Loving a house you don't love (update in #35) - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-02-2010, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted the backstory in Frugality and Finances. The short version is that we are staying in a house I don't love and don't want to live in forever. We have been here 6-1/2 years, and I have spent that entire time believing we could be moving at any time, so I put my energy into NOT becoming attached to my house (which translates to not liking my house). And it shows.

At this point it looks, realistically, like we could be here for another ten years - for economic reasons and also because there are things our family needs in that time that would be unacceptably disrupted by a move "to the land." If I am going to be here for any length of time, I don't want to hate this house, it's not healthy to hate your house.

So our house feels run-down, ugly, and unloved. And we can't afford to put much money into it at all (we have no budget, but I think I can scrape up enough for small projects here and there). DH and I have a great relationship, but for some reason we get really stuck when we're talking about house projects. Otherwise we have a great relationship but this is a really challenging area for us even without complications.

I'm guessing that many of you have experience in finding a way to love and attach yourself to your home even if you know it is temporary or even if you aren't happy about the circumstances keeping you there. I need your wisdom.

I'm thinking about painting but I am really nervous about that - I don't have painting experience and it sounds scary, messy, and like it is easy to make mistakes. I'm afraid to go to all that work to find that I chose the wrong color. We had wallpaper in most rooms, and we've already half-removed it in some areas (see? run down.) We have one room that we renovated several years ago but never sanded/painted the patched walls. I hate the bright yellow kitchen linoleum. I hate the stained, worn carpets. I hate the musty smell in the basement. It just feels so UGLY. (But, admittedly, I made it that way or at least let it stay that way.)

I guess the good news is that I have done a really good job of decluttering over the past few years, at least as far as is possible with six people home all the time (homeschooling/work-from-home). I can still improve my clutter management a little bit, but for the most part I am miles ahead of where I was and probably most people I know. I like how our house is set up - I think we use the space really well, and we've been able to accumulate things like bookshelves and cabinets that work in the space and hold our stuff. So I don't think decluttering or organizing is the issue.

One of the things I have noticed in the houses I have visited that I have really liked is that the walls and ceilings look decluttered. They're visually tidy. There are no cracks in the ceilings, no broken linoleum, no stains on the countertops. No spiderwebs in the corners, no mold in the bathroom, no stains on the carpet. No missing trim from the windows and doors. No half-finished house projects, like walls needing drywall repair or ceilings with the texture chipping off them. Things match, or at least coordinate.

Tell me how you do it. How do you turn a house you hate into a house you love, especially with a next-to-nothing budget?

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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I don't know if it's too woo-woo for you, but look into Feng Shui. Any school is fine, but the Black Hat Sect is the simplest for Westerners. The premise is that the energy of your house and surroundings is directly related to your own energy. So living in a place you hate is really impacting you in a negative way. You have the right idea, make peace with your house and show it love, or move out.

I think you're right about the first step. Painting is probably the easiest/cheapest way to improve your house. If you're worried about picking the wrong color, pick something neutral and decorate with accessories. You really can almost never go wrong with white, though colors can be amazing and transformative.

As for carpets, what's underneath? Any chance it's wood? New wall-to-wall carpeting can be pretty cheap. Though, from a decorating standpoint, I think carpet rarely works. Instead, look on craigslist. Maybe someone is selling extra wood, pergo or tile. Don't be afraid to bargain. People sometimes have extra building materials left from a project and they're motivated to get rid of it.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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Ok, I feel your pain. We've lived here just over 3 years and I've hated every minute of it. We have our house for sale and we actually have a decent chance of selling it so our situation is a different but I can tell you what I've done over the years to make my home a HOME and liveable for me and my family. We are military and I've moved more than I care to so have some experience in quickly and cheaply making a house a home.

Since you know your aren't moving any time soon, the the next TEN years of so, this IS your home, so no it's not permament, but who knows, TEN years is a LOOOOONG time.yk? My point is, think like a Buddhist, this is your reality now and you must make the best of it.
***Start a file folder, where you keep cutouts of from magazines, ads, pieces of fabric, colors, etc. of things that you love, things that give you joy and use this later as your inspiration.

If I were you, I'd start from scratch. Pick one room at a time and pull out everything completely like you were moving in for the first time. Maybe pick an easy room to start with to give you some confidence.

1. Walls/Floors: Paint is a cheap and easy way to spruce up a room. Walls and floors are where you begin. Paint is cheap, carpets can be steam cleaned (rented or hired) or can be torn up (what's underneath?). If you're afraid of color, pick a light neutral, not WHITE, something off-white, creamy or light tan, it will make a huge difference.

2. Windows: Once you get the floors and walls good, start w/the windows next. Clean the windows and make sure they work and lock. Then work on window dressings (blinds, curtains, shades, valance, etc.). You can make a simple curtain or valance in minutes if you can sew a straight line on a machine, you can also make them without sewing (google it), my sister has done it with a cute sheet and some safety pins (you'd never even know unless you looked closely).

3. Lighting: Lamps are the cheapest way to go here, check the clearance section of Lowes or Home Depot or thrift stores/garage sales.

4. Furniture and decoration: Keep it simple and neat. Think like a hotel (that is if you like that ). Keep surfaces clear {Bedside table: Lamp + book (or one other thing), that's it}. For Bedrooms, get the nicest most pretty bedding you can afford. I like to spend the limited money on neutral colored items (so that they will go with whatever house and whatever decorating style I choose) and then choose pops of color in your chosen tones. Think quality, ( I like to go with 100% cotton (organic if I can get it), thick, nice stitching, machine washable, durable, etc.). Shop around, don't get the first thing you find, really think about it if funds are limited. Nothing will be worse then spending top $$ for a nice quilt and then hating it 2 years later or finding it doesn't match your new house or you've changed your mind and don't want red anymore (been there, done that ).

5. Finally, finishing touches: Plants, rugs, mirrors, paintings, art, etc. Again, keep it simple and spare. Scour Etsy if you're not artistically inclined for some fresh art. Or visit the craft store and buy individual sheets of scrapbook paper in funky prints that you LOVE (for .59 a piece!) and frame them in groups. Cheap art. Or paint some pretty design on a canvas using acrylic paints. Or frame your children's art in their rooms or in the family/homeschool/craft/play rooms.

Ideas:
Search www.apartmenttherapy.com and flickr.com for ideas and inspiration.
Ikea has cheap and cute stuff.
Think outside the box for art and wall decorations (vinyl wall decals on Ebay, cheap and Fabulous!)

And Finally, pick one major theme for the whole house, something to tie the house together. Reasons for this are you can mix and match items from different rooms to mix it up and change it up over the years and seasons. This theme could be a color(s) or a major theme.
Examples:
Shabby Chic, vintage: think Rachel Ashwell, florals, pastels, lace, white, painted white furniture, girly and chic
Modern, think Ikea
Funky and bohemian
Neutral w/pops of color (this is my theme-I keep most everything neutral, bedding, window coverings, walls, furniture (dark brown/black and white) and pops of vibrant color in rugs, art, pillows, dishes, etc.


Hope that helps, now that I've written a novel

Living Simply and Enjoying Life
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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That was great advice.

Don't worry about painting something the wrong color. I have done this. Instead of a lovely brick red that I was going for, it was a really ugly children's tempre paint brown that made the fake wood molding look even worse. Know what I did? I just painted over it. It was okay. Now, it looks like I wanted it to.

My husband and I sometimes clash over house projects too. What he finally admitted to me was that he felt inadequate over not knowing how to do things. Like he was not "manly" enough. So, I just quietly took things over. Knowing this about him has significantly improved our relationship AND I found that I actually like to do the projects myself. (because then I get my way)
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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I agree with the feng shui suggestion! Give it a go and see what happens. Most feng shui tips are really easy to accomplish, and may help you see your space in a different light, and will give you an idea of which areas to focus on first.

I am in a sort-of similar situation. I live in the house that I grew up in, so I love it in that attachment-sense, but I don't love it as a current home. We live on a busy street, our neighbors are very close, and we have a very small amount of sun in our yard (and I love gardening!)

I also agree with some of the previous posters-- go for the painting! It can totally transform a room. I have had to repaint wall colors 4 or 5 times before and that IS frustrating, and can get expensive...but I would suggest asking a professional at the paint store for advice (bring in a few photos of your room at different times of the day). Also, if you pick a more neutral color, you're less likely to feel the need to repaint. I once tried to paint my kitchen turquoise and red-- and it ended up looking like a circus tent. Now it's a more neutral brown and red, and I love it.

Also, just moving furniture around can help you feel like you're having a fresh start.

I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a comfortable, beautiful space to live in! I, too, need to put some energy into making my home feel wonderful. I agree with a pp-- make some curtains! I need to do this too. And cleaning is a wonderful thing too-- doing the really neglected things like wiping down walls and the tops of fans...this is something that really makes a difference when I take the time to do it.

Good for you for decluttering! This is something I'm working on. It does help, doesn't it? Do you like to visit thrift stores and yard sales? I've found some really unique things at those places, that make my house feel "homey" for me.

 Married to my sweetie and enjoying life with our fabulous dog.  Expecting #1 in August 2012!!!!

 

 
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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here are my thoughts. keep in mind that my house is probably a lot like yours - there are a lot of things that need to be done and it will take me years to "get there" with it. i also have pretty much no budget for home improvement, yet i manage to find the $20 for paint or whatever it is that we're ready to do, when we get there.

make a list. mine is in a spreadsheet/workbook with a tab for each room (including the hallway, unfinished basement, front porch, yard, garage, etc). on the list i have all kinds of items that need to be done, from tiny (like putting a switchplate back in place) to huge, for each room. i also have an estimated timeframe (month or season or year if it's longer term) and estimated cost. a ton of the things on my list are free.

on one hand, having so many "to do" items might seem discouraging. on the other hand, getting a handle on it might give you a sense of regained control. and when i look at my list from time to time, it pisses me off that we haven't gotten to soooooo many things when i thought we would/could, but it's also so encouraging to see the things that are done! (i change the text to grey and change the date to "done"). over time, it does happen.

in terms of getting on the same page as dh, having a list might really help, because then you two could set the priorities together, both in terms of which rooms to focus on and in terms of which tasks you can bite off first. it sounds like you've already done some patching, so sanding would be a next "to do" which also happens to be free (assuming you have the tools or can borrow). if you still have some patching to do, that's another good one to do now since you probably have what you need. after that, before you stress yourself out about paint colors, you have to prime. so prime! it will give you the confidence to paint.

another spreadsheet that really helped me was to list all the spaces in our home and all the things we'd like to do in our home, and try to match them up. that way, i have a clearly defined purpose (or, usually, multiple purposes) for each room and i know exactly what belongs there and what doesn't. maybe that's not an issue for you, though. congratulations on all the decluttering!

now i'm going to say something in always say. can you post pics?!

eta: here are some (scary) photos from when i was doing the apartment therapy "fall cure" which i posted to track my success and lack thereof (for example, my bathroom is still just as bad).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spontaneousgeneration/
i have a ton of unfinished business, but when i looked at my list just now, it's like . . . half done! (over the course of about 18 months)
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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Paint and landscaping. If the rooms are tolerable and the outside space is nice to play/sit.

My hubby and I bought the ugliest house in Atlanta to be in the best intown school for our kids. For me, the house was only about the school choice.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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Honestly I think the perfect is the enemy of the good.

I'd pick one small room to start. Spend two weeks (only) getting an "inspiration board" together - articles from magazines (library; photocopying in colour might be expensive but at least you can get a feel for what you like), scraps of fabric you love, paint chips, whatever.

Spend 2-3 weeks acquiring anything you think will make the room. Like - paint and brushes, a single new piece of art (make your own if you like), thrift-store shelves to paint the same colour or coordinating, curtains, whatever. Don't overthink it too much. You are not going for perfect. You're going for good.

Spend one week clearing the room out. For this reason I suggest starting with a room you aren't in all the time if you have one - dining room, office, second bathroom. If not, maybe your own bedroom. While you're clearing it out, pick out some things you love for the new room - favourite books or a picture or whatever.

Then go for it: Paint, and reposition furniture. When you bring your things in make sure there are highly visible spots for the things you love.

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Old 03-02-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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I just wanted to second the idea about doing one room at a time. I feel much more motivated to work on other house projects when I have completed one area. I also like having a calm, clean, organized and well decorated space to escape too.

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Old 03-02-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post

I'm thinking about painting but I am really nervous about that - I don't have painting experience and it sounds scary, messy, and like it is easy to make mistakes. I'm afraid to go to all that work to find that I chose the wrong color. We had wallpaper in most rooms, and we've already half-removed it in some areas (see? run down.) We have one room that we renovated several years ago but never sanded/painted the patched walls. I hate the bright yellow kitchen linoleum. I hate the stained, worn carpets. I hate the musty smell in the basement. It just feels so UGLY. (But, admittedly, I made it that way or at least let it stay that way.)
You have to paint. Just do it. Even the crappiest painting job looks better than half-removed wallpaper.

I would do one room at a time, and finish it until it has finished painted walls, finished painted trim and ceiling. Then go back and work on floors. Choose the room you ate the most to start in, even if it's not the room you spend the most time in.

Choosing colors is easy, you can buy small sample tins to test out a color. Just choose one kind of neutral color and use it in your whole house to make it easier. But, even if you have the whole thing painted and then decide you hate the color, repainting a freshly painted wall is effortless - all the work is in the prep of stripping, washing, filling, sanding and priming the walls.

Quote:
We have one room that we renovated several years ago but never sanded/painted the patched walls.
I would start with this room because you're closer to having it finished. Buy a sanding block at a hardware store (like this: http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...Id=46387559833 ) and sand it down, then prime it (really, makes SUCH a difference!) Then go and get a ton of paint swatches and stick them up on your wall. When you've got two or three favorites, get samples of them and paint a square on the wall before you decide on the color.

Quote:
Spend two weeks (only) getting an "inspiration board" together - articles from magazines (library; photocopying in colour might be expensive but at least you can get a feel for what you like), scraps of fabric you love, paint chips, whatever.

Spend 2-3 weeks acquiring anything you think will make the room. Like - paint and brushes, a single new piece of art (make your own if you like), thrift-store shelves to paint the same colour or coordinating, curtains, whatever. Don't overthink it too much. You are not going for perfect. You're going for good.

Spend one week clearing the room out. For this reason I suggest starting with a room you aren't in all the time if you have one - dining room, office, second bathroom. If not, maybe your own bedroom. While you're clearing it out, pick out some things you love for the new room - favourite books or a picture or whatever.

Then go for it: Paint, and reposition furniture. When you bring your things in make sure there are highly visible spots for the things you love.
I think this is a good idea, but honestly, the OP will probably feel a ton better if she just gets the whole house painted white and then thinks about decorating, or peel and stick vinyl tiles. If she tries to pull a whole scheme together and she's like me, she'll get frozen in fear of getting it wrong.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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If you're scared of painting - read up on it a bit and simply take your time (seriously, I tend to take the better part of a week to finish painting a room - pros can do stuff in 1-2 days, but my jobs turn out just fine because I know I'm not a pro and I just need the extra time to prepare stuff and do it carefully - martha stewart's website actually has great step-by-step painting and prepping advice that I like). You can also find cheap paint around craigslist or habitat for humanity thrift shops that people didn't need all of. If you can handle not caring too much about what color you've got (and hey - mixing a few different ones into a bucket of white can work out pretty well too) and know that just a paint job would help that's a great way to get started. Or, when in doubt, pick nice calming browns that coordinate - they're more liveable than whites (and this is what stagers will do in getting a place ready to sell).

If some areas are just too much to do - I've seen people do whole wall curtains in some rooms, that could cover up an unappealing area that you just don't yet have time/skill/money to fix. Just doing that along the worst wall of a room as a temporary fix (with screw eyes and tension wires and lightweight fabric) could be another easy solution toward feeling like things are more 'together'.

It helps me too, to get motivation going, to focus mostly on one room at a time - spend a month making changes in whatever room you use the most or almost-the-most. I'll help your discouragement about feeling 'everything' needs to get redone to have one or two places that are in pretty good shape.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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I vote you start with the mold, since it's probably the biggest health hazard you describe. Do you have any neighbors who can help with some of your projects? Maybe in exchange for babysitting or something?
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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I feel your pain, oh my goodness do I feel it! UGH. I hate my house. I have been renting this house for almost 4 years and I despise it. We moved here out of desperation to find a place when moving back to this area from out of state and it was the only thing we could find. But honestly, I hate it and always have. It was just a roof over our heads and that was what was important. Due to finances, I will probably not be able to swing moving for a WHILE. At least another year. So I started consignment shopping. I'm a single mom on a seriously tiny budget. I picked up some deep red sheers for a few bucks for my living room. A month later a gorgeous plant. I minimally sew so I made some pillows for my couch out of scraps I already had. I am in the process of knitting a quilt for my youngest daughter's bed. I found a coffee table I liked on the side of the road and picked it up. It's just the little thing. My house is a mishmosh of stuff and colors. I like deep jewel tones and LOTS of color to brighten up my boring white walls in my rented home. Nothing I can do about painting and my gross stained berber carpets. But a nice collection of funky pillows or new curtains or a new collection of photos on my walls brightened up my living room. Going to try mooching some plants off my parents this spring to brighten up my yard too. I guess my main thing is just living in the moment and trying to FIND things to love about this house since I finally just gave up and gave in to being stuck here. All I can say that I love so far is that I like my neighbors(we are in a duplex) and the schools are decent and I have a nice pantry closet. That's it. But it's something!

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Old 03-03-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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oh yeah and try just moving furniture around. I took out a table from my bedroom and put it in my living room and moved some stuff around and it looked SO much better. Think outside the box!

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Old 03-03-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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I second a previous posters idea of finding out what's under the old carpeting. My home had ugly grey wall to wall carpet when we bought it. I invested in a bamboo floor for the downstairs, but upstairs discovered the original wood floors--I rented a sander and did an adequate (NOT perfect: and that's okay!) job of sanding and refinishing them--it cost me a couple hundred dollars. Even if you find cement slab under the carpet, that can be a potentially beautiful floor. Beautifully finished cement floors here:
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I second a previous posters idea of finding out what's under the old carpeting.
Thanks. The main floor has plywood - the house was built in 1969, so no beautiful wood underneath, unfortunately. The rec room is on a concrete slab, so that could be possible for future floor improvement. But that carpet is not a priority to get up - it's the living room floor and kitchen floor that bug me, and those are over plywood.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:33 AM
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places like lowes and home depot offer free classes in a number of DIY projects from painting to putting down your own floors and everything in between.

choose a space to begin, declutter and clean it. decide what needs to be done. take classes and learn those skills. scour craig's list, freecycle, and even those home improvement stores for unwanted paint and supplies at greatly discounted prices. and then slowly begin the process.

when you DIY, you really begin to take deep pride in your home.

it'll turn around. just take your time.
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:09 AM
 
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Y'know what's funny? I think I remember you posting pics of your house in the "clean, clear, clutter free space" thread a ways back, and thinking how charming your home was. And spotless! Completely clutter free! With four kids! I was amazed.

(I hope I have this right and that WAS you. )

Anyway. Paint. You'll be so glad you did.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Y'know what's funny? I think I remember you posting pics of your house in the "clean, clear, clutter free space" thread a ways back, and thinking how charming your home was. And spotless! Completely clutter free! With four kids! I was amazed.

(I hope I have this right and that WAS you. )

Anyway. Paint. You'll be so glad you did.
You are right, I did post pictures. Thank you for remembering! (Maybe I should go back and look at them with fresh eyes? But didn't you notice the awful walls? Or did I maybe downplay that in the pictures? Quite possible. I do think I have a handle on the decluttering and comfy living...my house isn't always spotless but it's generally pretty tidy and well-organized. it's just...the shell, the house around it, you know? The walls have little bits of wallpaper and wallpaper paste and crayon marks cluttering them up. And my attitude apparently need repainting along with the walls.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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it's the living room floor and kitchen floor that bug me, and those are over plywood.
Peel and stick vinyl tiles!
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/g...l-tiles-020664

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-...595318,00.html
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
Thanks. The main floor has plywood - the house was built in 1969, so no beautiful wood underneath, unfortunately. The rec room is on a concrete slab, so that could be possible for future floor improvement. But that carpet is not a priority to get up - it's the living room floor and kitchen floor that bug me, and those are over plywood.
Plywood can be painted and sealed, and then when you have the money, you can just lay a "real" floor down over it. If you do a google search on "painted plywood floors," you'll come up with a lot of hits of both inspirational photos and DIY advice.

I agree with the advice without painting. The biggest input I can offer is two things: don't scrimp on prep time (I learned this from my meticulous husband) and don't scrimp on decent brushes. Makes a huge difference. If you can afford a better paint, you'll be able to tell the difference as well. But, DH and I like strong colors, so better paint is more important, IMO. With pastels and neutrals, it won't be as pleasant to paint with cheaper paints, but it'll still look great. Oh, and make sure you pick the right gloss. I like eggshell, because it catches a little light and is easier to clean than flat, but it doesn't show imperfections in the walls like a semi- or hi-gloss.

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Old 03-03-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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A good way to find a paint color you love is to visit coffee houses, book stores and restaurants. Then call up and ask the owner what colors they used. I loved the ginger in La Madeleine restaurants and used that color for my home.

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Old 03-03-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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I feel your pain, to a lesser degree - we're in an apartment that I passionately hate. We've been trying to move since last year, but our options are limited because we can't afford much and it's hard to find apartments that are big enough for a family of 5.

Like everyone else said - paint! I repainted most of the walls in our apartment about 6 months ago, and it made such a huge difference. I didn't know what I was doing, and I just used Walmart paint and cheap rollers, but it did the job. Also, I couldn't deal with the nasty stained Berber carpeting in the living room, so I got an inexpensive area rug from Target that covered the worst of it.

A, wife to R and mom to 3 boys: D~ 10/05, J~ 8/07, and B~ 12/09 and welcoming a new little one in May 2015
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:04 PM
 
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Big, big, hugs and a lot of sympathy! No real advice, but I hope it works out for you and you find a way to love your home!

Jenn: WOHM to a big girl (7/03), a medium girl (8/07), and a little girl (12/10)
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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You should post those pics again, or take new ones. Maybe we could help you if we could see the canvas, yk?

Focus on the positives, too -- what DO you love? What do your kids love? What areas are your favorites and why? Can you recreate the feeling a particular space or room evokes elsewhere, with decor, paint, simple trimmings?

I really like our home, but there are a few key areas that I *loathe* (the tiny entry, the laundry in the garage...), and often find myself nitpicking and dwelling on those instead of the spaces and nooks where I find such comfort and joy.

I just found a simple living blog -- someone posted it here, I'll go look in a minute and link if I can find it... She painted her plywood floors white, and they look totally fresh and airy. As they wear, she can just re-coat.

ETA: Here is the blog, and this is the post on painted floors.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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Also a bit woo woo ... but how about a house-cleansing ritual?
We do one whenever we move into a new home, or need to clear a bad vibe. You can look them up on line for inspiration.

The one I do is super simple, but very meaningful for me.
I start sweeping at the back of each room, 'collecting' all the negative and bringing it towards the front door ... and then you sweep that bad energy right out the door! You can say a prayer while you do this, or not.

And then ... go outside, take a deep breath and sweep in the positive, using your broom, 'gather' that positive, fresh energy and sweep it into the house and all the way into each room and every nook and cranny.
While you do this, you can say a new prayer, meditate on how you want your home to be, or just visualize your home as a cozy, satisfying place.

I need to do this with the place we're in now. I'm always on the verge of moving, when really, I should just embrace it.

And paint.
Can't say enough about paint!

ETA: This ritual is also good if you've had a horrible house guest and want to cleanse your home of their energy.

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
Plywood can be painted and sealed, and then when you have the money, you can just lay a "real" floor down over it. If you do a google search on "painted plywood floors," you'll come up with a lot of hits of both inspirational photos and DIY advice.
I would second this idea. My brother and SIL did this because they had a house that was a huge fixer and the carpet while it didn't look too bad it was full of cat smell and allergens for both of them. They ripped out the carpet in their living/dining room and painted it. Then went on to work on some projects that were more structural . They have since installed expensive maple floors, but I am not sure I didn't like them better with paint
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:53 PM
 
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If you're scared of painting - read up on it a bit and simply take your time (seriously, I tend to take the better part of a week to finish painting a room - pros can do stuff in 1-2 days, but my jobs turn out just fine because I know I'm not a pro and I just need the extra time to prepare stuff and do it carefully - <snip>.
Ha! It took me about 5 weeks to do my living room.

You've gotten some excellent advice. I'm just going to add a couple thoughts:

PAINT:

I've used the discount/cast off paints from Home Depot before - great budget buy! Just check there once a week or so for neutrals or anything that will work.

Go for flat finish as much as you can if your walls have issues.

Is your trim painted? All mine is off-white and I'm painting it (trim, doors and windows) room by room - same color, just fresh paint. I cannot BELIEVE the difference it is making.

Buy good tools and take your time. Painting takes a long time to get it right. Be patient. I'd take one wall, practice with whatever cheap paint you can find until you get it right. Then prime and start for real.

FLOORS:

Peel and stick can be your friend.

Or painted plywood (porch paint!) and cheap area rugs - maybe Craigslist?


Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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i agree with so much of what the others say. first off paint will make a huge difference. what is your trim like? you can also paint over your trim if you don't like how it looks.

i spent a lot of time on www.hgtv.com at one time they had a lot of before and after rooms and they have a lot of information on how to do things yourself.

the flooring i would totally take out the carpet and paint the plywood or use the peel and stick tiles and throw some nice area rugs over top. my friend pulled out her carpet and they just painted over the plywood until they can afford something, and it looks pretty good.

if you posted pictures then we might come up with some more ideas for you

Midwifery student , Mama to my 4 amazing kids. treehugger.gif

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Old 03-09-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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I recommend becoming a regular at your local Home Depot or Lowe's store. My brother built his own 900 square foot home and bought every single thing to "decorate" either on sale or on clearance. Our local HD only waits 24 hours for someone to pick up their paint, and then they put it on clearance for either $5 or $10 per gallon, depending on the brand. I recommend using Behr paint as it holds up to scratches, marks, etc. well -- and with 4 children, that might come in handy. Also -- they seem to clearance flooring down quite often, as well. My brother laid ceramic tile in his kitchen and bathroom for cheaper than he could have put linoleum down. If you're not sure on how to do it -- they offer free classes. I'll be taking the next one they offer so that I can tile a backsplash and our fireplace.

Don't forget about places like Freds, Dollar General, etc. -- they often have great stuff for super cheap. If you have older furniture, spray paint or regular paint can spruce it up nicely. My older sister gave us a FUGLY Christmas-green dresser that was HER mothers when she was small. It was real wood and in great condition, so I sanded it, spray painted it white and added cute knobs that I picked up at Hobby Lobby for 1/2 off (they run those sales often). If you check the Sunday paper, you can almost always find 40% or 50% off coupons to Michael and Joanns. Even if you just buy one thing at a time, even if it takes you longer to finish the project, that's a chunk of money saved.

Maybe you should post a picture of the room you decide to do first and let people offer suggestions, so you don't feel overwhelmed?

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four angels watching over us -- 4.2003, 3.2004, 2.2009, 9.2009
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