Before and After

I’m still on sick leave—the lack of posts isn’t due to being busy but rather to lack of inspiration. But today I got off my butt, cleaned up the house, and took some before and after pictures of the three parts of the house that are done, and the remaining part of the house that is still a major work in progress. The before pictures are a mixture of the house empty and the house filled with the previous owner’s things at the time of the original visit.


Work done: Un-mounting the old cabinets (done by father-in-law), un-mounting the old range-hood (FIL), tearing down the old wall-paper (also FIL), busting off the old baseboards (FIL), making electrical lines in the walls (J), drilling an electrical line to the basement (J), updating existing and installing new electrical outlets (J), putting down a blue sticky layer on the floor (J, but this barely counts because it’s super fast), tiling the floor (J), tiling the baseboards (FIL), grouting the floor (mostly me), smoothing the walls (FIL), painting the walls (J, me), painting and treating the new cabinet façades (me), building the cabinets (J), mounting the cabinets (FIL, J, and some of J’s little brother), cutting and installing the wooden counter (FIL), treating the wooden counter (J, me), screwing on the façades (J), creating two pot drawers (J), installing the sink, faucet, and stove (FIL), installing the new range-hood (FIL, J, and twice because we bought a hood that blocked one of the cabinets seeing as how they’re at an angle, so we had to buy another of this particular model, and it was still close!), installing the back-splash tile (J), grouting the backsplash tile (me, J), installing the backsplash light (J), putting handles on the drawers and cabinets (J), painting and treating the cabinet baseboards (me), cutting and installing the cabinet baseboards (FIL), installing a new light fixture (J), sealing the counter to the back-splash (J). Phew. I think that’s all of it!

It is SO much better. I didn’t hate the old kitchen, but J did. And there was no place to put an oven. The previous owner had a tiny toaster oven that she left on the counter (see picture one). Also to install the tile we had to take down the old kitchen and since J hated it we obviously weren’t going to bother putting it back up. I love having breakfast in this kitchen before going to work, it’s so cheerful with the blue and the yellow. Also, yes, we are still missing one long blue board to the left of the oven.

Living Room

Work done: busting off the old base-boards (FIL), sticky-layering the floor (J), tiling the floor (FIL, J), grouting the floor (J, me), tearing down the old wall-paper (me, a friend), painting the heavy first layer of paint (J, me), painting the walls (me), taking down the awful curtain board around the windows and repainting the ceiling above it (J—sorry no photo of this one before), tiling the baseboard (J, me), grouting the baseboard (J, me), taking the wall-paper off of and painting the doors (me, SIL), re-doing the outlets (J), drilling a hole in the wall to bring the phone line in (J, this was hilarious because his drill bit wasn’t as long as the wall was wide so it was guesswork), painting the radiators (me, MIL), installing the light fixture (J)

In these pictures you can’t see the bay windows that lead to the terrace or the corner with the TV, because I don’t have before pictures of those things.


Hallway schmallway right? WRONG. This hallways was a total b*tch and I am extremely proud of it. During the renovation work we spent weeks sanding the walls, stepping over tools, stepping over radiators laid down in the hallway… It was a wreck and I dreamed of the day I could walk around barefoot in it. Also, we didn’t originally plan to change anything but the tile in the hallway. The wooden base-boarding was dated, yeah, but it didn’t bother us and the wall-paper was recent and very well done. But FIL quickly told us upon moving in that if we wanted to tile we had no choice but to tear at the wooden boarding, and once the wooden boarding was out, we realized we had to tear down the wall-paper and paint.

Work done: Tearing off the wooden base-boarding, tearing off the awful old wall-paper behind it, busting off the BLACK base-board tiles revealed behind (I am serious, it was black tile) (me), tearing out the screws that held the old boarding into the wall (me, this was a b*tch), spackling the holes they left (FIL), sanding the spackle (FIL), tearing down the old wall-paper of the upper half of the wall (J), spackling and sanding some more (FIL—remember I said this step took two weeks?), finally getting to paint the walls (me), leveling the difference between the living room and the hallway with some sort of cement (me, J), tiling the floor (J), grouting the floor (me), tiling the baseboard (me), grouting the baseboard (me), painting the radiator (uh, someone)

Yeah, all of that for this boring hallway. But knowing all the hard work that went into it, I find it really beautiful, and I can walk barefoot in it! And yes that is our bathroom at the end of the hallway.

Also, cast iron radiators are REALLY HEAVY.

So what’s left?

Yeah, we’re not done. We have a master bedroom to create out of what was some weird pointless “salon” room and a tiny bedroom. Here’s that so far:

On the top row you have the “salon” before and after, and on the bottom the bedroom. So far we have: knocked down most of the wall, cleaned up the huge mess that made (like, fifteen bags of pieces of wall), torn down some of the wall-paper.

Work to do: Finish tearing up the linoleum on the salon-side (omg, this is so hard), finish tearing down the wall-paper, put down new flooring on the salon-side, clean up and re-seal the hardwood on the bedroom side, put up some sort of weight-bearing beam to keep the exposed beams from sagging over the years, sand the ceiling between the beams and paint it white, sand the bedroom-side beams and paint them the same color as the salon-side beams (I know, THEY ARE NOT THE SAME COLOR, WTF), build a wall on the salon-side to divide it from my future tiny office (hard to explain—the salon side is longer than the bedroom side so that extra length will become my tiny office), build another wall IN the future bedroom to create a walk-in closet, re-wire some electricity, paint or wall-paper the walls, put up wooden boarding on one of the walls that’s lumpy (why? why is it lumpy?), put up new light fixtures. I think that’s all.

We hope to have finished before the wedding next summer. We’re going to try to spend a couple days working hard next week and J may take a week off in February during the school vacation to work hard on it with me as well. There are a few things I would prefer not to bother with, namely, painting the ceiling white, building a walk-in closet, putting up a weight-bearing beam since I’m not convinced it’s necessary. But fear not we are going to do all of those things and in the end we should have a gigantic “suite parentale” as the French like to call it. Gigantic—this will be a 25 square meter bedroom. Turns out you put two tiny rooms together and you get one huge one. Also, I’ll have a little office, which I’m pretty excited about, because my crap is everywhere right now.



8 thoughts on “Before and After

  1. Ha, it always ends up being soooo much more work than you initially think, huh? And I think our walk-in closet was totally worth doing – it’s something fairly unique to French homes so people are always impressed by it, and I was able to make it kind of fancy looking with nice flooring, customs closets and a nice light fixture for not much money. (Never mind that my MIL thinks it is the future baby room lol).

  2. I really like the kitchen! The blue cabinets and yellow walls really go well together and make the room look much brighter. Good luck with the rest!

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