Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Lied...A Little

I have a confession to make, y'all.  I lied.  Just a little.  It was more a lie of omission, as the priest would say, than an intentional lie.  So if you're grading on the curve, I thought I'd throw that in there.

Anyhow, my long absence from this blog has not been entirely because I was mourning the loss of the clawfoot tub.  It's because I have a serious case of Renovation Burnout.  I mean, a serious case.  Like, almost terminal.  I have not done a damn thing on my house other than to maintain the usual state of untidiness and clutter since...oh, my...since August 2nd.  Oops.  I told my daughter-in-law that I'd taken a thirty-day break from the house.  Hey, Sarah, make that a sixty-day break.  Yowza.

Just how bad is this Renovation Burnout?  Bad enough that I seriously contemplated chucking it all in and buying another house.  Yeah...that bad.  Not just any house, though.  An 1845 Greek Revival that's six blocks from my house in another one of the four National Register Historic Districts in my town.  It's a terrific little house.   You can see for yourselves here.  (The photos don't do it justice.)  The two upstairs bedrooms are tucked under the slope of the roof and are cute as can be.  The kitchen's really pretty, the hardwood floors are gorgeous (I wonder if Joey refinished them??), the rooms are all painted these warm Pottery Barn colors, and the downstairs bathroom even has a clawfoot tub.  The best part is:  the house is done.  Done.  Finished.  Routine maintenance only.  No painting to be done, no wallpaper to be hung, no glue-crusted floors to be refinished, no yucky 1970s bathrooms, no picture rail to hang, no light switches that don't work, and as far as I know no scary trap-door basement.  (I have to end this list here, before I cry.) Tempting.  And did you see the price?!  Holy Buyer's Market, Batman!! 

So then, I appealed to my friend John (a house appraiser and old-house-freak like myself) before I ran off foaming at the mouth to the realtor's office.
Me:  "Talk me out of this, John.  You know, like you did before."
John:  "Location, location, location.  You've got location where you are.  There's a reason this house is down to where it is."
Me:  "But I love her."
John:  "Just say no!....To debt."
Me:  "But I love her."
John:  "Your house has one of the best locations you can probably get in Lexington."
Me:  "But...but..."
John:  "Sorry to piss in your Post Toasties, but you asked me to."
Me:  "I know...but still, with all that said, this house makes me swoon.  It's like being in love with someone I know is bad for me.  I mean, I think it's like that.  I certainly have no experience with that.  Nope.  Not me."

So I didn't go running off like a rabid chicken to the realtor's office.  (Do chickens get rabies??  Christine??)  And that's only partly because by the time I woke up Saturday afternoon the realtor's office was already closed.  Today I'm safe, because it's Sunday. 

Dear Readers, I appeal to you:  One of you, please buy that house.  Or make me an offer on mine.  I beg of you, buy that house.  It's the only way to end this craziness and house-loathing.


  1. That is a wonderful house. I can see why you're tempted. And I know the overwhelmed feeling.

    I still have angst over letting my childhood home, which came on the market for 1/3 its appraised property value price, go a couple of years ago.

    Too bad we don't both have a zillion dollars, so we could have two houses :-)

    Maybe the cure is to pick a Kelly House project that will pay off in terms of improved appearance and get that done?

  2. On second thought, if it's only six blocks away and it's in a safe neighborhood...

    One thing is, if you wait until you know what you feel comfortable doing, either the price will come down further or the house will be sold, solving your problem.

  3. Are you crazy start packing, that is too good to pass up. I would buy it in a heart beat, it is beautiful!!!

  4. Cute house! I'm guessing you'd love living there... for the first few months. And then you'd find yourself casting fond memories of the Kelly House's glue encrusted floors. The thing is, The Other House may be perfectly finished, but it's someone else's perfectly finished.

    Don't feel bad... all of us enslaved to an older house covet ones that are perfectly finished. Heck, I used to whisper sweet nothings to the - gasp - sliding cutlery drawer at my sister's 100 year younger condo. Like, it actually slid closed flawlessly. It didn't bump and stick along on its million-times-painted wooden groove, requiring me to slam my hip into it to get it to close. It's the small things, really.

    Hang on to what you got. It may be unfinished, it may be ruthless in nagging you to paint trim when you're trying to enjoy, well, anything else. But it's YOUR mess, and I know you'd miss it once it was gone. Take all the time off you need to recover from the burnout. You'll find your house mojo again, and then you'll chuckle at the memory of the pretty one that got away.

  5. I too know the lure of the "finished" house. To step into a life without the big to-do list. But it will not be finished by you. Your house is dang cute and you have put alot of time and thought into it. But the other house is done, and lovely, and by NW cost standards, very inexpensive. BUT, WTB would not be your neighbor. Seems you should take that into consideration.

  6. Jayne, you have a diamond in the rough. Keep your eye on the prize! I know how you feel though, I've lived here for 33 years and finally got my bedroom remodeled! Between making farm payments and raising kids, my bedroom had to wait. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing!
    One of my prayers is, "Lord, make me like Paul, content in whatever circumstance I'm in." Every time I see a beautiful home I get envious, then I have to realize how blessed I am with what I have. It's easy to look at others and covet, but hard to stay content where we're at.
    Perhaps you could take one room from the other house that you really like, and recreate that look in your house. Whether it's wall color, carpet, drapes, or whatever - indulge yourself!
    If that don't work....a good fall cleaning will do wonders! Seriously! Whenever I want a new car I have mine waxed and detailed, then it feels like I'm drivig a new car!

  7. But does the new house come with a WTB????

    Great neighbors are few and far between.

    You just have a bad case of burn out. Enjoy the baseball playoffs and hit it again this winter when there is nothing else to do.

    I think you would feel differently about your house if you had your floors finished.

    I was able to get the glue off my kitchen floor by using towels soaked in hot water. It softens the horse hide glue and you can scrap it right off. Hurry and dry floor afterwards. Work in small areas. Smells like an old stinky horse. I noticed my housed smelled better after we scrapped it all up.

    I've done this twice at two different houses and had the same results. The black stuff is the backing of the old floor covering.

    I used hand towels that were wet and heated up in the microwave. Use tongs and rubber gloves. Spread the towel on the floor let sit for 5 minutes and then scrap. Have a box handy to put the scrapping in and you can use the side of the box to clean your scrapper. I used a 4 inch wide scrapper.

    After the glue is gone wash your floor down a couple of times using a damp, NOT wet, mop or cloth.

    Then you are ready to sand and finish.

  8. Give yourself a break. You know you'd miss the Kelly House and WTB's proximity. But I confess, I literally gasped when I saw the asking price. I don't know if I've ever gasped because a price was low!

    And, you say it's done but who knows what lurks under the PB paint?

  9. Meh. Near as I can tell from the lo-res photos, the house has some things going for it (including a Realtor who's "honored to serve you") but yours is going to be every bit as sweet.

    After 7 years of slogging away on my place, I've learned to accept the burnout and go with it when it happens. There's no timetable that says you have to finish it by a certain date.

    If there are things that absolutely must be done before winter, do them. Then just kick back and relax for the winter (or longer if need be). Indulge yourself. Eventually, one of the projects will start calling your name, and you'll get motivated to respond.

  10. Dunno if this is the right thing to say, but, to me, the pictures look like a flip-renovation, rather than an 'I-give-a-s****'-renovation. I bet those fancy paint colors are all gloppy up close because they didn't prep the walls well first. Love you house much more.

    That said, I'm not sure if I can truthfully encourage you to take a break if you think you need one. We tried that two years ago and are now expecting a kid with only one bedroom in a close-to-livable state (and even that is missing all the trim, part of the ceiling, and a door).

    So, my best advice is organize what you need to do, and get that forward momentum rolling again. It's so much harder to get going again once you've stopped and remember all the other things you used to do with free time. At least, it was for us.

  11. I've been delaying posting because I've been attempting to determin the zoning ordinance and if I can put sheep and chickens on that lot! Holy sh** batman that house is CUTE! And a very attractive price for Lexington, yes?

    You realize though you'd get bored and start renovating that one too as soon as you moved in and noticed all the little defects, right? I know you. You're like me. Trust me, no good can come of it.

    And no, I do not belive there has been a documented case of chicken rabies although it certainly paints a very funny image in my mind. ;)

  12. I was driven to look this up - who gets rabies? Mammals, but it's rare in the little ones like rabbits, mice, chipmunks, etc.