So here's what we started with:
So not awful, but not great. The previous owner had been a pretty heavy smoker (check out the yellow outline in the picture above - and that's from after the whole house had been painted white in preparation for selling the place. That's how nicotine-stained it got in that period. Now check out the fridge:
Gah! But we didn't really have the money to buy a new fridge right off the bat, so we had to figure out how to make that liveable. (We do end up getting this fridge almost completely white. I thought I'd taken a picture of it but I can't find it. Of all the things we tried - like, four different cleaning products and bleach and vinegar and all kind of old wive's tales, what ended up working was a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. There you go.) So first things first, we painted. And in painting, we discovered how the previous folks had literally just slopped paint everywhere for the entire time they lived in the joint.
After painting, it came time to pull up the nasty old carpets. Here's a better shot of just how gross they were. (Of course, I think carpet in most cases is gross, but this carpet was especially gross.)
(As a quick aside, of all the jobs I've done or helped with the past month, my least favorite has been pulling up carpet and removing all the carpet tack and, I swear to God, literal hundreds of nails that had been randomly nailed in everywhere. I have rarely felt as nasty as I did in that two-day span, but once we got it up, even the beat-up old hardwood underneath looked beautiful.)
We're not sure what happened to create that dark stain in front of the front door. I hope no one died there.
Next up was a very long weekend. We rented a serious business sander and used a few other hand ones, and we sanded those hardwood floors right down.
(Dad and Grandpa!)
As you can see, sanding requires some safety precautions. Because there ends up being a lot of sawdust in the air. (Check out our kitchen paint swatches in the background. Which one did we choose? Find out soon!)
Like lots of little ghosts. Following sanding, we refinished the floors and put on polyurethane. This is a time-consuming process. You have to let a certain amount of time go by between coats, and afterwards you're not supposed to put any real weight on the floor for a week while the polyurethane sets. When we were finished, though, we had much nicer floors. We couldn't get rid of all the scratches and some of the darker stains, but things look a thousand times better.
In doing the floors we discovered that the white baseboards had been installed and the door jambs painted white after the carpet had been laid, which meant we had gaps between our baseboards and the floor, and a half-inch of gross wood at the bottoms of the jambs.
These are the sorts of little things you don't think about ahead of time, and end up taking a long time to fix. We also had a problem with the corner between our walls and the ceilings. Those angles should be 90 degrees, but the aforementioned sloppy painting over the decades had instead made a softly-rolling curve between wall and ceiling. You could paint as straight a line as you wanted up close, but once you stepped back, it was like a wave. So we put on molding up there, additional molding at the bottom of the baseboards, and I spent about four hours on my stomach sliding from room to room painting the bottoms of the door jambs.
Remember that dark icky paneling in the kitchen? And the yellowed-white walls?
We ripped out the paneling and put up white beadboard, redid the chair rail and molding, added molding to the ceiling to match the rest of the house, and painted the walls...
...a pinkish/purplish (depending on the light) neutral! Because for real, the yellow and chartreuse samples we tried looked awful on the walls. Like, we're talking, dear Lord we live in a plague house levels of awful.
So that's it for now! We've moved most of the furniture in, but there's lot of boxes everywhere, we have random unmatched curtains up, and we've yet to get most of our pretty decorations and such up yet. But I'll get pics of those up at some point. Mayhap.