Just Call Me The Renovatrix

Getting my photos organized here. Some more before-and-afters:

First, the living room/dining room. It was red. Vampire red. Everywhere. Including the trim. And yes, that is carpet around the hearth. And the cheapest laminate flooring you can possibly imagine.

There is one thing you can say about Pergo (you can’t call it hardwood and keep a straight face unless you are a Realtor™). It is absolutely indestructible. I dropped all kinds of things on it while were working, from hammers to drills, and there is nary a ding. Paint drips? No problem, just scrape them off with a knife or steel wool. And anyway, we hate the floor. So, renting to pet owners = no problem.

Wow, that’s really….red.
A very special chandelier. I think I saw it in the movie Catherine the Great.

Now, the same room in process…

Really a lot of primer.

And, after one coat of Kilz and three coats of Behr Swiss Coffee on everything, including the trim, plus two coats of ceiling paint…

I got the chandelier off Craig’s List for $25. It’s a placeholder for something really cool that I will pick up in Vienna.
So NOT red!

Yes, the Swiss Coffee is kind of bland, but it is a rental, and the main point was just to get rid of the red! Swiss Coffee will be easy to paint over later if we have a mind to.

In case you are wondering, I didn’t actually paint everything myself. My husband did most of the ceilings, and my daughter and her college friends were a HUGE help, working for beer/travel money.

I found some leftover Pergo in a closet, and framed out the hearth using screws and Liquid Nails (my new BFF). It’s not elegant, but better than grungy carpet? I think so.

The nickel sconces are off eBay. I paid an electrician to come in and put lights everywhere there ought to be lights. (What is it with the no-lights bedrooms?) Existing fixtures I changed out myself. Which leads to:

***A Word About Electrical Stuff***

There are many things about renovating that are not fun, but personally, I think electrical work is kind of fun. And easy! Especially compared to plumbing which I HATE and hate even MORE the older I get. Plumbing is a young person’s game, and that’s the truth.

But I digress.

Builder-grade fixtures are just so freakin’ ugly. Especially the shiny brass 80s ones. And lighting is also very personally taste-specific. See baroque chandelier, above. Or just walk through any lighting department at Home Depot. One person’s dream is another one’s nightmare. (Again, see chandelier, above.)

I can actually add new lights myself, and have done so in the past. It’s not rocket science. I just referred to a Black and Decker electrical how-to book. But it is a fair amount of work, especially in a drywalled room, and if you have the money, I think it makes more sense to pay an electrician to do that.

Changing out light fixtures, however, can be accomplished just by reading the instructions in the box, or watching YouTube videos. And, a Y chromosome is certainly not required. If anything, having smaller, nimbler girlie hands is an advantage for any kind of electrical work.

Another easy project with a lot of bang for the buck is replacing outlets and switches. All you have to do is remember to shut off the circuit and wire the new outlet or switch the same way as the old one. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be replacing them in 5-10 minutes, tops. New outlets are safer if you install them correctly, and they add a nice finishing touch to a room.

Yucky old outlet (plate had been painted–you guessed it–red.
Don’t forget to paint the switches red.
Spiffy new outlet. Cool!

OK, no more DIY lecture. Here’s a couple more before-and-afters to round this post out:

Gray.
Slightly lighter gray.
Not gray! With a light!

Well, you get the idea. Flat gray very bad, off-white and lighting much better. One day, this will make a very nice little office, I think.

Next time: the Dreaded Brown Bathroom of Doom!

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