Friday, April 25, 2014

The Good-bye Tour: The Living Room

Maybe I should just rename my blog "Excuses, Excuses" since the bulk of my posts seem to be about why I haven't had time to write any other posts!  This one today has been in the works for over a week now, sidetracked by Holy Week and Easter celebrations, a rush trip to Pennsylvania for a sick family member (who thankfully had a bad case of pneumonia and not the suspected heart attack), and then my own bout with a nasty cold/laryngitis.


I read somewhere [online, which Justin says must make it true] that Catholic families traditionally would do spring housecleaning on the Monday-Wednesday before Easter - both as a sort-of spiritual purge before the Triduum, but also as a practical preparation for the priest's home blessing, which apparently was also a traditional part of Holy Week celebrations.  I thought that this was a really great idea, but then I tempered myself, having just seen my wise sister's find on Pinterest:  "People overestimate what they can do in a single day and underestimate what they can do in their whole lives."  I realized that it wasn't realistic for me to do a deep clean of every room in three days, so I thought I'd do one per day and continue in to the following week.  As a bonus, I realized, I could finally take some good "after" pictures of the house.  This blog, after all, is really about our transformation of the house, and I left off with a lot of the rooms once we stopped tearing down walls.  I want to make sure we have it well-documented, for our own memories, for Anna's future enjoyment, and - well - for you!  Also, now that I have my new camera, I can actually take pictures with which I'm pleased.

So we'll call this the "good-bye tour" of the house.  I"ll try to post each room as I finish the cleaning and get some good shots, and I'll also update the "House Tour" tab as I do each room.  I'm hoping I can pick up the pace a little bit, since at this rate I won't have everything done by the time we move!  Provided I don't try to clean any more heat ducts (and subsequently get large dust bunnies lodged in the vacuum, putting progress at a stand-still until my patient and awesome husband takes it apart and puts it back together), we might be in luck.

Here's the living room / entrance way when we started:

EVERYTHING was saturated with smoke (both visibly, and very clearly by scent) and lots of dust.  That's probably my biggest memory of the "before."  We couldn't wait to get the smelly carpet out of there.  You can't see the peeling ceiling paint in the pictures, but if you look closely, you can get a glimpse of the old kitchen!

We refinished the floors early, and then focused on other projects while I basked in having a house to decorate for our first Christmas (no, seriously, I remember feeling so proud of how this looked - even making sure we had a red blanket over the mattress-on-floor "couch" to be festive!)

Note that this was during the desk-in-the-kitchen period (because we were still sleeping in the den and the upstairs was a major construction zone).

Then we really moved up in the world and got a real couch and I decorated and again couldn't get over how beautiful everything looked (I was so, so proud - no exaggeration):

And THEN, finally, years of little tweaks came together, and we have a room that I'm proud of (again) and call "finished."  Maybe I'll look back on these again someday and laugh at my simplicity in the moment, but at least I've found happiness and satisfaction all through the journey ;)

And now a lot of detail shots because part of this exercise is learning to use my camera:

How can I not include this sweet accessory for any room?  She came up and rested on my knee while I was taking close-up shots and said "cheese!"  Then she proceeded to get her play binoculars and join me in taking more pictures of the room....

For a (not-so) quick overview of what we did in this room (all DIY, except for where we bribed family & friends to help):

- Painted the beadboard & walls
- Added wood slat blinds and a fabric roll-blind for the door
- Refinished the ceiling / replaced the light with a ceiling fan
- Added furnishings, pictures, new pillows, and my miles-of-sewing couch throw

And, just for kicks - one last side-by-side of the transformation!

I honestly often forget what the "before" was like, or even (somehow) all the blood, sweat, and tears (mostly sweat) and the hours upon hours that we put into this house.  It makes me happy to see the progress side by side :)  One of the other reasons I'm taking all of these pictures is so that we can have them printed into a photo book to take with us, as a reminder of our first house and all that went into making it home!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I've been in my house for 17 years and it needs a major transformation. Trouble is I'm too busy paying tuition bills to pay renovation bills.

    Welcome to the Catholic blog directory. I'd like to invite you to participate in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival, which is a weekly link-up where Catholic bloggers share their posts with each other. This week's host post is at It is a great way to meet fellow bloggers and attract new readers to your blog.