OK, it’s time to move from improvements done outside to some of the projects done inside.
I don’t have many photos of the inside of the house before we started working on it. Either I was too ashamed or too focused on what needed to be done to make it livable.
What really do you need to live in a house? Running water? A bathroom? A functional kitchen? A thorough cleaning? Paint over the unbearable? Walls?
In those first few months it was just about the status quo as my job as a writer/slave. Focus was what I had to give my job and out-of-focus was how I had to look at all the work that needed to be done. One thing that really bothered me was the missing wall between bedrooms 2 and 3. That’s right, there was no wall just a ghostly skeleton of former closets and storage space.
Rumor has it the Dog Lady removed the wall so she could have a more open space for the bulk of her dozen dogs. Not only did a wall disappear but so did the linen closet, two room closets and a coat closet strategically placed across the house from the front door. There was never any attempt to cover over the exposed boards and insulation. I’m lucky I didn’t lose a cat through those boards.
In February 2010 I hired a contractor to build the wall, replace the closets and smooth over the gaps with pristine drywall.
A few people have asked why the third bedroom was called the Duck Room. Easy. It had duck wallpaper done in hues of purple, cream and green. It was awful. Not limited by artistic expression, these people must really have liked ducks. There were three different layers of ducks; Duck paper. Duck border. Duck accent.
An added bonus was that the wallpaper was plastered over flat, textured drywall which made it nearly impossible to remove. I heard a family member was in tears while doing the task because removal couldn’t be completed without bloody fingers. Ah, well.
Oddly enough the wallpaper in the second bedroom came down very easily. I remember tearing several large strips off the day I first saw the house. My real estate agent chided me for doing so but I realized at that moment the place would be mine and thought I’d get a head start. Who know why THAT wallpaper came down so easily.
The contractor did a good job and charged me half what a local contractor proposed. Turns out if I would have gone with the local contractor the money I paid him would have gone up his nose. I hear nowadays he puts his high-level skills to use as a volunteer tending plants at a local marijuana grow operation. I supposed I’m glad I went with the contractor that needed me to ride his ass to finish the job. One man’s toke is a another man’s procrastination.
Looking back at the before pictures I think to myself: “Why did I buy this place? What did I think I saw?”
Oh, that’s right. I saw ducks.
I knew as soon as the wall went back up the third bedroom would be too small for much of anything but it works as an office. Thanks to friends who volunteered to come up and paint the two bedrooms and hallway, it looks pretty good. One third bedroom wall is painted Silver Tinsel and I love it. It’s one of the best colors I’ve ever used.
The second bedroom was painted mint green that I now detest and became a cattery for the more than 30 kittens and cats I fostered for Intermountain Humane Society until one of the stray kittens brought ringworm into the house effectively ending my cat-fostering career. Now sparkling clean (Hell, there wasn’t anything IN there to clean other than tossing all the toys and bedding, thank God for my minimalistic tendencies) it is just a storage area until I can figured out what to do with it. Lordy, another decision.
The only bad thing is closets aren’t finished; due in part to my laziness and lack of a good contractor to finish it. The man who put the walls up, well, after 6 weeks I just wanted him gone and the other contractor who gave me a bid wanted to charge about $40 an hour and take two weeks to put in two closet doors and mouldings. I’m still a little gunshy over contractors and would rather look at something unfinished than deal with another contractor.
“After” pictures to follow … first, I have to clean up my office. On second thought, after the duck paper and all the mess and construction, how bad can it be?