Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY Homecoming

There is nothing like a good set of 'before and after' photos to make my day.  (Surely there is a therapy group for this in America.) Here are a few good ones:

I already had done the caulking so it's an 'almost before' picture.
What a difference!
The trim and all still needs to be finished but just with this done the difference is mind-boggling.
 For good measure, here are some "During" photos:
Part II, the first primer goes on.

The resident teen-ager, working hard (above) on primer coat #2 AND (below) quite enjoying herself! 

I'm very sure this set-up is OSHA-approved.
Initially we did not intend to do the second wall.  But we could not resist.
Painting the raw cedar took a bit of prep work:  caulking first then 2 coats of primer, touch ups and edges, and 2 coats of high quality paint.  The 'white' my mom picked out from a dozen samples is perfect -- it's not at all yellow or pink but also is somehow still a nice warm white.  
Part of 'coming home' for me always means doing some big or small house project.  One summer we took on a massive renovation of 'our' backyard.  That was a big ugly job that we hired out for the most part.  (And thank goodness, or we'd still be digging.)  This summer, when my own project fell through, I agreed to help my mom with a nagging project at her house.  She's been remodelling slowly but surely over the past few years but extensively -- to the point where people drive right by her house b/c it looks so different from the street!

One problem with her house is that we all treat it like it's my grandparents' house.  They built the house themselves, finishing it the year I was born.  As kids we came out to Seattle (from Minnesota) every summer for 6 weeks and split our time between this house and our other grandparents house It's fitting that as an adult I bring my own kids to Seattle in the summer to spend our guessed this house and their other grandparents' house.  History repeating itself.

The problem with this particular house comes when you consider three things:  1) my grandfather was 72 and had already had one heart attack when he took the home-building project on (2) he hired guys from the Millionaires Club to help him out when he needed an extra body/hand and (3) he built the house himself and the love of his life, my Grandma Catherine.

From a DIY standpoint this means 1) there is not a single square corner in the place (2) almost every project she's taken on has a 'hitch' -- nothing is a straightforward 'do-over' and (3) we all feel like we need to honor our grandparents' wishes for the house -- it's not just a's somehow still "THEIR HOUSE."  This is good and bad. Decisions are made by committee when the rest of us really should just stand back and let my mom make her own choices b/c it isn't 'their house''s her house!

For years she has wanted to paint the raw cedar walls and for years everyone has screamed with horror at either the thought of PAINTING that beautiful wood! or the thought of trying to paint raw cedar.  What a nightmare, right? There really is no going back, so it's been debated and debated and put off for years.  One year she decided to paint the walls behind some built-in shelves.   Looked great.  Hmmmm. So great, that the idea of painting more walls was approached again with a little less horror.  This year when I said, OK, let's do the kitchen, we didn't debate, we just did it!  It was great to start with this one small space b/c it's made us realize what is required:  an 8 foot step ladder, a 6 foot step ladder on the counter top, nerves of steel, washing/wiping down the wood, caulking every groove and seam, primer #1, primer coat #2  and two coats of really beautiful ($$) paint.

Now we are eyeing the next painting candidate for another day....planning has to be pretty strategic b/c besides the 'no going back' thing there is the issue of every open floor plan house:  where do you stop?   We agree that the wood is gorgeous, but that the kitchen looks a bajillion times better.  We agree that ALL white would be WAY too much.  First to photoshop then to make some decisions.