then paint it with a really thick, durable floor paint and install a runner up the center. Ditto for the staircase down to the lower level.
But that's going to have to wait a bit, because the biggest project still waiting for us is the master bath upstairs. There is no bathtub. The floor is old lino. The toilet, sink and shower are hopelessly iron-stained from the days before the house had a water treatment system. We're looking at gutting it and starting from scratch, and I am happy to say we are smart enough to let the experts do most of this job. And there's no point finishing the staircase until the construction traffic up and down the stairs is done.
And at the same time we're getting estimates on the bathroom and trying to make decisions about the two staircases, we're trying to finish up the painting and baseboard on the main floor. Not to mention the powder room we got to the drywall stage before spring called us outside.
Hence the "Were we stupid?!" remark.
When people imagine our lives here they think of natural beauty, of a still-life composed of fresh veggies, fruit and flowers. Okay, there's some of that. But here's the real Mucky Boots still life.
I used to feel stressed about all this, but I don't any more. There is still lots to be done, but with the exception of not having a bath tub, everything is now functional and comfortable. Or maybe it's because we've already done things I never imagined we could do, so what's left doesn't seem so scary.
It just feels like a big adventure. A messy one, but kind of fun all the same.