October is halfway over. October!! I still can’t understanding how it’s even October already, much less how it’s already halfway over. Our weather isn’t helping any. Our temps are still getting into the mid- to upper-nineties, so in my mind, it’s still summer. But in reality, it’s fall, and there are only 78 days left in this year!
Last night I was reviewing my house goals that I made for 2015. Remember those lofty goals that I set for myself at the beginning of this year? I had this idea of making every room/area in my house at least presentable with lots of temporary decorating ideas, and then I was going to actually finish (i.e., implement my final plan for) the dining room (which was still the living room at the time), entryway, and breakfast room (which I called the dining room at the time). Well, I still have two-and-a-half months, but something tells me I won’t be meeting those goals. 🙂 And really, I’m okay with that for a couple of reasons.
First of all, its good to have goals, but it’s also good to be flexible. When I made those goals, I didn’t take into consideration that I’d need to spend several weeks getting the condo ready to put on the market. I didn’t consider that my father-in-law would spend a total of five weeks here helping me with not-so-fun but really important things like insulating and installing drywall in my garage, music room and front room/entryway. And I didn’t take into consideration that I’d be spending three or so weeks working on my niece’s room (which still isn’t finished…*sigh*). So when I start out with 52 weeks to work on a long list of goals, spending about twelve of those weeks on other things really puts me behind.
But I’m also okay with it because I’ve come to realize that “Phase 1” or temporary decorating really just isn’t my thing. First of all, it feels like a complete waste of time to me for the most part. I’m actually completely content living with hideously outdated rooms as long as I know they’ll eventually get done, so for my own personal happiness and contentment, I have absolutely no need for temporary “Phase 1″ decorating.
Also, since I share my remodeling and decorating adventures publicly, I very often feel like I have to justify my decisions to quite a few people who have no concept of Phase 1” decorating and simply cannot understand why I’m redecorating a room that was “already finished”. Oh, how I wish I had $10 for every time someone has asked me why I’m “wasting time and money redecorating a room that was already finished” over the last few months!
When I was working on my living room (which is now going to be the dining room), I kept saying things like, “This is just “Phase 1,” and, “This isn’t the final design,” and, “This is temporary until I have the time and money for what I really want in here,” and, “For now, I just want it looking presentable for when people stop by,” and “This will all be redone in the future,” and on, and on, and on, and on. And yet, here I am, after living in this house for two years, finally able to implement my long-term plan for these rooms, and I still have people saying things like, “I like your blog, but it drives me crazy when you waste time and money redoing a room that was already finished.”
Already finished? I have never even once in my life redone a room in my home that was already finished. It astounds me that this room could have ever been considered “already finished.”
The main piece of furniture in that room was a painted sofa. Literally…painted with latex paint. That was obviously meant to be a temporary placeholder. (It served its purpose for a year-and-a-half, and still looks just like it did the day I finished it, but I would never want a painted sofa to be part of a long-term design plan.) I got the (cheap and cheaply made) chairs for free from Overstock. I also got the rug for free, and while I do like it, it’s better suited for our bedroom, where it currently resides. The fireplace was never finished. I wanted an overmantel from the very beginning, but couldn’t build it until the ceiling tiles were taken down and new drywall installed. So that has been “on hold” for almost two years.
The windows are mismatched. The one on the left is an aluminum replacement window. The original wood window on the right has a window unit air conditioner that’s still there because that window has been painted and is stuck in that position and I can’t get it to budge to remove the a/c. The front windows have so many layers of paint on them that only the right casement window will open, and only if I turn the handle to release the latch, and then go outside and pry it open the rest of the way with my fingers. I have to close it by turning the handle so that the latch catches, and then going outside and banging on the window with my fist to get it to close. The left casement window won’t budge at all.
The ceiling was covered in polystyrene tiles covering a grid of 1″ x 4″ lumber attached to thin, old, cracked and crumbling drywall. But again, the visible part was polystyrene. That’s Styrofoam!! I literally had a Styrofoam ceiling. The light was swagged over because the junction box was right over the sofa. None of the outlets were grounded (they were only two-prong) and so nothing could be plugged in without an adapter.
I’m sure there are things that I’m forgetting, but no, that room was never finished. Far from it. That room was the very definition of “lipstick on a pig.” That’s all it was ever meant to be until I had the time and money to actually do things right in there.
It took two years to get here, but that time is now. I finally have the money, the time, and the help (e.g., f-i-l’s help with drywall and insulation, the finances and the perfect contractor to install my new windows, etc.) to get things done right in here. The only thing I regret spending money on in there is the drapery fabric. That wasn’t cheap, and it wasn’t meant to be temporary. But I changed my mind on those, and unless I sell those window treatments, I’m out that money. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
It actually made me laugh to look back at my goals for the hallway bathroom.
My make-it-presentable, lipstick-on-a-pig plan was to:
- Cover the floor with peel and stick groutable tile
- Cover the wall tile with beadboard
- Paint the walls
- Finish removing the ceiling tiles and 1 x 4’s, and patch and paint the ceiling
- Paint the tiles around the bathtub
- Add a new, inexpensive vanity and faucet
- Add a new mirror
- Rewire and install new lighting
- Install a new toilet
- Add a pretty shower curtain
- Remove the door to the linen closet (behind the entry door) and make that area open shelving
Can you imagine how that would have turned out? I still laugh that my temporary plan included beadboard. I don’t even like beadboard! But it’s cheap and easy to install, so that’s what I was going to do. That cheap and easy temporary plan probably would have cost me about $400-$500, and I still would have been tearing everything out to the studs at some point down the road in order to do the job right. That would have been money completely wasted.
Instead, I put that $400 or $500 that I would have spent on a temporary makeover, and I put it towards the remodel.
I took it down to the studs, I did it the right way the first time, and I ended up with a bathroom that I love. And best of all, it’s done. Completely. And an added bonus is that I’ll never have to justify to people why I’m “wasting time and money redoing a room that’s already finished.” 🙂
So…yeah. I said that other day that designing and decorating this house has been a journey of self-discovery, and this is just one more layer of that. Those goals I had just a few short months ago were fine, and probably would work well for other people. I’m sure I disappointed quite a few people this year by not sticking to it and getting my whole house looking presentable with temporary decorating plans. But for me personally, I’ve just learned that I don’t need temporary “Phase 1” decorating. I’m perfectly content sitting in my horribly outdated rooms, dreaming about what they will one day look like, while working diligently on one project at a time, and getting things done right.