Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My House is in a Funk (and It's Not My Fault)

(The finished quilt. Note the wallpaper--not terrible, but not what a girl wants to live with for the rest of her life, either.)

When we moved into this house three years ago, we came believing we would make enormous changes. And at first, we did. Out went the moldering shag carpets in the family room and the downstairs office. Down went the deck, in came a beautiful screened porch. Brown paneling in the family room was transformed by two coats of professionally applied Summer White Paint.

But there were other jobs to be done, jobs we'd get around to just as soon as we had time and/or could afford to pay people to come do them. The mottled gold wallpaper in the dining room and living room--not to our taste, but we could live with it until we got the funds to have it removed. The colonial blue wallpaper in the foyer and stairwell--again, not what we would have chosen, but it would do until the gravy train with big piles of money pulled up in front of the house.

Bathrooms could be sanded and repainted ... when we found the time. The master bedroom--also in need of a paint job, and maybe one day we'd find the time to do it. Maybe one day--when those piles of money arrived--we could add some windows in the living room's south wall so we could get some light into the house.

Three years later ... well, the Man painted the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen, and both look fabulous. He got the boys' bathroom painted right before my parents came to Christmas, thank goodness. I painted the upstairs hallway and Will's room (with the Man's help). But we are a busy, cash-strapped people, and so much of the work has gone undone.

Frankly, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by our house right now. Every time I turn around there's something I want to change--and sometimes I'm frustrated by the things I'll never be able to change. There's not much I can do about the lack of light in the upstairs hallway, for instance, other than dream of windows and paint it Apricot-Mango-Sunshine.

Anyway, one of the things we've been contemplating is whether or not to move in the next year or two. I thought we'd be in this house until the boys were out of college, but now I don't know if I have the energy to do all that needs to be done to get this place up to snuff. I think I underestimated the amount of time we would be giving to raising children and working and taking the boys to Scout meetings and lacrosse practice.

So if you could change one thing about your house, what would it be? Do you love your house? Hate it? I don't hate mine--in fact, there's a lot I really like about it, especially the screened porch--but I'm starting to wonder how much longer I can live with it.


GretchenJoanna said...

I started to write a long response and decided to put it in a blog sometime instead. But what I most want in a house is natural light, lots of places for sunshine to pour in when it is available. This tract house has no windows at all on the sides where it sits next to other houses, only at front and back. The family room has a garage at one end, so that means windows only on one of its walls!
We thought we would be here at most 2 years, but it has been 20.

Ali said...

Think of all the work you'd do to get ready to put your house on the market, and then the effort of finding somewhere new. Not to mention the stress and expense of moving.

When I do this, I find myself much less disgruntled with the shortcomings of our home.

Tracy said...

Our house needs repainting all the way through, and outside as well. Otherwise, the only thing I could change is my kitchen. I like the layout, but I'd love drawers instead of cupboards and I'd have something lighter. The benchtops are black and the wood beneath is dark too.

To the dark house syndrome, my answer is install a skylight. We installed one in a previous house and went from always having the light on to not needing it at all.

Sara Padrusch said...

Hi Frances,

When we moved into our house it had dark molding throughout and dark stained wainscoting through the living room and dining room. It was like living in a hunting lodge. My kids were 6 months old and 3 1/2 when I started painting every single room and all of the molding in the house. It took three years of painting during naps, after I put the kids to bed. I painted woodwork while nursing.

I found it helpful to make a list of exactly what I wanted to do and then break it down. Painting is great because you really can just paint for an hour and then put the brush wrapped with plastic in the fridge to start again after drop off/pick up. Rooms do not need to be fully prepped. Just paint carefully or prep as you go along.

I'd suggest you start by doing projects which do not require professionals. The wallpaper and painting are relatively doable.

Moving is way more work than just working with your current situation.

Good luck!

Pom Pom said...

I like my entry coat closet which is now an alcove because the door kept falling off. Don't move. I doubt it's your house that's bugging you.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Gretchen--I look forward to reading what you have to say about your house. I didn't know how much I wanted natural light until I realized I didn't have any.

Ali, Sara and Pom-Pom, I'm going to seriously keep in mind your words of advice. Moving is a huge hassle, and sometimes the desire to move masks deeper issues. I will say that if we moved, it would force me to purge, and that's one thing that really needs to happen around here!

Tracy, I've thought about installing some skylights upstairs, especially in the boys' bathroom, which doesn't have a window.


Gumbo Lily said...

Love that quilt and the bowl below. They are both pieces I'd like.

About your house....perhaps you've come to the conclusion we all have. There are no perfect houses. We built our own 20 years ago, so you'd think it would be perfect, but children grow up and then leave and there is so much living that goes on in a house. Now it's time to spruce things up again. I'm doing it a little at a time.

I'd like to change the great room (kitchen/dining/living) -- take a wall out, open the kitchen more, and make a high-top area of counter to sit up to so others can hang out with me whilst I cook.


victoria said...

I do like that wallpaper, but I have no taste in wallpaper - I like almost any!!
Am currently moving house and deeply in the thoes of first love with the new place, it can do no wrong (at this new stage).