63 Comments

  1. Lynne
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:14 am

    Victoria,
    Your Paul sounds like my John. 😀 I told him yesterday that everyone should have a John (or a Paul as the case may be). Life is then infinitely easier!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 17, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

      Infinitely easier… also, way more mirrors.

      PS– unsolicited advice: change your WordPress name to reflect your blog’s subject! Lots more people will click through if it says something about building your house! (which looks supergiant???)

      Reply

  2. Carole @ Rustic Artistry
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    Paul is definitely your Prince Charming. And I think you SHOULD buy the mansion around the corner because then your readers would be guaranteed years of blog posts.

    As far as playing the homebuyer game, I related to #48: Trying in vain to ignore terrible decor and see the bones of the house. The master bath in my house was covered with about 8000 tiles, half of which have a hideous raised pink rose printed on them. Not my style at all. Well 8 years have gone by and they’re still there. The lesson here? Get rid of that terrible decor right away while you’re all amped up about your new house, or else you’ll just start overlooking it.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 17, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

      I continue to be amazed at what I have adapted to. I’d like to think of it as evidence of my flexibility. But really is more indicative of realizing that actually starting a project is WAY worse than just living with whatever hideous thing currently exists.

      Reply

    • Eliza
      March 17, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

      Ah, see, my entry in the homebuyer game was not “trying in vain to ignore the decor to see the bones of the house.” No. It was seeing only the bones of the house and deliberately suppressing the knowledge of the vast quantity of money required to rid the house of the decor. It was also making the mistake of defining “decor” as: plaster, drywall, paneling, and tile instead of chandeliers, bedding and furniture.

      Eight years in, we’re finally feeling like our 1843 house is starting to shine. I’m pretending that it took so long due to my planning and high standards and not due to lack of funding. Riiight.

      Reply

      • Eliza
        March 17, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

        And, in the spirit of honesty, I have to share that I’m visiting with you all right now when I really should be painting the skirting of the upstairs staircase.

        Someone tell me to get to work…

        Reply

  3. Patience
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    Well now I want to see what your living room looked like when it was a “Pit of Hell” or is that the picture with the mustard walls?

    I think the neighborhood-related moment is most relevant to my experience. We live in an expensive area, so if you don’t have loads of money and insist on living close to downtown, you have to settle for a less than ideal neighborhood. Our neighborhood has changed a lot since 1999, when we bought our house, but back then, the first thing we did was get a dog because we realized immediately that we were going to need one.

    We knew our neighborhood was iffy, but we didn’t know that the secluded corner in front of our house was a place where prostitutes did business out of the cars. We didn’t realize that our property was a short cut for every transient who wanted to get from A to B and didn’t want to take the long way by the road. No one warned us that we might see people actually passed out in the park across the street and once, when we were having a yard sale, my husband had to give a stern talking-to to a guy who decided to have a pee in the park in front of our house. We also weren’t prepared for the people who would come knocking on our door, asking for money.

    But really, we bought just barely ahead of all the other people who thought our neighborhood was trendy, and they all moved in in droves. We still see drug deals on our street, but things are much improved and we probably have the lowest mortgage payment of anyone in our neighborhood.

    Reply

  4. Lara
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:20 am

    For once we get to see the chaos! You’re so good at making your house look pristine in all the photos. While only alluding to the fact that it’s not. 🙂

    Reply

  5. Marta
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:24 am

    I couldn’t share any of those home buying moments because because, although we did experience those, here’s the moment that I keep having day after day: I LOVE MY HOME. After about 40 moves (everything from changing dorms to moving out of the country and back again), after 40 abodes that ranged from 150 years old to nearly new, from a single room to 3600 square feet, after 40 living environments that felt like I was wearing someone else’s clothes too much of the time – we finally have OUR HOME. Our forever home, because barring some highly unlikely situation, this is it until they take me out feet-first. I love the southwest and I finally got to move back here. I love one-level living and I finally have a ranch house. I love to cook and I finally got a really, really nice kitchen. Do we have projects to do? Sure. But I love it just the way it is, and completing those projects will just make a good thing even better. The other day I was feeling insecure about the cost of getting our tile backsplash installed, and my husband told me, “I just want you to have this house the way you want it.” He may not be a handyman, but he knows the way to this girl’s heart.

    Reply

  6. Kelly
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:25 am

    Hi Victoria – I can tell that whatever Paul said was funny, but after watching three times, I still can’t make out what he said. I hear the word ‘basement’ and that’s about it. I’m also known for not being able to understand 90% of the words in most pop songs (I just make up my own) so I’m sure it’s just me : )

    Reply

    • Joanne
      March 17, 2014 @ 11:37 am

      What I heard was: Vickie lets me out of the basement…
      I’m assuming she does that when she needs something done on the main level;)

      Reply

    • Julie
      March 17, 2014 @ 11:38 am

      I rewound five times, and couldn’t catch it either, but then my husband tells me every time we watch TV that I need to get my hearing checked.

      Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 17, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

      He says– “sometimes Vikki lets me out of the basement.”
      I can see how that would not be clear… Thanks for letting me know!! I will provide a translation.

      Reply

      • Kelly
        March 17, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

        If any of my family were around, they could have translated – as I said I’m famous for mis-hearing things : )

        Reply

  7. Nicki
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:25 am

    Baseboards and trim…ugh…I hear your pain. I too, have a love/hate relationship with them! Unlike you, I DO take them off to re-paint, but have the common sense enough to number them from my imaginary starting point, which I think makes perfect sense. NOT, according to my husband. The day my husband put up the baseboards to ‘surprise me’ with his sudden urge to complete the ‘project’ whilst I was out at the dentist(giving him a guaranteed 1 1/2 hour advantage). Me coming home to finding the mitre box all set up in the carport AND sawdust. Um. What. Is. Going. On??? Yeah, you can see where I am going with this…anyhow, after clarifying that those numbers on the back of the pieces do indeed have some relevancy…and using a wee paintbrush to ‘touch up’ those fresh joins…*sigh*….I patted him on the head with a ‘good boy’, and thereon in vowed never to leave the workshop unattended ever again…or at the very least, hide the saw.

    Reply

  8. Chad
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:27 am

    Well, I think I can relate to all of those homebuying moments, but thousands of DIY projects most of all. I started off with minor things, taking down wallpaper and the like, and pretty things, getting Victorian doors to replace the crappy replacement doors, and about a year ago came to terms with the fact that no one should be using the wiring that came with the house and that the soil pipe was a ticking time bomb, and while I was at it I decided the bathroom was in the wrong place. I’d say this post was the official turning point from spruce up and move in to full on destruction.

    http://chadscrookedhouse.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/spring-cleaning-for-my-bank-account/

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 17, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

      I am awarding you some kind of (imaginary but valuable) award for that title.

      Reply

      • Chad
        March 17, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

        Oh what an honor!

        Reply

      • Chad
        March 17, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

        Actually I just got the prize that came with your imaginary award: a new record for page views.

        Reply

  9. Dianne
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:30 am

    We didn’t look at 84 houses…only 65. But we knew the house we chose was the right house. Ten years later, we’ve rebuilt it 1,000 times in our conversations, picked apart every single thing that’s wrong with it and discussed why we’d never buy a house like it again. But when I sit down with a cup of tea and a book I feel at peace in the house, and know we made the right decision.

    Reply

  10. Diane
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:31 am

    Well. We purchased a small ranch house that we thought only needed minor updating, we ended up a new kitchen ,roof ,siding,bathrooms,flooring,refinishing fireplace,and the day we thought we were finished and over ,100k was put into it …..the basement caved in!! Yes caved! Previous owners installed wall anchor and it gave way that day. So months later we also had a new foundation and drainage system and then I sold that dang house so fast and never again will I buy a home with wall anchor system !

    Reply

  11. Angie @ Postcards from the Ridge
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:35 am

    I laughed out loud at your stories. And feel your frustration as well! Hmm. Which homebuying moment can I relate to? I’d say it was #48, trying to overlook hideous decor and see the bones of the house. In our current house and our last one, hideous is a kind word to use in describing the decor. My poor mom was actually in tears when she saw our first house, knowing what lay ahead for us. But we were in our 20’s, had no kids yet, and had lots of energy, so we optimistically bought the house and poured our hearts and souls into it. We never regretted it. Good luck on all your projects!

    Reply

  12. Diana C.
    March 17, 2014 @ 11:44 am

    Well first, I told the SEALs to “stand down” since Paul and the Marines will handle your next rescue, and won’t blister your ears with their colorful expressions of disappointment.

    Second, I doubt if my story tops yours in any way, but the labor was just as intense, especially since a paintbrush nor sander fits my dear husband’s hands. Of course, this may be due to the fact that somebody has to work to pay for all of my home improvement mayhem.

    The house we bought was not all that old, post WWII, but the people who owned it were. Between extreme country taste, think “Ma Kettle” country, and having their children do the labor when they obviously felt they had better, more important things to do, and you have the picture. The first few decades the hardwood floors were exposed; and when they were in too poor a shape to display any longer, Ma decided to install wall-to-wall carpeting… in PINK! In fact, several of the rooms were pink. And of course, you guessed it, all baseboards and trim around 500 windows and doors were painted.

    Un-pinking the ceiling and walls took several months because scaffold had to be built in some areas like the vaulted stairwell. The “child laborers” must have thought all hardware should remain in place and be painted over which they did, and no key plate or door hinge was forgotten. This is a particular pet peeve of mine, so a large bottle of Citrus Strip (best stuff in the world) was put to good use. The transformation was tremendous and I even had enough artistic talent left to create a Dijon mustard gold/cream tone-on-tone harlequin pattern on a feature wall. All of that beauty, and then I got to… the floor.

    Oh well, I was in this far, how hard could it be to refinish hardwood, right? Pulled up carpet in the living room, dining room, staircase, and upstairs hallway. The floors were in gastly poor shape. “Ma Kettle” and her merry brood did quite a a number on it over the years before covering it over. Got on the Internet to do some research and found a couple of websites including how-to videos. Well now, this doesn’t sound so hard. Tested the hardwood. Stripped the hardwood, re-nailed almost every nail, and filled in holes, ruts, and gaps. Then ran out and rented a sander. My husband did have to carry that monster in and out of the house, and up the staircase for me. All day on one very hot July day, windows wide open, my neighbors looked in to see me merrily dancing behind this loud contraption with a hairnet on and face covered in a dust mask. What a pretty sight that must have been!

    By the time I finished, and because I only had 24-hours before the sander had to be back at the store, I was exhausted and my back is threatening to walk out in me. After sweeping, mopping, and removing all traces of sawdust, called my friendly neighborhood paint store and begged to know if there was a stain polyurethane mix so I could skip a step. Thank heavens there was. Two more days of scooting along the floor painting and carefully feathering this dark cherry-colored concoction on the floor, my floors looked like something out of Better Homes. I was almost dead; but yes, it was so worth it.

    Since I knew I could now conquer the world, the next month I began working with and training SEALs… all under the age of 32 no less! They are pretty good at that rescue business, so if Paul or the Marines ever fail you, which I seriously doubt, we got your six! The End

    Reply

  13. Anne
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

    Hi Victoria~your post sent me back in time to my own house-rehabbing experiences. We’ve had several over 27 years of marriage. My best ‘mad scene’ scenario was this: we were gutting an old house top to bottom. Picture fake brick paneling, murals of palm tree-lined beaches on the staircase landing, carpet soaked with dog urine. The only ‘clean’ spot we could protect was our 10×10 bedroom in the basement (with a cracked linoleum floor and disgusting attached bathroom). One day I returned home to find that the demolition going on in the floors ABOVE our bedroom all came crashing down through the floors, broke through our bedroom ceiling and landed smack dab on our bed. Cue the music, Lucia!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 17, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

      I imagine you felt… insanely murderous, and yet sort of like– mmmhmmm, right, OF COURSE.

      Reply

      • Anne
        March 17, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

        ABs

        Reply

        • Anne
          March 17, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

          Absolutely! It had to happen. Things were going so smoothly up until that point. Ha.

          Reply

  14. Princess Mom
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    My story is the baby in the pantry one. Our first baby did sleep in the pantry. We originally had him in the dining room, or whatever that weird room off the kitchen was supposed to be (world’s largest pantry without shelves??). Then we tried the living room (that only lasted a week) before moving him into the bedroom with us because that was the only room with an air conditioner and we thought he would sleep better if it wasn’t blazingly hot all night. Eventually, WE moved out of the bedroom and into the dining room. I still don’t know how he convinced us that was a good idea since he could barely sit up, much less carry on a persuasive conversation.

    Reply

  15. Robin
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

    I can totally relate to “buying the house and having nothing left for furniture.” After my husband retired from the military we moved where WE wanted to go (what a concept after 20+ years!) and built a house. We included all the things we had been dreaming about…dark hardwood floors throughout the first floor, the perfect schoolhouse lights from Rejuvenation I had carried pictures of from duty station to duty station, chandeliers (I was given a 5 chandelier limit and have only 1 left so it must be perfect but the other 4 weren’t cheap), white subway tile kitchen backsplash with a glass and marble mosaic inset (the same tile used for the fireplace surround). Unfortunately, we didn’t have much in the way of nice furniture (since rough handling results in breakage and you have weight allowances you are better off buying stuff that is cheap and light) to fill a 3,500 square foot, 5 bedroom house. Thank God for Ikea and a husband who can put anything (including an F-117) together without directions! I spent more on my kitchen backsplash than I did on the two white slipcovered sofas AND the entertainment center in the adjoining great room but at least now we have somewhere to sit while we admire the hardwood floor, the fireplace, the backsplash, the chandelier, the window casing, the iron register covers, the glass pulls and knobs on the white kitchen cabinets, etc. (And I do on a daily basis. I love my house! Living in base housing gives you an appreciation for the finer things, like baseboard that isn’t plastic.)

    My family (especially my 3 teenage daughters) finally has a real home and it’s everything we dreamed of, Ikea furniture and all.

    Reply

  16. Karyn
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

    What color are the pale yellow walls? I love, love, love the color!!

    Reply

  17. Karyn
    March 17, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

    P.S. to my previous post- I mean the pale yellow color that YOU painted, not the previous color that was on the wall when you bought the home. 🙂

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 17, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

      no part of me thought it was possible you were looking for a deep-orangy, condiment-like color.

      Reply

      • Carol
        March 21, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

        This comment! I laughed for days when I first read it. I just read YHL’s post about their dishwasher panel having 4 options: white, cream, black, and mustard and this comment jumped back in my mind, causing me to laugh all over again. Thank you!

        Reply

  18. Jennifer McCracken
    March 17, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

    I’m with you at #912. Personally, we bought our lake house which was much too small for us; lived in it for 10 years before we hired a designer and house builder to gut and do additions. Living in it that long, we knew just what we wanted, and have never looked back!

    Reply

  19. Gaenor
    March 17, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

    I think our moment is a cross between #48 and #912! We were let down on our original choice of house (which in retrospect was probably a bad idea anyway) and had a really short time to find a replacement so that we could get moved in before baby #3 arrived. We found the “perfect” house within the week – it was an estate sale, and hadn’t been lived in for nearly 2 years which explained the mustiness, damp, peeling wallpaper, antiquated decor (oh! the carpets!), crumbling plaster, redundant heating system… but it had fantastically tall ceilings, a loft (to hide all our rubbish) 3 bedrooms, a garden (well, it would do after 3 weeks hard labour by my dad). We could make it beautiful (and best of all we could exchange before the baby was due)!!

    Cut back to real life, once all the stress was over, the baby was born (we had 6 days grace!) and we were settling into our home – the one with the crumbling plaster which crumbled all over the floor everytime on of the children poked a wall. And peeling paper which the children kept peeling off the wall. And a yellow/green bathroom suite (which we still have nearly 4 years on). Oh, and the damp. Which involved us inserting ventilation bricks into the old chimneys and taking up the living/dining room floors to dig out the subsoil which was touching the wooden floorboards, before taking down all the old plaster and getting it redone (but only in that room – the rest of the house still needs replastering). I blogged about it here – http://www.bygaenor.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/august.html

    While I wouldn’t live anywhere else, it is just possible we spent so long admiring the bones of this house we ignored the actual projects for a while… 🙂

    Reply

  20. Garden, Home and Party
    March 17, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

    Is it Paul’s birthday? This is such a sweet post. Paul deserves all of your praise, not that you don’t work hard too, but…it does seem like he does the heavy lifting.

    Great post.
    Karen

    Reply

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