Monday, September 17, 2012

my HGTV weekend

Front yard in progress.  

If I ever had any idea that fixing up old houses would be fun I've been disabused of that notion.  Although I obsessively watch home and garden tv and I do love a good project, tackling the minor fix-ups of KT and G's house to get it ready to rent was a three day extravaganza of cat hair.  They have, or I should say, KT has, two cats.  They shed ALL THE TIME.  And no one ever cleans thoroughly enough to rid the house of cat hair.

We started with cleaning out the stuff they left behind, including the singleton shoes (I wonder if they have the mates in Ann Arbor?), stuff left in the back of closets, and one of their good plates that I found on the back porch.  After filling a couple of garbage bags it was on to cleaning floors, walls, baseboards, and radiators of a sheer fuzz of cat hair.  That was before you could actually do anything else because every step you took, every breath you took, made the cat hair fly around.  So after sweeping and wiping all the surfaces Charlie took a final run through with the shop vac which has enough suction to vacuum up the entire cat.  Then we started on cleaning all the walls of dirt, smudges, streaks, etc.  They came out looking great and there is no need to paint.  Thank goodness for using good paint when it was last painted. 

Then I attacked the painting of the bathroom.  It had been completely redone last year after a major shower leak but they never got around to painting it.  They had selected a nice grey tone with looks really good with the black and white tiles and black grout.  My other painting project was to clean and paint the spot in the living room ceiling where the water had leaked from the bathroom.   I was able to get the spot cleaned up and painted but the texture of the paint doesn't match the rest of the ceiling.  I didn't bother to repaint the entire ceiling but it does bother me that it is slightly off.

Doesn't the kitchen look pretty!
Next on to cleaning the kitchen.  Opening the refrigerator was a surprise and included finding cat hair!  It looked like they still lived there including the box with the leftover pizza (which we ate for lunch) and I did appreciate the Natty Boh's that they left (National Bohemian beer for those of you not familiar with the famous beer of Baltimore).  The cabinets had all sorts of half-empty pasta boxes but after finding some  meal moths I discarded everything because I didn't want to take any home with me.  I also bug sprayed the kitchen cabinets so that the next person won't have that problem.  I used a great new bug spray that doesn't smell and lasts a year!  It was easy to do since the cabinets were all empty.

Charlie tackled lots of small repairs just to make the house look a little more "finished".  The girls have a tendency to get almost done with a project and stop just short of the last step.  My favorite "not quite done" example is one new knob for the kitchen cabinet I found with all sorts of assorted hardware items left in a kitchen drawer.  In the mix of assorted stuff I saw a knob that matched their cabinet knobs and I thought "Oh, they must have miscounted when they replaced them."  Then I looked up and saw that one cabinet still had the old knob on it.  In 30 seconds I replaced it with the new knob. 

Our final effort was to get all the tangle of weeds and vines cleared from the back yard.  This was the project that I most dreaded and it was surprisingly easy.  It seems that an earlier owner had put down that black fabric to keep weeds from growing.  It didn't keep the weeds from growing but it did keep them from growing deep roots so you could almost roll the vines up like a carpet.  We now have the yard down to dirt.  Not hugely attractive but at least you don't fear what may be living in the underbrush.

We did three solid days of work and now the house is cute as a button.  We had a lot of traffic looking at it while we were there, especially since the property manager had given the address in the craiglist ad and we got a lot of walk-ins.  I could assure the people that the parking situation is easy and the neighborhood is safe, especially the family that was looking at an apartment for their two college-age daughters.  I know that there are at least two applications for the house and, hopefully, we will get good news soon that it is rented.


marianne said...

May I live here please? :) Love the kitchen! I am so longing for a home of my own I can feel it! Beautiful job! Good luck renting it! xoxo

jaykaym said...

Marianne - I wish I could transport the house to you in California. It is tiny - like a little fairy house - with a big kitchen and screened back porch and I think it would be perfect for you! But don't give up hope on your new home. It is out there, waiting for you to give it beauty and life.