Well, that escalated quickly.
The smallest actions often have the most profound effects. The fact that I sit here now, typing these words for your ocular consumption on this ever-growing blog, is proof of that statement. When we bought this house, Handan and I didn’t set out to create a blog. We weren’t even thinking of becoming DiYers. This path we travel revealed itself to us back in November of 2013, our first month in this house we now call Home.
When we toured this house, Handan and I both knew right away that it was the one for us. We loved it. When we moved in, we started to notice the flaws and the things we didn’t like so much. Among the things we didn’t like so much (*cough* hated *cough*) was the “brass ‘n’ glass” look of the master bath. Here’s a pic I took when we toured the house with our real estate agent.
Oh yeah, we also hated that two-tone gold wall paint, but that wasn’t an issue just yet.
The next day became the current day, and I set to my task with a whistle and a will. I had a peek under the counter. Uh huh. That thing goes to that other thing. That one there is attached to this. Yup. Okay, time to start decoupling! And then came the yanking and unscrewing and twisting and pulling and swearing and kicking and pounding and screaming and generally not having a very good time. I thought this was supposed to be easy! What the hell!
I can’t remember how long I wrestled the damn thing, but I did remove the old faucet at last. I unboxed the new faucet and gaped in horror as my stupidity glared back at me. Astute readers (which I’ve no doubt you all are) will have noticed that the picture above depicts a sink with a stem and two handles. The picture of the faucet I bought (I’ll link to it here again, in case you missed it) has only the stem, with the hot/cold on/off handle built into it. Now, I’m no mathematician, but by my calculations, that would have left me with two big holes in the sink. Crap.
I stepped back and considered my problem: I was bested by a small faucet.
I weighed my options: quit in shame and disgust or take this thing to the next level. I chose the next level.
I dropped my tools and made a beeline for the garage. Home Depot was about to make another sale. That sink was old, and its time was up. I burst into the superstore and ran towards the bathrooms. I mean, I ran towards the place where they sell bathrooms. I mean, bathroom fixtures. Gah! Why do you have to be so literal? I scanned the wall of porcelain until I found one that suited my needs: it was white and it only had one hole. Perfect. I threw a fistful of dollars at the cashier and ran home with my prize. Wow, Handan would be so thrilled with the change and so proud of my initiative! I could hardly wait to get that beautiful sink into its new home!
Cardboard flew as I unboxed the sink. Taking one more look at her sleek lines, I turned back to the old sink and started to pry it upwards. Once I had a good grip on the edges I lifted it up and out. I placed it on the floor then picked the new sink from its box and brought it over to the vanity.
WHAT THE HELL?!?
My pretty new sink was oval, but the hole in the vanity was hexagonal! Defeat was unacceptable. I thrust the sink into the opening, a round peg in a square hole, an orange in Appleville. The sink fit, but the corners of the hexagonal hole extended past the oval edges of the sink like little triangular middle fingers, each one flipping off my dignity. I ripped the new sink from the hole and tossed it aside, eyes blazing, lungs tearing at the air. That hole! That damned hexagonal hole! My mind shrank and retreated, and something more primal took over. I grasped the counter top and heaved with all my frustration. If the sink won’t fit, you must not quit!
The countertop didn’t budge.
I grabbed a screwdriver and went hunting for fasteners. Once I found and removed the screws, I heaved again and pulled that horrid countertop from its perch. Waves of satisfaction washed over me. And then the terror took hold. Holy shit, what had I done? Handan was going to kill me! This wasn’t in the budget – none of it! Not even the sink! As I considered my fate, I ripped off the backsplashes. Well, I couldn’t leave the job half done, could I??
As I said, this all happened in the days before the blog, so there was no reason for me to take photos of this
debacle process. But I thought that if I sent Handan a photo while she was at work, it might soften the blow and get her prepared for what she’d find when she came home from work that night.
It didn’t help. She was pissed.
When she got home, I endured her wrath until she regained her wits. Then she looked at the situation with a new eye.
“Well…let’s get rid of this vanity and get new one. It’s all good, my Babes. Don’t worry. Come on, let’s go to Home Depot. We’ll also paint the walls while we’re at it.”
And with that sentence, Handan launched us headlong into two months of painting every interior wall in the house. Along the way, we changed a couple more sinks and faucets and started to teach ourselves all about our house and what it took to fix it ourselves. We became DiYers.
So Thanksgiving morning, when I removed a corner shelf in the living room that I had built three years ago, it was no surprise when Handan said, “Babes, instead of touching up these screw holes with the red paint, I think I’ll paint the walls with something new.” I knew that the walls were just the beginning. This was the butterfly effect again.
Later that Thanksgiving morning, as I tried to relax in my recliner and tune out the world, Handan’s voice cut through my holiday calm.
Those two words meant trouble. It’s never, “Hey, Babes? Let’s go on a vacation!” or “Hey, Babes? Here’s a beer. Relax!” Nope. “Hey, Babes?” is always followed by “Could you…,” “Can you…,” “Would you…,” or “Will you….” On Thanksgiving morning it was, “Hey, Babes? Can you build the scaffolding, so I can start painting, and you can change the ceiling fans?”
To clarify, this is the scaffolding in question:
12 feet of towering steel, 404 pounds of rolling reach distributed among 4 boxes that had been sitting in the garage since we bought it over a year ago. I thought the day would never come. I thought it would sit in the garage until it faded into the surrounding mess. I was wrong.
And these are the ceiling fans she wanted me to change (this photo is from the realtor, showing the previous owner’s living room. I include it so you can see how the walls looked when we moved in):
Those fans are mounted 18 feet above the floor with 4 foot down stems. They are not accessible by ladder.
Also notice the color of the walls. The house was painted in variations of this theme. All golds and yellows. When we went on that first painting spree in 2013, we chose all different colors for the walls. We were new to the decorating game, so maybe we chose too many colors (13 in total for the house). Here is our living room after we painted it. These pics are from Christmas 2013.
It suited us for a while. But when we started blogging (and taking all those nice pictures), we noticed that the red walls clashed with everything we tried to stage in front of them. They’re like that asshole at work who argues with everyone. We needed a change. I just didn’t think that change would come on Thanksgiving morning.
So I did what I do best in situations like these: I pouted. I really didn’t want to carry those boxes inside and build that monstrosity. Not yet, at least. I mean, I did want to, in theory. Just not that day. That’s reasonable, right?
Of course, that meant that within five minutes, I was out in the garage, grumbling and kicking things out of the way and then yelling for Handan’s help. With the aid of a dolly, we managed to get those 4 boxes inside the house, despite the protestations of my palpitating heart. When we opened the boxes, my spirits lifted. There weren’t too many pieces. Building would be pretty easy. We got to it. Here we are, attaching the outriggers, the final step. The only kinda hard part was building the safety railings up top, because that involved small nuts and bolts. Everything else was simple.
Now that the scaffolding was built, Handan could start painting. Okay, so maybe you’re asking yourself how we painted those walls in 2013 without scaffolding. We did it with the help of a 24 foot extension ladder, which we could have used again. But the extensions ladder wouldn’t reach the fans, so since we needed the scaffolding for the fans, we may as well use it for painting.
While most of America was peeking into ovens at roasting birds, my wife was climbing into the heavens to paint our walls.
The paint we chose for most of the project was a soft, neutral gray. It would cover the wall behind Handan in the photo above. It would also cover everything except the big fireplace wall. We were thinking of keeping that wall the same color. But this past Sunday, as we stood in the kitchen sipping martinis with my parents, inspiration struck, and this makeover really got legs.
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