When Mr. Shakes and I bought our house two years ago, we knew it was going to take a lot of work to make it the home we wanted. It wasn’t in disrepair, but it was decorated in a style that not remotely our own, including lots of wallpaper. Lots and lots and lots of flowery wallpaper. The kitchen alone featured three different flowery wallpapers on one wall.

So, we expected a lot of work. But oh…my…god. The work we’ve done. The previous owner hadn’t properly prepared the walls with an undercoat, so as we removed the wallpaper, after scoring it, DIF-ing it, and steaming it, it was bringing the plaster off with it in chunks, leaving us with the task of rebuilding every wall in the house: plastering, sanding, finishing, the works. Part of the problem was that the previous owner had also added some extra-strength glue to the wallpaper backing, so it was damn stuck to the walls. Taking it down meant pulling off teensy shred after teensy shred. Destroyed walls, and mounds of little bits of paper. It was, suffice it to say, a nightmare.

After that, we set to tearing out the carpets on the ground level, so Mr. Shakes could install hardwood floors. He nailed in over 1,800 nails by hand, because after buying the wood, we were too broke to rent a nail gun! They turned out beautifully—and give him some serious bragging rights.

Matilda admires the hard wood floors.

Then came what should have been some easy stuff—replacing light fixtures, window dressings, that sort of thing—except I got laid off, and we had no money. So we did instead the little bits we could, which was basically just some painting here and there. But it made a big difference, and we started to see progress emerging from the chaos.

Loft on day of purchase
in previous owner's style:

Loft now:

This weekend, we’re back at work. Our credit card limit got raised, so we were finally able to purchase some carpet to put into the guest room and office. The office has been bare floorboards for months and months; Mr. Shakes is pulling the nasty old carpet out of the guest room right now—and, at his request, I’m doing the most helpful thing I can do at the moment: Stay out of the way.

It’s taking so long. It feels like we’ve been living in a construction site for two years, but we’re getting there. Slowly but surely. We’re almost home.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus