Houseaversary: The First Year



One year ago today I picked up the keys to our first house from the real estate agent’s office. It was around 9 p.m. when we finally entered the house, carefully, practically on tiptoe because anything else seemed certain to destroy the incredible dream before us. Colin wandered through the house making a video for his family. I collapsed in a sprawled out heap on the living room floor and just stared at the ceiling in wonder.

I’d like to think I’ve learned a great many things in the past year. I know where to go for cheap furniture, cheap rugs, which paint remover smells the best and is the most effective, how to grow a lawn from seed, and a few dozen other things besides. I’ve learned that my initial timeline for how long it would take to thoroughly put my stamp on my house was entirely unrealistic. In the beginning, I couldn’t fathom how people took more than six months to settle into a new home—my definition of settling including complete furnishings, exterior and interior paint, interior wallpaper, and landscaping.IMG_2598


Anyone who owns a home is likely laughing at me right now, and absolutely deserves to because I had no idea what I was talking about. With each item I cross off the list, a half dozen more magically appear like some mythical beast that refuses to die. I sort of love it. I’m Project Girl and home ownership is the ultimate project, especially where an old house like mine is concerned. And we have accomplished some rather amazing feats. Specifically:

  • Attending a seminar on pruning Japanese maples at Swanson’s Nursery to ensure the Japanese maple in our front yard is properly cared for and groomed
  • Shoveling untold buckets of rocks and planting our very own lawn from seed
  • Painting our staircase to resemble a bookcase
  • Relocating a handful of enormous bushes in the front yard and building (and painting) a picket fence
  • Filling the entire house with furniture almost exclusively from Goodwill, which was by far the most cost-effective measure
  • Creating a carpet runner in the hallway from carpet samples off the Craigslist free section
  • Planting three trees with one more on the wayStair Case_Upper Level_5

Looking forward, it’s difficult to prioritize the many, many projects still to come. Still, I figure for the sake of accountability, it’s not the worst idea to publicly commit to certain projects so I chose the seven most urgent or cheapest or most likely to be accomplished that I would like to complete before Year Two of home ownership is over. Specifically:

  • Installing a Little Free Library
  • Wallpapering at least one room of the house, and preferably more
  • Swapping out the front door for something you can’t see through
  • Removing the linoleum from the kitchen and replacing it with engineered wood
  • Removing the carpeting from the guestroom
  • Replacing the kitchen cabinets
  • Adding a backsplash in the kitchen

The first anniversary is traditionally paper and I do have a yen to wallpaper the crap out of the house, so that might just be my anniversary gift to the house, and myself. Colin is generally a little more practical and, where wallpaper is concerned, a lot more reluctant so I suspect the experience might be something of a trial for him but he survived the staircase renovation effort and I have every reason to believe he’ll pull through wallpapering like a champ. A champ with a mouth like a sailor, but there you have it.

Project Girl out.


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