With my husband on a mission to clean and organize our garage, I am once again feeling the renovation bug. Living in a normal house, this wouldn’t be a huge deal. We don’t live in a ‘normal’ house. We live in the house my husband’s family lived in before he was born sixty years ago. Renovations in an older home are a big deal – a huge deal.
When I met my (second) husband, I was renting a duplex for my three teenagers and myself. After my sons graduated from school and moved out, Dan decided we should move into his house. Dan, my daughter and I, living in his house. The first couple of years we worked on the interior of the house to make it a bit homier – a bit of paint here, new sink taps there, some new flooring. We did things in manageable projects and worked as a team.
With the interior of the house coming together, we felt it was time to start working on the exterior. Nothing heroic, a little fresh paint on the window frames. This was when Dan decided to educate me on the real challenges of renovating an older home.
Apparently, one could not just paint the exterior window frames. First they had to be scraped and sanded. These were not normal windows. These were windows made up of a number of small, framed panels. I started with the living room window. Having broken several of those miserable little panels, we decided it would be easier to just replace the entire mess with a new picture window. Dan scraped and sanded the rest of the windows, saving me the aggravation of fighting with them and us the cost of replacing any more of them. Now they were ready to paint – or so I thought.
Dan decided that before we painted the window frames, we should paint the house. That made sense, as painting the house later would risk getting paint spills on the freshly painted windows. Now it was time to call in my son Mark, to help me tear all the eaves troughs off the house, as one does not paint an old house without replacing the eaves troughs.
I don’t remember why we had to cut down the twenty foot tree in the back yard, but it had to go. The stump is still there. Every summer it becomes host to a huge patch of mushrooms which we dig out only to have them magically re-appear. However, with the tree gone, we were ready to paint the house – as soon as Dan repaired a few cracks in the stucco and brushed any dried paint flakes off it.
Fortunately, by the time we had the house prepared and painted, the window frames painted and the new eave troughs installed, winter was well on it’s way. The new roof, garage and garden shed had to wait for another round of ambition that hit us a few years later.
There are a few projects we would still like to tackle. It would be nice to finally have that home gym in the garage. Would it really be worth it? That is questionable, but we will see how we are feeling after Dan finishes his cleaning and organizing.