Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What a slippery slope

We have been plugging right along on home improvements recently. And by "we" I include our handyman in that, because he does the work and we cut the checks.

Today he painted our dining room a really lovely green shade. It's just perfect. I wouldn't have normally hired help to paint (I can do SOME things myself!) but the painting included getting to the upper corners of the walls with a stairwell to the basement underneath them. Yeah, I'll pay someone to get up on THAT ladder.

But you know what happens when you start sprucing things up? It makes everything else look that much more gross. Where does the sprucing up stop? If you paint the baseboards in one room, for instance, you really should paint the whole damn house. And what if the baseboards are icky and cheap and need to be replaced all together? Do you even spend time painting them or do you install new baseboards? And what about the trim around the doors? Or the doors themselves? Now they both look terrible against the beautiful new paint job of the dining room. You know what else looks terrible? Our dining room table. The overall color of the table (underneath the wayward sharpie marks, nail polish stains, worn out paint and gouges) clashes with the walls. But would we get a new table, only to have our children ruin that one, too? Or refinish a table that has a broken chair and is warped in the middle and not our style anyways? Oh, the dilemmas. (oh, and yes, I see the benefit of a table cloth, but that table is command central around here for just about everything, so a table cloth wouldn't really work with the art projects and what-not)

And I want to paint the kitchen walls because they are really dirty, but you know how gross the "white" cupboards would look then? At least right now the cupboards and the walls are the same level of filth. Do I spend time repainting cupboard doors that are tacky and cheap or get new cupboards? And if we get new cupboards, well, we should really replace the ridiculous counter tops (slate tiles that are impossible to clean that have cheap unfinished trim tacked up around the edges). Well, if we're painting the walls, replacing the cupboards and counter tops, then we should get a nicer sink with a faucet that doesn't leak. Oh! And we really need a pantry to contain the clutter mounded on every surface so that the work we put in to painting and replacing everything but the appliances can actually be enjoyed. Yes, we actually have half way decent appliances. Thank god for that.

You see where I'm going with this.

So my question to you is, where does it stop? At what point does the beautiful new spiffed up parts of the house intermingle peacefully with the gross, old, stained, chipped, sad parts? I really wish I knew.


  1. You have the rest of your life, dear Sybil. :) Take a deep breath and make a big list and then you and Matt can number them in order of importance to you.

    (I totally know what you're going through. Painting the kitchen made the rest of our downstairs look so blah!)

    So happy you get to go to Maui! :)

  2. It never does. It literally never ends. But like the PP said, you have the rest of your life. I have found that I could train myself to see past the undone as long as there was obvious improvement. For example, our kitchen cabiets were the most dreadful brown, but they are also made of plywood, rotting out and only toe-nailed into the wall with the very cheapest, ugliest countertop you ever saw. We left it for a long time, because we couldn't afford a whole remodel and didn't want to waste money and time painting what would soon be demolished. Well, after over a year of being so miserable in that awful kitchen and it even affecting my mental health, we finally caved and found some bright, yummy colors to paint the cabinet faces. I sanded and painted them (in oil so they're easier to clean) and even though they are still the same awful, nasty, need to be replaced cabinets, my state of mind is so much better because I changed up the colors. I imagine it will be this way for several more years yet, too, but I can ignore the nasties as long as when I walk in, I'm greeted by a color scheme that makes me happy.

    Oh...and we have that table,too. LOL We have some nice linen table cloths for when people come to dinner, but other than that it is displayed in all its lovely 99$ at WM, 7-yr-old, been through 4 kids glory.

  3. i'm with tara... it never does. and you just summed up how we managed to by our "perfect" house and then completely flip it and sell it and buy another "perfect" house in a short bit of time! welcome to the world of renovating!

  4. It stops when you inherit a gazillion dollars and can do all the upgrades at once. I'm still waiting for my check…

    We're in the process of being befuddled by where even to start. Everything's so crappy at once, and getting crappier (thanks to clumsy adults and kid) that we do keep wondering, How nice do we make it now, just to be ruined again? But then, why do we want to live in it forever not looking nice? And, always, what money do we have to do what anyway?

    Oh, well, can't wait to see your new dining room color! One of our first projects is theoretically going to be painting our cheap kitchen cabinets, because we can't afford to replace them. I'll have to let you know how it works for us.

  5. Thank you all for your comments! It's sort of nice, in an odd way, to know I'm not alone in this.


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