As reported earlier, when M and I first agreed to buy this house in Longueuil, we were under the impression that it didn’t really need to be painted. It’s not that the colors were specifically to our liking, but they weren’t particularly offensive and we figured we could live with them for a while. Then, when we finally took possession last week and saw the place empty, we had second thoughts.
There are a number of problems. For one thing, the previous owners took a lot of stuff off the walls when they left, leaving gaps in the paint where the clips holding up mirrors and such used to be. In fact, the paint all around had been very badly applied — they had painted over light switches and electrical sockets the way careless landlords do.
Now keep in mind that these people built this place — its not like the face plates were already painted over when they moved in. No, they were just very careless. This boggles my mind, because not only does it look sloppy and amateurish, but it essentially condemns future paint jobs to the same fate unless one is willing to remove all the face plates and replace them with new ones. I did that in my condo last year and that one detail made the place look so much better. We’re doing it again in this house.
It’s so easy to remove a face plate. Just a few little screws, that’s all. Remove the face plate, put a bit of masking tape over the socket or the light switch, and your walls will always look fresh and new. To not do so — particularly in a newly-built house with virgin face plates — is careless and stupid. And while we’re discussing painting tips, you should not paint over baseboard heaters! Doing so makes your house look like a cheap apartment!
What a mess
Anyway, there was also the problem of all that beige. Beige! It’s bad enough that I have three pairs of beige khakis, but now it’s all over my home!
The outside of the house is made of some kind of vertical vinyl siding that is … beige. The entranceway is painted in a nice shade of … beige. That particular beige is really annoying because it has hints of salmon or peach. Ewww.
The living room is sort of a buttery yellow that in certain light looks… beige. The kitchen, fortunately, is red and white, but the dining room is sort of … beige.
The second floor (the bedrooms) and the basement are all just plain white — thank gawd. But just when I thought I had seen all the beige there is to see I stepped out into our back yard to look up at the glorious turning leaves on our mature old trees and I noticed that the fence all the way around the yard is… beige.
Step out of the dining room
and look up…
Something had to be done. Fortunately, this was a long weekend in Canada. So we tackled the living room. These things always take much longer than expected, so we didn’t get as much done as we had hoped, but we did make significant progress. The main thing is that we transformed the living room from that silly buttery beige to… a different shade of beige.
Wait wait wait! Instead of buttery, it’s now the color of Haagen Daz coffee ice cream, or really milky café au lait. It’s a sophisticated beige… a beige for the new millennium!
And of course it looks better than you can imagine, because we painted the ceiling a nice crisp white, and the trim (the baseboards and the door frames) is now white, so the color is a feature and not just a boring suburban cop out. To make the color stand out more, the fireplace will be painted in a very, very light beige from the same palette (imagine adding more milk to the coffee). This will all work very well with the dark chocolate brown floor in that room.
We probably won’t get to it before the move (next week), but we bought the paint to transform the dining room. We will brighten it up with a lively white on the ceiling and the long walls, and the short walls will get the same light green that M used in her apartment last year. That green will also be used in the powder room on the ground floor.
At some point we will get rid of the peachy beige in the entranceway, but that will be a tough job because of all those doorways and corners so we will likely get put that off for a while.
I also managed to find time to clean the grease out of the range hood. What a disaster area that was! I don’t think it had been cleaned in ten years, so it the grease stank up the house. It was made worse because the outside vent was fused shut (with grease) so when you turned on the range hood it wasn’t venting, just blowing around. Gawd knows how long its been like that. To make matters worse, the previous owners had removed a lot of the coverings inside the hood (such as the cover over the light) so everything — including the light sockets — was covered in old slimy grease. There’s only so much I can do, so it’s not exactly sparkling, but at least it isn’t dripping grease anymore, and it’s venting properly.
The house has five exterior lights, and only one worked. It was mostly a matter of changing bulbs, but one of them — the one at the end of the driveway — still won’t work, so that’s a challenge for another day.
The main floor has a powder room, and upstairs are three bedrooms and a bathroom. Between them all, only one door closed properly. It’s not because the walls shifted, but because the doors to those rooms are quite new and they were all badly installed. That’s another thing I fixed this weekend.
The joys of home ownership. If you’re still reading this I thank you, and I promise I will try not to turn the blork blog into some kind of chronicle of suburbia — or if I do, I’ll at least try to make it interesting. Maybe I’ll give you the David Lynch version, for example, where all the neighbourhood dominatrixes wear beige.