It is a buon weekend for the Ballards. We have had a busy week, a productive weekend already, and some major visible progress made on the house coming by the end of our two days off, we hope. It is so hard to get things done once the inital glow of homeownership wears off. Then we settled in and realized how much it sucks to have a huge to do list every time we sit down to attempt relaxation. This started ringing true a bit ahead of schedule for me since I was pregnant and exhausted, but I think Tim joined me a few weeks back.
This week (Wednesday, to be exact) was a big one for us because I finally felt like my old self. Minimal nausea, lots of energy and coherent chattiness in the evenings, shocking motivation to do things in the house… I feel amazing! Hello, 12th week! We are on day four of awesomeness and I can’t decide who is more excited to have me back among the living (but I think it’s Tim.) Now that we are back in business for house project brainstorming, we have been working on a few things. Tim has been such a trooper doing things without me for a long while now. I think I may actually hang some things on the walls today. I have felt a little protective of our fresh, new, beautiful and supremely labor intensive dry wall. You just don’t hammer things into that without some consideration. (Plus you should have seen the “buck shot” paneling that used to live in its place. Bad news. We still can’t figure out how many things they hung on that wall in merely 30 years to warrant that many nail holes. Hence Tim’s buck shot comment. That’s my man, a former NRA card carrying member.)
Now that we have floors, we really have noticed we need baseboards and trim around our doorways. We are definitely minimalists, but even we need some finishing action for the main level. Also on the list is to finish beams in the loft, which I am embarrassed to even admit is still not done. I might be just mortified enough to get on that tonight. In the mean time, I have caulked our cabinets twice and they are ready for some sanding once they are dry. Then priming, painting, waiting, sanding, and painting some more. Tim wondered aloud if there was a faster way to paint woodwork. We have used our favorite DIY dorks from www.younghouselove.com for a reference in cabinet painting and we feel great about the advice they offered. We don’t need it per se, but Tim would like hardware on our cabinets so we will be starting that hunt soon as well. Our house is once again in shambles, but it is obvious that some serious progress is happening. Yipee!
We have (ok, I have) been doing a little brainstorming about projects we can do to improve our space that do not require us to spend more money. At this point, we have put about $7,000 into this house. Our realtor told us he is positive we have at least tripled our investment already in the value of the house. We like to hear that, and it helps me come to terms with the fact that we are really, really, really on a budget now that we have baby GB in utero. We bought paint the day we closed on the house, so we have been painting woodwork and cabinets at no added cost, but it is making a HUGE difference in how our home feels. I love it! Tim has been doing most of the painting while I do the prep work, which works out since I am “detail oriented” as he says, and he covers ground quickly. We might both tackle some painting tomorrow and try to finish out the loft beams/walls/trim, the stair rails, and the downstairs wall corners that I caulked. Give me a caulk gun and cut me loose. And an old student ID. That always helps the caulking process.
Along the same line as our spend-no-money-but-make-it-pretty challenge, we tackled our floor registers. We considered buying new heating/cooling registers because ours were shiny, shiny, dinged up brass ones that have been here for who knows how long. They also were in the same room as the air intake, which is a huge register in a tannish-brown color. I hate to show my OCD colors, but why can’t these all match? We were going to buy them, but for five standard registers and one intake register, we were going to shell out at least $80. Instead, when Tim called me from Menards, I had him detour to the aisle where our friend Mr. Spray Paint resides. We decided to spend a few bucks on Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Finish and see what kind of magic we could work with wonky old metal registers. After a good scrubbing with a Magic Eraser (what is in those things, anyway?) and a few light coats of paint, they look totally passable, if not nearly stunning. Cheap thrills around here, which is lucky since we have that whole budget thing.
In other news, we shaved Tim’s head this week and he looks darling but it always startles me for a few days when I wake up and don’t see curly hair. Then I adapt just fine. Tim is currently tackling our biting-ant infested mailbox (I had no idea, I don’t even remember that we get mail. Ever.) He took it down, re-mounted, spray painted, re-numbered, and will be putting it back up shortly. Can you believe how crafty he is? We also ventured to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore today for the very first time! It was impressive and inspiring. Too bad someone bought that rockin’ kitchen island right before we got there, because Tim and I both fell instantly in love with it. Oh well. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t free, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in our budget. We have a running list of things we need that we would prefer to buy used, like old wooden doors with panels for our three downstairs doors. Someday when we save up a little, we will be renovating our bathroom in a weekend. We are also hoping to finish the entry way this weekend, but that may be a high hope. Walls, trim and flooring are a lot to do in 24 hours, even in a 6×9 space.
What about you? Any projects you are starting? Do you have any ideas about things we can do for minimal cash and maximum impact? We are dying to hear them.