Some Before and Afters

We are finally getting to the finishing touches on our new house. It’s been a lot of work, but nothing compared to the one we live in now. Of course, we know more about what we are doing now which helps a lot!

I called this house my ugly duckling. It really was not in too bad shape on the inside, but had “cosmetic issues” as they say. Sometimes, you got have vision–and a buyer’s agent who drives a hard bargain.

Here’s the outside before:

Yeah, it’s a rental.
Circa 1977 bushes.

And here’s the after:

Landscaping timbers and low-maintenance plants “borrowed” from my old house.

 We didn’t do much with the backyard, but it does look a lot better with the new paint.  When we move back, we want to put a big screen porch on the side with the patio doors. It’s the perfect spot for one.

Future screen porch.

The giant silver maple looming over the house would not have been my first choice, and the roots are everywhere, but at least now that it’s been pruned back it’s not completely blocking out the sun any more–or threatening the roof!

As for the inside, well, there was a lot of painting involved. We used about 8 gallons of primer alone. I am so thankful to my daughter and her college friends–they worked really hard for beer and pizza money!

The kitchen was probably the most work.

A black kitchen? Really??

This photo actually makes it look nicer than it was, if you can believe that. The cabinets were OK, and pretty clean, but had not been attached to the walls. Oops! And then the ugly beige countertops hadn’t been attached to the cabinets. So, I just lifted them off and threw them away. I don’t think demo is supposed to be quite that easy.

Kilz just slid right off these walls. They were painted with something called Plastic-Kote. I went to Home Depot, asked for advice and came home with the serious, nasty, stinky primer. Even then, it took two coats to get the walls to a state of paintability. And two coats of paint on top of that. But it was totally worth it to get rid of that black!

Cabinets screwed to walls, new precut laminate countertops screwed down to the cabinets, and an inexpensive fake metal (but rather spiffy) new backsplash. New dishwasher because the old one was toast. New sink and disposal. Dirty 1970s flying saucer light replaced with an inexpensive track light, and dingy ceiling painted glossy white. Because in a tiny galley kitchen with a tiny little window you want LIGHT, not impenetrable gloom, right? Unless you are weird Goth vampire people. I’m just saying.

Not nuts about that floor, which I think is an amateur job done with big, cheap patio tile. But it is indestructible, and we plan to replace all the floors when we get back, anyway.

Altogether, and counting what I paid the plumber, I reckon we spent well under a thousand dollars to get this kitchen in good working order. It won’t scare off renters anymore, and we can live with it for a while when we get back until we treat ourselves to a serious kitchen upgrade. And I love the green 🙂

That’s all for now.  More photos to follow in the next few days.



  1. Wow, I really like seeing the before and after pix together. You know, you culd probbly flip this and make a ot of money and not have to be a landlord from 6000 miles away!


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