The Start of Redoing the Super Ugly Stairs

One thing that did not sell us on this house was the stairs. We bought the house despite the stairs. The stairs are U-G-L-Y! Hubsbeast insists that they're "not that bad"...but he's a man. They are that bad.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C: 

Yes. They are THAT bad!

I don't know what the previous owners were thinking- but it wasn't anything good. This is proof of how wrong DIY can go. Lino with carpet? Seriously?! Whomever thought that was the solution should be shot. 

So ever since we bought the house I've been formulating a plan. This plan as been slow to develop and even slower to be realized. It's required lots of research on my part- but today I was finally ready to act. 

I've gotten lots of quotes for solutions to these stairs. At first I thought we'd use the boxes of extra laminate that the previous homeowners left us to do the stairs if we had enough. We DO have enough- we just don't have the funds to get it installed (150$ per tread! And we'd have to buy nosings too. With 13 treads, it's not happening.) The next option I looked at was just re-carpeting them...but we have laminate hardwood that looks really nice on the main floor and the upper floor, and it seemed to me that it'd look really weird to have carpeted stairs when neither of the floors the stairs connect to are carpeted. I looked at having solid wood false treads made to cover the stairs, but that odd shaped landing and really wide winding treads in Exhibit B drove the price insanely high- I don't have the budget for custom. 

Being an avid Pinner, I've obviously seen the pins for "paper bag flooring". I've fallen in love. I love the look- to me it looks kind of like cork flooring. I love that I can stain it go with the laminate hardwood on the main floor. I love that it's cheap. I love that it's easy to do a custom instal. I love pretty much everything about it. 

Then I hit a snag: every instal I'd seen done on stairs was done using stairs that had a rounded bullnose. Under all that lino, the bullnose on our stairs is square. And I really didn't want to have to learn to use a router to try and round off the bullnoses. That seemed like it was doomed to failure. I shelved my dream of pretty, inexpensively finished stairs- and went back to trying to accept that carpet was the only way. 

Then I saw this post on Joyfolie. She did it on stairs with a square nosing!! And it doesn't look horrible!! It filled me with hope and renewed determination: I'm going to paper mache my stairs!!

Today I took the first tiny little step towards finally biting the bullet and doing it: ripping up the carpet on the stringers. 

I have to say, I'm not sure why the previous owners didn't rip the carpet all the way off in the first place. It took me less than half an hour to rip it all off, and pull out the majority of the staples. The few that were left I had to get Hubsbeast to do- I just wasn't strong enough. But it took no time at all! I'd ripped it all off and was working at the remaining staples when my cousin called and asked me to take him to Ikea (he just moved to town from across the country) and I swept the dust and staples I had gotten out and was out the door- NO TIME! And even though I only got one done today- it already looks so much better!!

So much better- right?! Just imagine that board painted, and the crap window trim the tried to pull off as a base board gone. So. Much. Better!

So tomorrow before I go to work I'll probably do the other side of the upper set, and if I have time the lower set too. If not I'll do it when I get home from work. Once all the carpet is off and the staples out (yipee!) then I'll start on tearing off the lino. The nosings are all pretty much falling off as it is- most of them are just sitting there not being held on by anything. And I'm fairly certain that the lino is only glued around the edges. At least I'm hoping and praying it is. Then there's the dilema of how to trim the landing and the winding stairs. I don't know how to do it properly, but I do know what they did is WRONG. Luckily that's finishing work- and hopefully my DIY superstar mother will be here by then to help me figure it out.

Let the redo of the Super Ugly Stairs (SUS) begin!!


Replacing register covers

So I know it's a small thing- but if there's something that drives me absolutely batty is when people have disgusting register covers. Exhibit A:

And that was the cleanest one- by far. I tried to take a picture of one of the grosser ones but my stomach couldn't handle it. The kicker is that if properly taken care of (ie: washing in a bleach solution when you discover they're getting kind of nasty) those white plastic covers aren't bad. Not great, but not bad either. Unfortunately, the previous owners didn't get the memo. GROSS! And I know this is a tad OCD- but they were giving me nightmares.

Fortunately, as far as issues go- this was an easy one to fix. While at Costco yesterday, Hubsbeast and I came across two packs of some great modern metal register covers. At 12$/ pack of two- it was a no brainer. Yes, we could have gone to Home Depot or Lowes or Rona and gotten the exact same plastic ones for cheaper, but if you're going to change something, you might as well upgrade, right?!

So we popped out the heave-inducing white register covers (Hubs will gleefully inform you that I did this while wearing latex gloves, and then disposed of the gloves with hazmat-like urgency. Yes, I have a bit of a germophobe side to me.) And we popped in the new shiny clean pretty ones:

So much better!! Don't you think? It cost us a grand total of 48$ to replace every register in the house. And now I'm not heaving every time I catch a glimpse of a yellowed gunk-filled register- because they're on the curb!!

It's the small things that take it from being a house to our home.

Now- I'm slowly formulating a plan to turn this:

Into this:

Via Joyfolie
But that's all I'm telling you for now!!



Okay, so part of getting a new house is buying new stuff, right?!

We needed a few things ASAP that we didn't have in the old house:

1- A lawnmower. The previous owners of our house had clearly not cut the lawn the week they moved out, and it'd been a week since we'd taken possession. We were in a condo apartment before, so we didn't have a lawnmower. Hubsbeast determined the best engine for our needs, and then went and price-compared all the different brands that engine was sold under. We ended up with a Brute mower from Walmart. Hubsbeast really likes it. And now we don't look like the worst house on the block anymore.

2- A patio set. All we had on our balcony at the old apartment was a bistro set, which looked really sad on our big beautiful deck. After much consideration (since we found out the house was ours!) we decided that we rarely had large groups of people over for food outside, and when we do it's generally burgers and hotdogs- nothing fancy. So we didn't really need a table with six chairs, because the occasions were we'd actually use it were few and far between. So we decided we'd prefer one of those outdoor sectionals. We found one that suited our space and our budget at WalMart- the Provence set. We love it! And we used Hubs' PC points to get a market umbrella and stand at Superstore. The browns don't match exactly, but I'm hoping I can find some outdoor pillows to tie everything together.

3- We head to Costco and got some basic essentials. A rack to dry clothing on, some flashlights to stash around the house, a BBQ cover, and some other odds and sods that we needed.

We spent a boatload today! But all on essentials. And our house looks so much better because of it. We had our first guests over for dinner tonight and it was so great to be able to hang out on the deck!!

Tomorrow I'll write about one of our first DIYs in the house: replacing the register covers. GROSS!!


We're in!

We're officially living in our house!! Saturday we had some friends come and help us pack up a 17 ft. Uhaul and unpack it. We were very lucky to have some brawny guys and some tetris masters among the moving crew, and we got it almost all in one go. The boys decided to go back for a few odds and sods once they'd unloaded almost everything- but for the most part, we got out in one trip!

After we packed up the truck I ran out for pizza and beer, and by time I got to the house the entire truck had already been unloaded! DAMN they were fast!! Lots of pizza and beer was consumed, and my dear friend helped me unpack the kitchen (the most important room in the house!!) I can't thank her enough- having just that one room in order has made settling in so much easier. 

Sunday Hubsbeast went and handed the keys to the apartment back to our landlord (officially not our problem anymore!) while I called Shaw repeatedly to try and get our cable services hooked up (apparently their website booking service does not in fact work.) Then he came back and we got our bedroom in a not-so-disastrous state. It's not perfect yet, but it's serviceable for now!!

The rest of the house is still in total disarray. We're ordering our new entertainment unit this week so we can start getting the livingroom together (I still need to find a decently priced huge rug for this room too!) The bathrooms kind of look like a bomb's gone off in them too. All in good time...all in good time. 

As I said in my last post, paint is the priority in this house. We can't live here long without it. Ugly is demoralizing. I've pretty much decided on the paint colours for the kitchen and livingroom/front entrance/stairwell/ upstairs hallway (they're all connected, so they'll all be the same colour.) That will pretty much take care of the main floor- all that would be left is the half bath off the kitchen, but I can't decide if I want to re-use the colour from the livingroom, or if I want to use something totally different. We'll see. 

Something else I'm starting to look at is our options for replacing the ugly ugly stairs. 
Yeah. Gross, right? I have no idea what the previous owners were thinking, but it was a bad, horrible, wrong thought. I've started getting quotes for redoing them in different ways. False treads, carpet, and laminate install are all options. We've just got to pick the one that's the most budget-conscious for us. 

I love having a house!!


We have our house!!

We took possession of our house last night!! We love it- we absolutely love it. Unfortunately, the previous owners apparently descended from pigs- because the place was FILTHY! They also left a huge pile of junk in the backyard. So we've had to get our lawyer to call them and tell them we need them to pay for junk removal. Moral of the story: people - when you move out of a house, make sure it's in the condition you'd want it to be in if you were moving IN!

So I was very happy that I'd had the forethought to book pro cleaners to come in and clean the house from top to bottom. I felt so much better once it'd been cleaned out and I knew other people's grime wasn't everywhere.

We also had the locks all rekeyed. You never know when you walk into a new house who the previous owner gave a key to their house. An old babysitter, friend down the street, the housekeeper? Our realtor was only given two sets of keys. And on top of that- the three entrances to the house all had a different key. Pain in the ass! So we had a locksmith come first thing this morning and rekey all the locks so that they matched (ONE KEY! What a novel idea!) and all to a new key.

So now that those big things are taken care of, tomorrow we need to actually move in! I'm so excited to see our stuff in it! But once it is- we need to start painting. This place is in serious need of paint. I'll post pictures later- but O. M. G. So much wreckage!

More news tomorrow!



Packing  is something I hope I never have to get very good at. Being military- the Army generally gives us packers and movers, so we can just sit back and get out of their way. This time however, we haven't been posted. We've just bought a house at the same posting.

So we need to pack ourselves. And it ain't pretty. I started packing back in APRIL when we bought the house- and we're still scrambling to get everything in boxes, 4 days away from moving. No amount of prep seems to make a difference- you're going to be scrambling no matter what.

So here are a few moving tips I've gathered from various sources that have helped us with this move. Hopefully I won't have to use them again for a long time.

1) Colour code your rooms. This makes it so that even bags can be easily labeled (just tie a coloured ribbon around them!) and then you can post a sign on each room with the colour on it. No more "WHERE DOES THIS GO?!"

2) The liquor store gives out great boxes. They're small, sturdy, and free.

3) Freecycle is a great place to beg for boxes. Especially if you have some time for someone to respond. I got about 40 gently used and brand new Uhaul boxes from a fellow freecycler for nothing but going to pick them up! Score!

5) Get lots of newspaper. It'll be a godsend. We were planning to cancel our subscription but we let it run till we moved out just for packing material!

6) Invest in a tape dispenser. Ours cost 10$ from WalMart, and it came with two rolls of tape. An extra 4 rolls of tape cost me 5$. We did our entire 2-bedroom apartment with just that. And it saved so much frustration!!

7) Start early. I know I said starting early didn't really benefit me, but it really did. Now that we're closer to being done I'm able to focus on getting important stuff packed, because all the pretty and the decorative was packed months ago.

I'll let you know anything else that comes to mind. Right now I need to go fill more boxes!!