In about three weeks, I will have owned my house for eleven years.
Those of you who have been following me that long know that I’ve been renovating my house since before I moved into it. The ink wasn’t even dry on the paperwork before I started buying tile for the kitchen, which took me two years of tearing back to the studs, rewiring, and rebuilding to finish. And I use the word finish very loosely, because recently, I found myself staring at the back wall, thinking I should move the island to sit against it, and extend it to create a…wait, I’m getting off track…
When I left my last real job to start Ten Two Studios six years ago, I had just finished moving all the stuff in my office into the master bedroom, thinking I was going to do a quick paint and reflooring job, and move back into it. At the time, using the smallest of the three bedrooms as my office made sense, because I basically used it to play on the computer, print things for my artwork, and occasionally worked at home.
Starting my own business and working at home full time changed everything, and so, my simple little renovation came to a grinding halt. For a while, I thought I’d simply drop in some new wiring for the power-sucking printers and computer equipment, and continue to use the little bedroom as the office. At some point, I realized that using the smallest room in the house as the room in which I spend the most time every day was, well, stupid. I hatched a plan to turn the master bedroom into my office and kit-packing space, so I could stop dragging kit supplies into the living room, where I could watch TV while I worked.
One of the down sides of being my own business is that very often, when I have the time to do home improvement projects, I either don’t have the dollars because business is slow, or don’t have the energy, because I’m taking a few days off after a particularly hectic period. The home improvement progress has slowed to a halt in the past few years. And so, I’ve been working in my half-gutted bedroom for six years, crammed into temporary space that’s less than prime, and using portions of the living room, dining room, and studio for the overflow. It’s ugly.
Last spring, I finally decided enough was enough, and got down to business. The little bedroom, which is now slated to be my bedroom, was a disaster. It was previously a baby’s room, complete with pink and blue wallpaper from hip down, and horrible stenciled bunnies across the beam. Under the baby wallpaper was a liner. Under that was fake grass cloth vinyl wallpaper. Under that, another liner. Under that, ugly pinky-beige paint. I scraped, wiped and peeled my way down to ugly paint for about a week. I moved the ceiling fixture box to make space for a small overhead fan. I filled holes left from the installation of the new electrical box, and from forty years of hanging things on the walls. I patched ceiling cracks—and then repatched them. I cussed a lot.
And then came summer, when it’s honestly too hot to move, let alone climb up a ladder and use power tools. I foolishly thought I’d get paint and flooring done this summer, and do trim and furniture in the fall. That didn’t happen.
Last week, I got a wild hair, and went ahead and ordered a storage bed I’d had my eye on for a while. I was on sale, and I got a free shipping deal—and it will be here Wednesday. I will now have two large boxes of bed parts laying in the middle of the living room until I finish preparing the bedroom. Incentive to finish the damned thing once and for all? I think so!
Yesterday, I started conquering the ugliest remaining job: installing bead board panels on the ceiling, to cover the too-cracked-to-repair sheet rock once and for all. Me installing masonite panels on a sloped ceiling by myself is, well, not pretty. It involves hammering very tiny nails, over my head, at an angle. My left thumb has a decidedly purple tinge to it this morning. However, I got half of it finished yesterday, it looks great, and I think I can finish the other half tomorrow. That leaves paint and flooring before I can move the bed in.
Perhaps I will be a grown-up, and have a real bedroom before the end of the year. With furniture that matches, and storage for all my clothes—and no work stuff in it. Pass me that hammer…