Sunday, July 15, 2012

inside the house

It's been exactly two weeks now since we opened the door to our new home and our new lives in Northwest Iowa.  Twelve days since this moving truck arrived.   

Last week I showed you the serene-like exterior of our new abode.  Now to lift the veil.

Be forewarned, my friends: this is that last pretty picture you will see!

We had two days between closing and when the moving truck was to arrive so we tried like mad to make the most of that time without all our goods in the way.   The priority was to get the messy work done in the upstairs bedrooms, and in two days we did get all the popcorn ceiling off, wallpaper off, and carpets out of the three bedrooms upstairs as well as flooring out of the Entry.  It was crazy.
 First the Master Bedroom.

Peeled off a little wallpaper and revealed some very crumbly plaster beneath.   
Who would have thought purple?


 The first focus was getting the popcorn ceiling off.  I only attempted this project because the popcorn was unpainted and thus much easier to scrap off, but nevertheless BE WARNED.  This is the most gigantic mess ever.   We used a garden pump sprayer to wet it (but not too much as to soak the drywall) and then scraped it off with a wide flat edge putty knife.  The stuff scrapes off pretty well but then you have clumps of messy gooey and then dusty white EVERYWHERE.

 This is the kiddos room:  Wallpaper came off somewhat easily here, with a few trouble spots.   My dear mother-in-law let me borrow her steamer and that helped so much - would never try wallpaper removal again without one.  Also took up the carpet...floors are in tough shape.

Surprise! Underneath the curtain, the window pane is a little worse for wear.  

Took up carpet and linoleum in the Entry.  Here's the fun residue the linoleum left.

 Within the first few hours I developed severe CWRD - Compulsive Wallpaper Removal Disorder.
 There is wallpaper in EVERY room of this home,  and it was impossible resist picking at it here and there and see what would come off without a fight.  But there is nothing like strips of wallpaper hanging off every wall to make a house feel like a dilapidated crazy zone.   oops.

Underneath the wallpaper in the entry we found this unbelievable fake wood paneling - how could this ever be a good idea right next to real oak??


 Now, I wish we had left it up and filled the paneling lines and just painted it.  But I didn't think of that.  Instead I tore it down and found out why someone thought the paneling was a "good" idea - they were covering a Door In The Wall.  We found this the morning the movers arrived so we just put the bookcase in front of it like so, and are presently trying to pretend it isn't there figuring out what to do next.

Insert lots of sweat and stress.

Growing up, my family moved a lot and went thru a number of home reno projects, doing about all the work ourselves.  That's to say I'm somewhat used to this kind of chaos.   So pair me with my sweetheart Professor man who lived in the same house that his mother grew up in and loves,loves, LOVES cleanliness and order.  Yeah, not the best combo. 
Praise God, my in-laws came and took care of the children mon-thurs, so they were spared most of the trauma.  Don't know how we would have managed otherwise. 

Now, for some pictures of where we are today. 

Here are where our offspring sleep.  Gotta say it feels a little ghetto in here with the plaster falling off the walls and the patchy paint.

But you get the vision with the three yellow beds, right? right??

The hardwoods under the carpet are a mess.  Waterspots and paint everywhere.  
My oldest said, "It's a MESS in here.  You need to clean this up, Mama." 
I'll get right on that cutie-pie. 

The Master Bedroom has been quite the saga.  Here she is today.  Because of the plaster chinking off we had to have someone come in and trowel the walls.  Cha-ching$$

 After the nice guy skimmed and sanded I swept and mopped my heart out, trying to get that blasted drywall dust cleaned out of there.  I also caulked the seams and sanded again and swept again.

 But even after doing a lot of touch up work myself, when I went to paint I was still finding so many trouble spots like this.  So I finally called the nice guy up and asked him to come take a look.  So he did and said it did need to be gone over again...which meant more sanding and drywall dust clean-up.


Remembering the "BEFORE".

Look at that wondrous popcorn-free ceiling - so worth it.

In the darling and I are sleeping here in the third room.  Yikers.
  I have to climb over my darling to get to my side of the bed.  Pretty sure that's his favorite part of the arrangement.

 So it's a mess.  And here's further proof of my CWRD.  
I did this most of this while "brushing" my teeth.  It's irresistible, I tell you.

 And here in the hallway.  Oh little stencils, how I long to paint over thee.

So everything in our home is still in the works...not one box has been unpacked except the Professor's books in his basement lair.   But though every project is in a way Current, my main focus right now is the Kitchen as we're starting to feel desperate to have that space functional.   Here she is with her first coat of primer.  Already feels so much better, fresher, all together more promising.  I'll post details on the project when it is (hopefully) finished.

Whew!  How's that for an update.  I do so hope to get to post some nice, under-control "After" pictures soon.  It's felt so not nice or under-control for a good bit now.
BUT Best News Ever is Sister's flying in to lend her helpful hands tomorrow!!!
So yes, there is hope for us after all.

Thank you much for sticking with me, friends.



  1. It looks fantastic to me considering what a short while you've been in the place! And I know how you feel about the wallpaper, we lived in a rental once that was covered with the stuff, still makes me shudder to this day.

  2. Oh, my.... Reminds me of our house when we first moved in.... Wallpaper everywhere. No popcorn ceilings though. One thing I did that helped a lot if you can afford it was to hire a neighbor college aged daughter to go to steam off wallpaper. She worked for a song compared to the pros. Then you can spend more when you do need a pro. Good luck!

  3. Can I just say that that looks like so much FUN! It's such a pretty home from the outside. Once you've finished I'm sure it'll look absolutely awesome. Looking forward to seeing the after photos :)

  4. Wow, Cailan, my dear, your hands are full. But it looks to me like a very fun and excellent beginning--can't wait to see how lovely you will make it all. The "bones" of that house are stunningly lovely--and you will mange the rest with your usual taste and charm. I hope you get some rest in the process--and enjoy the journey!!

    (Thank you for taking the time to post all this--there must have been a million things you wanted to get done.)

  5. Wow - you've done a lot in a short amount of time!!! Looking forward to many postings and updates on the progress - it will be a wonderful home!

  6. Oh my goodness! So many projects, but so much potential in there! And YES I can see your vision with those three sweet yellow beds! It's going to be gorgeous and so worth it!

  7. Wow! I don't even know you (well, I think I met you once or twice in CO) and I just wish I could do something to help you get settled!! I would even take down wall paper. :) You have a lovely home and I can't wait to see those after pictures!

  8. Don't envy all the work, but I'm sure it will be beautiful when you're done. What are you planning to do with the ceilings now that you've scraped the popcorn off? Will you leave them plain (painted, of course), or will you texture them?

  9. WOW. That was us 9 months ago! My husband, two 5 year olds, and I moved into our new house last November and EVERYTHING needed to change!! We lived in your chaos for a while too (including the awkward sleeping arrangement lol). I wanted to let you know, 9 months in, we are tired but have gotten so much done!
    KUDOS to you both for tackling those popcorn ceilings! We have them EVERYWHERE and the thought of trying to remove them ourselves makes me want to cry.
    I am SO excited to watch as you transform this beauty of a home!! ...and possibly share with someone the craziness of living through minor and major home renovations!

  10. Wow! You guys have done a lot in a short amount of time- I applaud you! :) know we are cheering for ya over here!

  11. way to go, Cailan and Professor!!! you are tackling your new home with a vengeance, and it's going to be so worth it!!! I love the 3 yellow beds, especially the middle one. I'm thinking that belongs to a certain little princess. :-) thinking of you all this week and praying that it's a super productive time with Sister on board the ship!! miss you girls!!!
    Hugs, ~Jaimee

  12. Oh my goodness! I don't envy you at all with all that work to do. But honestly, it's going to be SO worth it when you're all done. That house has such "good bones" and beautiful architecture. Oh, and I'm with you on the plaster dust. There is nothing worse to clean up. It gets every crack and crevice. Will be keeping up with your updates!

  13. can i just tell you it's taking EVERYTHING in me not to throw my kids in the car and come and help you!?!?! i seriously would in a millisecond if it wasn't a 20 hour drive! you have come SO far already! keep truckin, girl. you are going to kick this house's a very creatively good way of course ;) keep us updated!

  14. I have to hand it to you, Cailan. That is a huge amount of work and I feel overwhelmed just looking at the photos! I wouldn't even know where to start. I look forward to following your progress. More power to you!!!

  15. We're rooting for you girl! YOu can do it! Can't wait to see the progress and then the after shots.

  16. Holy smoke! It seems like a daunting task as I'm overwhelmed trying to pick a paint color for my HUGE 350 sq foot apartment and I'm stressed. My prayers are with you guys for a quick reno with few issues...on time and under budget, right?

    But I have to admit, I can't wait to follow the progress right here!

  17. Looks like a lot of fun. It will be so great when it's all done. I grew up in a fixer-upper. But my dad tackled one room at a time. That helped us have more living space during the projects.

  18. Somehow I stumbled upon your blog and I am smitten. You've made me laugh out loud several times. You have lovely taste and I can't wait to see how you transform your new home. Wishing you the best of luck and godspeed!

  19. Somehow I stumbled upon your blog and I am smitten. You've made me laugh out loud several times. You have lovely taste and I can't wait to see how you transform your new home. Wishing you the best of luck and godspeed!