Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflections on a renovation, one year later

It's been a year now since we moved into our new house, aka my grandparent's house, and finished completely gutting and remodeling it.

Instead of reviewing our year as I usually do (who wants to relive this year? LOL), I thought it might be interesting to reflect on the reno a little. This seems to be the time that we are starting to notice a few things we regret/wish we had thought of/would have done differently.

And maybe it will be handy to some of you in the future if you are planning some sprucing up around your house.
This is the front of our house before. It's hard to tell because of the overgrown bushes, but the brick was grayish. Prison grayish.
Despite MANY MANY MANY protests from "the menfolk" working here, I had them paint the bricks bright white. But our siding is dark, dark gray. I don't regret the paint at all, but it needs something to tie it to the gray of the siding.

I am thinking dark shutters are the answer. (And it also needs time for my cottage garden to grow!)
I've mentioned this before, but we need an outlet in this part of the foyer. A small job.

But onto the BIG, HUGE what was I thinking mistakes:
These damn countertops. I know what I was thinking - I couldn't afford stone, I didn't want laminate, this seemed to be the best choice.

I HATE these bloody things. They are always filthy. They are hard to clean. They are grease stained. They are paint stained. They are food stained. They do not wipe off easily. Every glass a kid sets down leaves water marks. Stuff accumulates in the cracks that WILL NOT COME OUT. If you oil them as IKEA instructs then every single thing you set down on them will be so greasy when you pick it up it looks like you deep fried it at McDonalds.

I am all for "rustic" but GAH, they are horrible.

I am considering some marine grade varnish to make them at least wipeable until I can afford something else. (Which will be $$$$ since our island is SO WIDE.)
And the other BIG problem. We have these sort of fancy baseboards in every square inch of the 2,200 sq ft house. I CANNOT get the top edge clean. At all. I asked around and the consensus was that yes, that style is hard to clean. OKAY THEN. I shall live with it. Except no matter what I tried they WILL NOT COME CLEAN on the top.

When we were painting baby girl's room again I realized why. They have all been caulked to the walls. And dust sticks like mad to the caulk. Which will not wipe clean. (Nor will it vacuum clean.)

And then it occurred to me that the only remedy for this problem is to somehow PAINT all 4 million linear feet of baseboard on the top edge so the paint is wipeable/vaccumable. (Which my dad, the carpenter, confirmed.)

I suspect we will have filthy baseboards for the next 10 years or so. LOL

A few other small things:
I chose a plastic laundry room slop sink. It is so paint stained and nothing will clean it up. Stainless or porcelain would have been a MUCH better choice.

Our hall bathroom tub faucet only has two speeds - all the way on or all the way off. (This NEVER even occurred to me when I was choosing it.) It's fine, but Jack and I like to sort of dribble warm water into the tub while we bathe to keep the rest of the water warm. Not an option with that thing!

All in all I think we did pretty well. There were only about 1,456,798 decisions to make when doing a remodel like we did and regretting 5 or 6 things seems like a pretty good average to me!

And with that, I am off until January 2. We have another OB appt today and reservations at my favorite Indian restaurant for dinner. YUMMM.

When I come back I will open up sign ups for the heart to heart swap and get on with showing you Miss Thing's room. :-)

Happy New Year to you!


  1. My baseboards are pretty scary, but I chalked it up to my lax cleaning skills.
    Clean houses are totally over-rated.

    But my countertops MUST be clean. That would drive me nuts too.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Have you tried a magic eraser on the baseboards? I clean houses and they always work for me. Sometimes if they are real bad I might use a spray cleaner first and then come back with the eraser.

  3. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Yep. Try Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (knock-off brands are not as good).
    Now, since you can't bend low at this time and won't have time to do so after Miss Thing arrives, how about if you "hire" Jack for the task?

    Andrea in Calif

  4. What a year of projects. You really did amazing things to your grandparents home. Pat yourself on the back for an amazing transformation. Bring on the pictures of the nursery. I'm on pins and needles with anticipation!!

  5. The caulk just shreds the magic eraser, so that is a no go too. (And it tends to wipe off the paint above the caulk!) That caulk is SO sticky that it will wear a hole in a microfiber cloth before you have even finished one section of bathroom baseboard. It's kind of ridiculous.

    And really, wiping down all that baseboard is not practical at all. I need to just be able to vaccuum that top edge with the shop vac.

  6. That's a bummer about the butcher block! That was one my favorite things you had done! I'm still trying to find me a couch! Are you still liking your Ikea one? And by the way I'm having a giveaway! There may even be a Martha one in the future.

  7. Clean your baseboads with Mr. Clean Eraser and some pinesol. Then tape them off and put on 2 coats of Enamel paint. I have the same issue as you, and it was the only way that I could get the baseboards to a point where I could vacuume them.
    As for the marine type varnish, check first to see if you can eat off of it. If not, there is a varnish that you can eat off of.

  8. Wonderful as always! You've come a long way this past year, and so has your house!


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