At last … (day 1)

[Sung loudly to the tune of ‘At Last’ and with apologies to Etta James]

“At last
Our house has come along
Our Beige Palace days are over
And life is like a song”

Yes, on Thursday last week we finally closed (as they call it here) on our own place. So, after 9 long months of searching, several near misses; and 3 houses that we nearly bought, but then pulled out after horrific pest reports, shocking stories of how the previous owner drowned in the swimming pool, or my beloved’s boss deciding to move the office a 55 minute commute away from the house we were in escrow on, we finally FINALLY have our own home.

Our Beige Palace days are over.

Nearly. Just the minor technical detail of some updating (or remodeling) to do first. Because, of course, we bought a fixer, a renovators delight, a place with potential, a will-look-great-when-it’s-done. Again. In spite of me chanting ‘I will not buy a fixer, I will not buy a fixer, I will not buy a fixer’ loudly every time I looked at a house, we have, in fact, bought a fixer.

But the reality is, in our price range, in the area we wanted to live in there was little choice. Unless we wanted to live in a shoebox. A tiny tiny shoebox. More of a matchbox, really. Instead we get to live in a  bigger shoebox that needs work. A shoe box we can fit into, rather than one that would require serious amputation. Or selling the children (an idea not without its merits some days).

Welcome to our new place ...

That and the fact that the places that really excited us while we were looking were the ones that needed work. We are both creative people, we see potential where others see mess and disaster. We both bear the scars of serial renovators. We just cant help ourselves. The ‘Pfft! I can do that’ blinkers work double time when I look at houses.

Still, we haven’t done too badly. Structurally the house is fine. It got Max the uber strict and pedantic house inspector’s tick of approval. The layout is mostly ok. And best of all, it is what our realtor, Samira, described as ‘A happy house.’ One of those places you walk in the door and it feels like home. Which is really what we need here in this foreign land. Luckily, most of the work is cosmetic. A lick of paint goes a long way.

Which is just as well, as we have a budget of … oh, all of 50 cents. Which is about what we have left after buying the place.

So for the next week (in addition to cramming for Christmas), I will be working on getting the place ready for us to move in at the end of January. It is my plan to blog each day about progress I have made.

I started yesterday with the glorious wallpaper in the hallway. First, though, some before shots …

Hall before

Before, with the beautiful original doorbell

Before: wallpaper is going, but that light fitting can stay.

I have never stripped wallpaper before, so I was feeling rather apprehensive about the whole process. Luckily it is much easier than I thought. Patience is required, but if can bring yourself to take your time, and do it right, then the paper comes easily off the wall in great big sheets. Very gratifying.

Off it comes ...

Going ...

Going ...

Going ...

Gone, gone, and ..


4 hours later, the upstairs hall is wallpaper free. Now doesn’t that look better?

Tomorrow: the wallpaper in the kitchen/dining area. And some spackle/filler to patch the plaster in the hall.


2 responses to “At last … (day 1)

  1. Very cool, Clare!!

    Wow, what a project!! It’s looking brighter and ready for your artistic touch! I can’t wait to see it! (I like the light cover too!!)

    Let me know if you need some help …. I have tons of time between Thursday and Saturday !! 🙂


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