Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mucky Boots still life

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.


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

When we moved into our house here in the country I was not in love with the house and felt like the projects all had to be done right away. Then I realized that this was home, we were going to be here awhile so what was the rush? It took the pressure off, and I feel like we are working through the projects at a good pace. You seem to be too!

Natalie said...

It never ends!
Which is enough to feel overwhelmed. It sounds like you are getting a handle on coping with it. You certainly were not *stupid.* You bought with your hearts, and so at least, as you conquer these projects, you can tap in to the original happy feelings about your setting, about the potential of your place. Ah, but encouragement aside: I know very well how hard and frustrating home improvement projects can be! Courage!

Flartus said...

I do appreciate your sharing with us the imperfections of your world! It's easy to forget that blogs are highly-edited views of others' lives. And your calm acceptance of those imperfections reminds me to be more calm and accepting about the ones in my life.

Or, in other words, it's nice to remember that nobody's life is as perfect as we might think!

Paula said...

I had a boyfriend who once decided that he needed to paint his oak stairs black, so the steps were black and the risers were white. It looked great, but now my dog's red hair shows up really bad. You couldn't see it when the stairs were oak-colored....

jeanives said...

Do you need a pep talk? Painted stairs with a runner will look great. What's the eta for the master bath? and what floor plan did you come up with? We'll do an inspection tour in January!! Good plan to contract the bathroom out except for the irritations of dealing with contractors.

Toni aka irishlas said...

Just like anything else in life, it is a labor of love. You would LOVE to get it over with!! haha

I, too, love to do home improvements, but, I've learned with age that it is sometimes better to write the check!

Painting the stairs with a runner will look stunning. Can't wait to see the finished results!

Have a great weekend, ladies!

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