Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Home sweet goddamn unfinished home.

Alright.  No one is more aware than I am that there hasn't been an update on "Operation Fix this Fucking House" in, oh...seven years or so (give or take seven years).  I'd like to say that we've spent this vast amount of time tweaking and polishing and such and such for our big final reveal where I could rub your noses in the fact that we made this old hag of a house our bitch, but yeah- not so much.  I am still LeBitch of the Casa, and we still aren't done.  Can I get a FFUUUUCCCKKKK?!?!?
The funny (insert maniacal, shrill laughter here) thing is, the main reason we started the whole renovation/redecoration thingy is because of one room in particular:  the "old" bathroom.  I can't wait to show you pictures of this sorry excuse of a shitter in all of its flesh-tone tiles with diarrhea-brown trimmed glory, but that will have to wait for a (long) while, as this also happens to be the ONLY FREAKING ROOM WE HAVEN'T EVEN FREAKING STARTED YET.  Yes, I still have the ugliest bathroom on the planet in my home.  You will believe.  Trust me.  You will believe.

But...that will have to wait for now.  I'm close to being able to show you the dining room, but I have to wait for a day that isn't raining or 900% humidity so that I can finally paint a couple of things.  Yes, two of those "things" are actually living pets, but hey- I like to color-coordinate.
Yes, I can wait while you call the local ASPCA to report me...
.
.
.
.
.
Okay then. 

Moving on...
I realized today that the living room has been pretty much done for a while now, I was just kind of thinking that I'd wait until it felt perfect, but then I remembered that "perfect" for me is a fluctuating thing, and with my ADD and OCD and TNT (Dy-no-mite!), well, I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and wave the white flag.  It's as done as it's gonna be, and I may as well take a picture or two on the one day that there seems to be no dog puke or drool on at least 80% of the furniture, and since there aren't any pet hair tumbleweeds blowing through or embarrassing magazines left out (What?  I read Juggs and Ferret Monthly for the articles! Really!)- then today is the day. 

First, you need to know what we started with, from the beginning.

Once upon a time, a very, very broke couple bought a very, very old house because they loved it, and because it was cheap.  Dirt cheap.  Not being wise in the ways of minor things like "updated to code electrical stuff", "plumbing stuff", and ""what's that funny smell?" stuff, they were elated to find a home to call their own where they would never again have to be oppressed by the white walls of apartment living.  Unfortunately, the lovely couple did not know that plaster walls come with a whole nutha' level of frustration when it comes to painting them, especially when the plaster walls were put in around 1906 and are particularly porous:



Ugh. 

The charming couple also knew that there were pristine, original, honey-colored maple floors underneath the 40+ year old carpeting (Oh sweet Jeebus- the smell!  Think: Old lady+cabbage+mildew+cabbage farts), but they had no idea of how much work it would take to unearth said floors.  Turns out, the 40+ year-old red rubber foam underneath the nastyass carpeting had pretty much fused to the floor.  Like cement.  And, to complicate matters, the wood underneath was in such beautiful shape that the shockingly attractive couple didn't want to use any chemicals or metal scrapers that might have damaged the finish.  Fourteen plastic scrapers, much alcohol and several breakdowns later, the astonishingly witty couple was done. 
Yes, it was as fun as you think it would be:


As our beloved couple were still in their 20's when they painted/decorated, and since they were still no joke broke, they made the room "theirs" with a mishmash of hand-me-down furniture, thrift store booty, lots of gold paint, and one zebra-striped rug that they were given as a gift.  You can't see it here, but for a long time they also had a disco ball hanging from the ceiling.  Ahh...youth. 

This is an old picture, but as there doesn't seem to be any "whole room" shots of the old living room, this will at least give you an idea of the overall "theme" of the space.  Think: Old Vegas meets IKEA meets your Grandma's parlor:


And with that, our wonderfully eloquent and well-mannered couple rode off into the sunset.  Well, they drove their VW to the convenience store for slurpees and nachos, anyways.  The End.  Well, the end of me writing in fairy-tale form, anyways.  I can't keep up with shit like that.
Again, moving on...

Phase 2 of the living room project started with the purchase of a couch, and we built (read: I built) the rest of the room around it.  This pic is the new couch, the new coffee table, the old paint job and curtains, and Rug #1 that was promptly returned, such was it's fugliness:



Here we are, once again prepping the goddamn plaster walls for painting.  Yeah, I'd like to say that we got all of this done really fast and only had to live in crack-den squalor for a day or two, but who am I kidding?  It looked like this for over a week:


And finally...it's done (for a few years anyways).
I'm not really an "old Victorianesque house" sort of gal, so in changing things up, I wanted to modernize the overall look of the joint while still keeping the basic "bones" intact.  I have beautiful wood floors and windows with simple, clean lines, and I really didn't want to mess with that. 


I like to think that I achieved my goal, for the most part.  It's still "us", but the more grown-up version of "us", still with a sense of humor and a bit o'whimsy:

The curtains are blue cotton velvet, which works well year-round.  If they were darker I wouldn't think so, but the light color makes the fabric seem not so heavy.  The rug is a shag I ordered online- I love the crap out of this rug, but I'm pretty sure that vacuuming it counts as hard-core cardio.  I worked up a shocking amount of sweat last time I did it- like, sweaty underboob and all.  Yes, I'm a tender, delicate flower- tell me something I don't know.

This pic has one of the many IKEA items that we had to buy in it (the cabinet), being that we were on a miniscule budget and have all sorts of strange, useless spaces throughout the Casa that needed filling (that's what SHE said!).  The lamp was from lamps.com, and it looks super duper neato when it's lit up:


Yes, we still have the Sonny Chiba "Street Fighter" poster- I like to think of it as "timelessly elegant".  The end table was a Craigslist find from a fabulously fabulous gay boy in Minneapolis.  The lamp base was a vintage store find that I approached like a drunk, horny girl at closing time- I know I shouldn't take it home because it's kind of ugly, but I'm incapable of saying no to it in my state, and it does have a certain charm...


The only art on the walls in this room (other than Sonny) is a grouping of three photos, all purchased through various peepos on the internets.  The top one was from Sandy (who actually gave it to me when I jokingly said I wanted an 11x14 when I saw the picture on his blog.   I guess I'm glad that my ill-timed and awkward sense of humor works to my advantage sometimes.)  The middle one was purchased from someone off of this awesome MN website (thanks again for keeping it, Sornie!).  And the bottom one was purchased through bloggess extrordinaire, Ms. Campbell at Jurgen Nation.  I like how they all are kind of sort of dreamy, spooky landscapes.

Close up of the coffee table, a solid slab of old marble, bought off Craigslist from a little old lady in St. Louis Park.  The slab is seriously, no-joke heavy.  I like how it brings a little bit of nature into a fairly crisp room:


A closer look in the corner- you can see better here how I toned down from the old diamond pattern on the walls and painted subtle stripes instead:


Closeup of the lamp, just because I love the texture. 


So, yeah.  That's it for today's installment of "OFtFH": updated.

Tune in six months from now when I can maybe, possibly, probably not show you yet another finished room.  My prediction: by the time we finish the last room, we'll have to start all over again because 20 years will have passed and shit will be falling apart.  Good times. 

We'll finish today off with a treat- an "amuse bouche after the fact", if you will.

 Cat on a stick.  Yum.


Happy whateverdaythisisimonvacationdammit, my plaster-covered shaggy rugs.  Happy whatever.

25 comments:

WendyB said...

You know, the interviews in Playboy ARE excellent. I'm just sayin'.

Dr. MVM said...

Looks great. Come do our place now.

Anonymous said...

Very good taste you have milady - but the cat on a stick rulez!!
~Renata1967

H said...

Hahahaha, cat on a stick!

The living room looks fabulous, though. Love love love it!

Chris said...

Like the bedroom. I also have cat on a stick, but no pictures. I will work on that.

We've been playing OFtFH for ten years now. This includes three years spent on the last bathroom -- still not finished. The ugliest one got done first. This year for sure.

Shannon said...

That lamp looks like an alien planet. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Love it! I have purple horizontal stripes in my dining room.

Patti

SkylersDad said...

We built our entire home decor around dog hair and drool. You might actually enjoy our place!

kirby said...

I see problems in the future with the marble table top. You don't want to end up like William Holden. Best to be safe and always put on a football helmet before cocktails.

Mnmom said...

LOVE it! My couch is also a large wine red sectional. The color alone counts for 90% of the decorating in any given room.

Here's one of my cheap idea: buying 75% off calendars in February and framing the pics. I've also framed plenty of my kids' art. And you can never go wrong with Craigslist!

John said...

LOVE the new living area - nice job Mr. and Mrs. WM! Should I take some vacation days, strap on my man belt with screwdrivers and drills and pudding and sech and give the Mr. a hand at speeding OFtFH along? I'll sleep on the couch, but I will require some issues of Juggs to grace the new marble table top. I like to read late at night.

Renaissance Woman said...

It looks wonderful! And I don't have a cat on a stick but you have inspired again.

Gwen said...

I might've kept the cats if I'd thought about putting them on a stick.

Kate Bee said...

Bravo for your patience. Painting at all = my hell. Painting stripes = Quadruple hell.

Gay boy table IS fabulous! I am loving everything.

enc said...

Eh, WendyB reads Playboy for the articles, eh? Suuuuuuuuuuureeeee.


I like the look of your place. It's obvious that lots of loving work went into it. You have good taste in lamps, W.M.!

Stacey said...

Ohthatcouch. I want to put on my footy pajamas (yes I really have them) get a fluffy pillow (or a fluffy cat I hear there are a few of those running around) and lay down on it. And not get up. Until you kick me out.

It just screams comfort, timeless beauty and lay on me.

Suze said...

Love what you've done. We just moved and please tell me where we can also get a cat on a stick? It would look great in the dining room.

Idea #527 said...

I love it!!

You also make me feel even better for spending like 10K extra on a house where I absolutely loved all the colors, all new appliances, and didn't have to really change a thing but maybe add flooring to the basement at some point.

There was a house where I would have had to completely redo the kitchen, paint every room (who has a hot pink room?!?) and add a bathroom because the toilet downstairs was in a completely different room from the shower.

Being single, this would have been a pain I am imagining.

Charm City Barfly said...

I think you've been working on your house for as long as I've known you. I hope you are working on the guest room as you know I'll only be 7 hours away from you in about 5 months. I'm just sayin'...

Mommy Lisa said...

I love the lamp. Holy crap you should see MY house right now. We are brokity broke because of teenagers and still scrapped the freaking popcorn off the ceilings and tore down the crown molding to "eventually" fix it. I will need to take pictures. 1906 was a good year for old lady houses.

LegalMist said...

Awesome job, m'lady.

Dr Zibbs said...

That teacup picture is a classic.

180|360 said...

Have you ever heard the term "Marble Slabs?" Oh nevermind! It's cockney rhyming slang for...

Susan Graham said...

Hi, that's a great article.After reading your site.I understand this,your site is very useful for me.I bookmarked your site.

rustic dining tables said...

Ah mate thanks a lot. I’ve been looking for a lot of jQuery tutorials regarding charts and i stumbled upon this.Just wanted to say thank you for the help.

Susan Graham