this kind-of-old house

We bought our house almost 5 years ago. In that five years, we have redone every single room. Paint, flooring, lighting fixtures, door knobs, light switches, even those little door stopper thingies. Most of the work we have done ourselves, with the exception of some of the flooring. But everything else, we did. And it was all EXHAUSTING. Fulfilling, but exhausting.

Here’s a quick glance at some befores and afters.

Living room – before / after

2004-02-25 House - Living Room living room

(The ‘after’ pictures is from a while ago- note the kitties are still here and also our old, non-HD-non-droolworthy TV)

Kitchen – before / after

2004-03-31 House - Kitchen 5 Kitchen - After

2004-03-31 House - Kitchen 4 kitchen after

There are tons more photos of our various house projects here– befores, afters, and in-betweens.

As you can see, throughout the past 5 years, we have certainly left our mark on the house. Most of it was because we wanted things differently while we lived here, but a lot of the decisions were made with resale value in mind. One exception was when I painted our main hallway bathroom. I chose a rather, um, vivid color.

Bathroom – before

2004-02-25 House - Main Bath 2004-03-31 House - Main Bath 2

Bathroom – after

Bath 06

Now, I personally loved the terra cotta orange. But it’s been a few years since it was painted, and it was starting to peel in some spots because there was some residue left behind by the wallpaper glue (Related: I HATE WALLPAPER.) Plus, the dark color was a bit overwhelming in such a small room. This bathroom is pretty tiny, and the dark color and contrast between the walls and the floor, cabinet, and tub just seemed to emphasize the small size.

So it needed repainting anyway, and I know that the first thing any real estate agent is going to say when seeing a dark orange tiny bathroom is ‘Pick a neutral color!’ (We’re thinking we’ll be ready to house-hunt next fall or winter. ACK!) I picked out a nice, neutral (albeit boring) tan and got to work. This weekend, I sanded the rough patches left behind by the wallpaper glue and primed the walls to seal in any other problem areas. Two coats of new paint and 5+ hours stuck in the windowless bathroom breathing in paint fumes later, it is done.

repainted bathroom

I also bought a new cabinet (the old one was a piece of cardboard crap, wobbly, and took up way too much space for the amount of storage it offered. SO glad to be rid of that thing. It’s in pieces on our back porch.) I love this new cabinet! It’s a $250 cabinet that I found on for EIGHTY BUCKS. It’s gorgeous, dark REAL wood and I think it adds a nice contrast to the blandness of all the tan and beige in the room.

I still have to re-hang a few pieces of artwork and the towel rack (misplaced an important unique screw, so I might be… well, SCREWED! and have to buy a whole new rack, grr). And I’m also going to look for a new shower curtain- preferably something with a little bit of color and maybe a bit longer (I washed this one and whoops! It shrunk!) But I like the new makeover. It’s not as funky and unique as the orange, but it does feel a lot bigger and brighter in there.

My body is so sore and broken from this weekend, however. Yoga Saturday morning, sanding/painting Saturday afternoon, and then 5 hours of painting on Sunday… I’m getting to old for this crap.


  1. sparkyd

    January 26, 2009 9:26 pm

    Just had to say that I love the orange, but you’re totally right about the re-sale thing. And also, wallpaper should be illegal. I want to throw things at the TV anytime I see a fancy-pants design expert tell someone to wallpaper anything.

  2. Melissa

    January 26, 2009 9:29 pm

    Wow, five years already… It seems like you were just writing about house hunting. :) Good work on the bathroom. You guys have really made that house gorgeous – the difference is amazing. I’m sure all your hard work will pay off when you sell!

    Unfortunately we haven’t been able to do more to our house over the past 6 years because each year something major (i.e. expensive) needed repaired: the basement dry wall and sump pump, the kitchen ceiling repair AND garage roof replacement from water damage, replacing 90% of our huge deck… I just hate to think of the $10K+ we’ve put into those things versus all the things we would have RATHER done. And now with the market the way it is, we’re just hoping we can break even when we sell in the next couple years. :(

    Melissas last blog post: hair halp needed!

  3. Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy

    January 26, 2009 10:21 pm

    Wallpaper makes me want to rip my head off. I totally understand. We flip houses, and we often buy really homes to fix up. They always have layers of caked on wall paper. We usually have to have the whole house re-walled due to it. Wallpaper SUCKS.

    Amanda of Shamelessly Sassys last blog post: The GPS Virgins

  4. ashley.

    January 27, 2009 1:22 am

    i am moving in with you.

  5. Athena

    January 27, 2009 10:15 am

    It doesn’t even look like the same house! If you had showed me before pictures and not told me it was your house, I never would have known. Holy Cow! Great Job!

  6. Jen

    January 27, 2009 2:48 pm

    @Melissa: I hesitate to say this (Murphy’s Law and all that!) but we’ve been pretty fortunate with the big stuff. Our A/C broke a few summers ago- during a heat wave the week before my sister’s wedding, OF COURSE!- and then our dryer and oven broke, but other than that, nothing too major. We hated the interior decor of our house when we bought it, but we knew that the windows, roof, furnace, etc had all been replaced recently, and that was a huge selling point. The cosmetic stuff is much easier (and more fun!) to change. I just hope things can hold out until we do finally move out!

  7. Jen

    January 27, 2009 2:50 pm

    @Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy: You have my sympathies and admiration that you flip houses :) I should hook you up with my sister, she wants to start flipping someday! They bought their house 1 1/2 yrs ago and it’s AMAZING the changes they’ve made. They’re going to make a killing when they sell someday.

    Our dining room had layers of this really thick wallpaper on the bottom portion, under the chair rail. When we tried to remove it, it took chunks of the wall with it. GRRR. So we ended up covering it with wood and moulding, it turned out pretty great but was SUCH a pain. Freaking wallpaper.

  8. ssfb

    January 28, 2009 5:15 pm

    I’m so impressed! You’ve made some really great improvements, especially in the kitchen! Unfortunately I have no design foresight whatsoever so the best improvements we’ve made have been a coat of paint here and there. I haaaate wallpaper. You can still see in our bedroom where it WAS wallpapered and the previous owner just painted over it rather than take it down first. UGH

    ssfbs last blog post: 124.0

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