Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Locust Effect

Almost exactly eight years ago, LAM and I bought a house.  We sat down, signed papers, handed over a large pile of money, got a coupon book so we could hand over more money and were given a key.  A key that didn't happen to open the door to our new house.  After we left the settlement table, LAM went back to the office and Zoe and I headed out to the new house to check things out.  As I stood on the front porch trying to figure out why the key didn't work and what I could possibly be doing wrong, I stared at the daisies.  They were EVERYWHERE.  Unfortunately, so was a lot of other stuff I didn't want (see mini farming going on above), but since daisies are my very favorite flower (because they are the friendliest flower), there was something about this house that we just couldn't pass up.  That, and it had a mud room with a full bath right next to it with shower doors that close.  Trust me on this--you know all those nifty pictures you see on Pinterest of "dog washing stations"?  It is clear to me that the people who design these things either don't have dogs, or have never tried to wash one.  You have to contain the chaos.  A Walk-in full length shower with glass doors that close is the ONLY way to go unless you want the entire room to get wet.  It was perfect.  Sadly, as I stated earlier, the rest of the house was not.  In fact, it was so not perfect that once I got a locksmith out, called the seller's realtor to come bring me a copy of the settlement sheet so I could prove that I OWNED the house (the locksmith wouldn't open the door because my driver's license not only had another address on it, but was from another state).  Why on earth a 5'1" woman with a border collie would be trying to rob a clearly EMPTY house is beyond me, but we got past it, the door was unlocked (all of the other keys and garage door openers that actually went to the house were sitting on the counter) and I looked around and surveyed my new landscape.  And hated absolutely everything about it.

You might think this sounds crazy, but this house was the epitome of the concept of "good bones" and "atrocious home repair/decorating".  It had great space, an open layout, hardwood floors throughout, two stone fireplaces and the already mentioned mud room.  There was only one thing to do and that was what we came to call "The Locust Effect".  That is, we started at one end of the house and just started tearing everything out and starting over and by starting over, I mean drywall and everything.  Most rooms were bad enough that they needed to be pulled back to the studs.  Let me show you what I mean.
This is a photo of one side of the mud room BEFORE we tore everything out.  This is NOT my mess, but the mess of the prior owners.  If you can look past the clutter, you can see that there was absolutely no thought or talent involved in putting this together.  The shelves aren't even straight.

This is the same side of the room once I finished with it.  This was the first room that we worked on, and we are in the process of re-working it.  We switched out the overhead middle of the room florescent light with this one, which was a Home Depot steal:
The Hampton Bay Oxnard light has been raved about by various decorators and I must say it looks pretty sharp.  The pendant lights are IKEA Ottava lights--beyond a steal at $29/piece.  For me, the jury is still out on the stenciling--not sure if it's a little too 80's/90's, but it kind of adds something to the plain walls.  The wall color is Olympia "Honeymilk" from Lowe's and it couldn't be more perfect.  It's nice and crisp, yet still soft.
Here is another BEFORE shot of the other side of the room.  I'm pretty sure the cabinets and shelves were trash picked by the prior owners--they now live in the basement as paint storage.  I apologize if it seems like I am tossing the former owners of my house under the Greyhound.  Since I've spent the last eight years undoing their tragic DIY projects, I kind of feel a little bitter.  They were very nice people, but home repair was not their forte.  In addition to removing things that we simply didn't like, we had to repair many, many things that were either not up to code or just plain hazardous.

On this side of the room you can see where we still need to remove the old builder grade clamshell molding.  I'm not sure why, but around these two doors is the only place we didn't remove it.  I'm not sure how the new moldings will conflict with the stenciling, so if it needs to go, then it goes--I won't be re-doing it.  You can also see where Nick enthusiastically jumps at the garage door when he hears my car.  I have not figured out how to stop him from doing this since I can't correct the behavior, so the result is a damaged wall and molding.  My solution for the wall is to repair the scratches and put up a small piece of clear plexiglass so it won't happen again.  This photo shows the old overhead light--functional, but not very attractive.  The carpet that seems to be in a strange place actually has a great purpose.  When the dogs come in the back door, they are trained to "go to the mat", where they wait to have their feet wiped.  The black carpet hides the dirt beautifully.

  Next step will be a new floor.  You can see the rolled vinyl product, which is functional, never looks dirty and is easy to clean, but it does nothing for the room.  In the mud room in our old house we had slate floors and I loved them.  Built in benches/shelves is also on the list--there are some great IKEA hacks out there--I just need to motivate LAM.  This photo is my inspiration for the rest of the project:
The cool thing about this inspiration photo is that the layout is the same in my house.  The breakfast/family room opens though a large hallway into the mud room with the back door at the rear.  This looks perfectly yummy to me.

We are in the process of planning a big kitchen and family room renovation (eep!), which is the last step in The Locust Effect (with ongoing tweaks, of course).  It occurred to me how much the house has changed and how much we've grown to love it, so I thought I would share the ongoing project and the bits that have been completed.  Onward to destroy...


No comments:

Post a Comment