Of houses and homes and painting


View from the back deck

The house, the house . . . our house is coming along!

And by “coming along,” I mean we’re several Big Foot-sized steps closer to calling it home.

And moving all of our worldly possessions. But that’s another matter entirely.

We had our home inspection on Saturday, which was just the sort of heavenly spring day that makes you believe anything can be possible. Everything went well — nothing major found — and we’re very relieved. Everything is on track to head to the settlement table in a few weeks.

Though I’ve spent hours pouring through photos of the property we took over the last few months, being there in person again — with a notepad, measuring tape, paint samples, a Sharpie for assigning said paint samples — made a huge difference in being able to picture this space for us. Like so many, I’m a visual person. It took standing in each room to really picture it a different color, filled with our treasures, for everything to click.

While Spencer walked with the inspector, my dad — also our Realtor! — got to work on yard work. What a guy! He took his leaf blower to clear out the flower beds covered in leaves and mulch, also known as a hotbed for spiders, while I had the surreal experience of looking at the house as our soon-to-be home instead of a cold, bank-owned foreclosure.

The power has been turned on. The lights work. The home has been de-winterized, so we can actually turn on the water — which works, too! — and run the faucets, flush the toilets. The fact that it was a temperate 75 degrees outside certainly helped. We opened the windows to push out the damp and let the sun stream in.

It was fantastic.

And the house isn’t quite so scuffed up anymore. Though in great shape overall, it definitely needs some cosmetic fixes. Many of the walls had long gashes where furniture must have been moved, and we were worried about the time and expense of needing to paint nearly every room in the house. Thanks to the magic of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, though, I have one less item on our scary to-do list!

That sounded like a product plug . . . and I guess it was. But Mr. Clean isn’t paying me to say that. We simply found a Magic Eraser beneath the sink at our apartment and brought it over to see if we could clean the walls rather than paint them (unless we want to, of course), and . . . we could!

I was super impressed with myself, I have to say.

My thighs are screaming today from being half-crouched scrubbing the upstairs, but I was able to get many of the marks off without needing to go through the paint-sampling process. Because friends? I don’t know much about decorating. I’m learning — and quickly — but . . . it’s a work in progress.

Thanks to Mr. Clean, we’ve pared down our “must paint” list to four rooms . . .

The master bedroom (no more blue, no more dream):

Master bedroom

The upstairs guest room (they painted around furniture):

Guest room

The library (!):


The main floor half bath (hard to see here, but it’s bright green):

Half bath

I’m tired just thinking about it.

But it’s going to be fun, too!

After our inspection, we popped over to Lowe’s — our new home away from home — to finally choose paint samples. I narrowed down our choices and forced myself to make a decision both Spence and I could live with, and we bought tiny pots of several colors.

There’s also new flooring, artwork, whatever furniture we can afford . . . many changes we’ll be making to transform this house into our home over, you know, many years. I’m trying to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we’re going to put it in a lot of elbow grease and imagination to transform our new place.

That’s part of the adventure, though. To whip a house into immediate “show-ready” shape would be . . . well, exhausting, for one, and also very expensive. Expensive in a way I can’t afford. But less exciting, too. I’m looking forward to scouring yard sales and flea markets and HomeGoods for the “perfect” chair or vase or painting. It’s the thrill of the hunt.

And anyway, what our place will really need? Right now, right this second? A good scrubbing.

And come May, we’ll be ready.

P.S. If you have any favorite websites for home inspiration or shops to find cool pieces, please feel free to drop them in the comments! I’m all ears.

42 thoughts on “Of houses and homes and painting

  1. Maintaining a home fills a void in our lives that neither career nor domesticity quite touches. Most couples experience extraordinary satisfaction after completing a common endeavor -such as repainting a room!


    • I can absolutely see that — and you’re right! We’re going to take to homeownership pretty quickly, I think. I can’t wait. Thanks for stopping by!


    • Thank you for the suggestions, Christine — will look forward to checking them out! I love Young House Love and have gotten so much inspiration already from their projects. They inspired me to create my own master to-do list last week . . . I feel more organized already!


  2. Oooh, you’re having an entire room for a library? That is really cool! I’m not really an expert on home owning and decorating (what with being 20 and renting a few rooms on the top floor of an old lady’s house) so I can’t give you any advice. I’m sure you’ll be fine though! It seems like a fun project.


    • What will become the library is probably designed to be a formal dining room, but we decided — er, I decided! — that having a place for all our books, bookcases and a comfy place to read would be fantastic. So the room immediately to the right when you walk in the front door will become the library! I’m so excited.


  3. I am so excited for your new house adventures! Isn’t it so great seeing it in person again? When we say our house again after a few weeks it was like, “Oh my! It’s better than I remember!” Such a great feeling. And I am cracking up that they painted around the furniture! Haha!


    • Yes, the painted-around-furniture look is a bold choice — buttttttt after much debate, we’ve decided to go ahead and freshen up that space. πŸ˜‰ And seeing it again is fantastic, I have to say. I was so wracked with indecision when we visited other properties, but there has rarely been anything but certainty with this one!


  4. That’s so exciting!!! I can’t wait to see the finished product. I am the worst at decorating, but I kind of love picking out paint colors. It’s amazing how much paint can change a space. πŸ™‚

    And yikes, who paints AROUND furniture!?!?! That seems like more work than just moving the furniture in the first place, haha.


    • Thanks, Alison! I’m looking forward to learning as we go and really creating something that feels like “us,” even if it takes a while (years, I’m sure!). Picking out paint colors has been stressful, but I feel better for having just made a decision already! (Well, sort of. Next up is actually putting the samples on the wall. But baby steps!)


  5. Well of course I would blatantly self promote and hope you would check out MY blog, lol,but I also want to give you a painting tip, paint whatever paint sample on a large piece of cardboard and move it around the room at different times of day to see how it looks and if you still like it, off you go! Congrats on your new home!


  6. I love the view of the trees from the deck! That alone would sell me on the house. Interior things can be changed and remodeled, but a beautiful piece of land takes years to create.

    I sold real estate for a few years and have seen a lot of goofy stuff, so (almost) nothing the sellers could do would surprise me! Have fun creating your own special place. πŸ™‚


    • Thank you, Leslie! I’m sure it will be an adventure, but we’re very excited. The view from the deck is amazing and very peaceful . . . I’m so excited to read out there!


  7. I love designsponge.com for the Sneak Peeks and Before and Afters. Lots of inspiration for color, found objects, art, hand me downs, flea market finds, and projects.


  8. What is up with people painting around furniture?!? That’s one of the surprises we got when we got our place last year, too, and as someone who get’s super stressed about spotting our furniture with paint, I just don’t get it!
    This being said, it looks like you guys found a really great place! The rooms seem bright and the view from the deck is absolutely lovely. I can’t wait to see more of what you guys do with the place!


    • Thanks, Kay! I’m so excited to get my hands dirty — literally and metaphorically. We’ve spent so much time discussing projects that I’m eager to just get crackin’ already. But all things in time! And yes, the painting-around-furniture was a surprise for us, too. I think they had some sort of office happening in there and probably had built-ins bolted to the wall, but it’s hard to tell now!


    • Absolutely. I couldn’t believe what they removed — and how much time and money (and precious energy!) they will save us now. I’m kind of obsessed with challenging them, but I have a feeling they’ll be pushed to the max when we’re officially in the house!


  9. So excited for you! It sounds like things are coming together… before you know it, your house will be your well-loved home πŸ™‚ Also, a home with a library… wow. That’s amazing and it seems like the perfect space for a library.

    PS – I have to say it cracked me up that the former owners painted AROUND their furniture. So silly!


    • Thank you, Caitlin! The library is the most exciting part for me, honestly. Well, that and the outdoor space with a possibility for a garden. I’ll be closely watching your homesteading efforts! If I lack a gene to help me decorate, I have no idea how I’ll manage to nurture anything green outside . . . but I’m surely going to try! πŸ™‚


  10. What a perfect room for a library. Jealous! I watched a lot of HGTV when we bought our house but now that I think about it I don’t know if we used any of he ideas. It was more like…ohhh I love that but can’t afford it. Still fun though.


    • I understand, Jess — haha! I’ve actually gone so far as to Google some of the furniture pieces I’ve liked on shows and . . . yeah. It is fun for thinking out of the box, though — especially on how to do things on the cheap.


  11. I’m HORRIBLE at decorating, but I know what I like when I see it. I know this sounds old school, but I love flipping through decorating magazines and tearing out ideas that I see in there. Then I can drag them around with me in my folder when I go shopping or hunting. Getting the house just the way you want it takes time, but is so much fun to do together. (LOVE the entire room as a library!)


    • My good friend (also named Sandy, actually!) is a magazine disciple — and I do love the visual, in-my-hands aspect that I can cart with me to the store. I’ve seen many folks recommending simply finding a room or piece you like and then trying to unabashedly copy it, and I think that’s going to work for us! I actually started a folder I affectionately call my “real-life Pinterest board,” so I’ll have to keep adding to it!


  12. Gosh, this makes me so insanely jealous!

    I’m dying to get settled into a home, but it’s not in the cards until after we make some career changes and find a place where we both can be happy before we put down roots. Blah!

    In the meantime, I’m just throwing down hundreds of dollars at Ikea buying furniture pieces we don’t have room for. Basically the same as decorating a home, right? No.


  13. I know how you feel! We moved into our house March 1 and I have so much I need to do. We aren’t painting since it is new and we want to wait the year that they will come to fix any of the nail pops. But decorating is so hard!


  14. Meg, thank you for the visit to your new home. I just love visualising empty houses into how I’d like them, and can share your enthusiasm. Having moved myself I think about 27 times, ( not of my choosing), I am finally content to stay put!


  15. Have fun picking all the colors and everything! I hate to say it, but we’ve lived in our house like 6 years and still have a bathroom that we haven’t gotten around to painting.


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