This Crummy House

The never-ending labors of home ownership.

A few weeks ago, I told a coworker that I was finally moving into my new house.

“Oh, so you’re done working on it?” She asked.

Not exactly.

While I’ve gotten the major projects out the way, there are a number of lesser-yet-still-important tasks on my to-do list. I am realistic enough to expect that this will always be the case. Off the top of my head, the chores and renovations still left to do include:

  • Put down the quarter-round molding at the base of the walls. Actually, I’m at the mercy of my flooring guy for this one; when he refurbished my hardwood floors, I hadn’t painted the walls yet. So he promised to come back after the fact and put up the molding. He is currently out of town for a six-week stretch. I’ll wait him out.
  • Finish painting the trim on the stairs. A relatively minor job, though the real pain will be taping off the entire area so that my walls and stairs don’t get speckled and splotched with paint. Oh, and while we’re on the subject …

  • Paint inside the closets. Not my highest priority, but I know it should be done. It ain’t pretty in there.
  • Put up wainscoting (or beadboarding, if you will) in the bathroom. Ugh. When I wrote about my wallpaper dilemma last month, I was under the impression that my steamer was removing everything on the bathroom walls right down to the drywall. I was more right than I knew.

Crunchable Editor Guy Mike Duck correctly suggested that most of the walls in my 60-year-old house are plaster, but in the bathroom, drywall was installed at some point in the murky past. Whoever did the job installed it so sloppily that seams and tape-marks were visible under the paint — making it look for all the world like wallpaper that had been painted over. (At one point, there was wallpaper over that drywall, but my brother-in-law removed it himself and painted the walls. This nugget of information somehow got lost in translation.)

So there I was, going to town with the steamer and removing wallpaper that WASN’T EVEN THERE. Before I learned the awful truth, I had stripped about 50 percent of an entire wall.

Since even the walls I didn’t ruin still look like crap, I’m just calling an audible and covering it all up. My dad is willing to do the install, but I need to suck it up and figure out how many more hundreds of dollars the materials will cost.

  • Redo the bathroom and kitchen floors. The kitchen floor is a piece of cake. The tacky old linoleum is being covered over with stick-on laminate tiles. It’s a small area, so it should be a single day’s work. However, the linoleum in the bathroom was inexplicably put down over top of perfectly snazzy hexagonal white tiles. I probably can’t just cover over the linoleum with another layer of flooring, so I’m going to have to figure out how to pull it up. Then I either have to clean up the tiles if they’re salvageable or put down the stick-on laminate. Is it time to panic yet?
  • Sure, let’s panic. I haven’t even mentioned replacing the pantry and linen closet shelves and removing the wallpaper on their doors, cleaning the basement, clearing out the vegetation in the back yard, hanging pictures and other wall decorations, and organizing my baseball cards (there’s one New Year’s resolution still moldering in the drawer).

But, yeah — other than that, my work is done.

Article © 2010 by Kevin Brotzman