After all the paperwork is completed and your keys are in hand, your to-do list as a first-time homeowner can be extensive. New locks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers, are just some of the things you may find yourself needing.
If you purchased a newly renovated home, you may not have much work to do inside, but if you’re like me, you may have purchased an esthetically shabby home that saved you money and allowed you to make design choices that closely reflect your tastes.
After moving in and getting everything situated, I noticed a little sadness settle over me – apparently, it’s not that unusual for a first-time homebuyer, but I wasn’t expecting it. I’d finally achieved such a huge accomplishment, so what did I have to feel sad about? I told a friend about how I’d been feeling, and She encouraged me to buy my first gallon of paint.
I’ve kept an extensive Pinterest page over the years, and as soon as my offer was accepted and the inspection was completed, I’d begun thinking about specific design elements and colors that would work for the space.
“Pick one room and make it yours. Go slowly through the house. Be polite, introduce yourself so it can introduce itself to you.”– Frances Mayer, Under the Tuscan Sun
I decided the living room would be the first place I tried out my amateur painting skills. I chose the fireplace and the wood-panel wall to start. The wood-panel wall dated the room horribly and the stone fireplace, with its off white and orange-tinted stone, didn’t do the room any favors.
I’d researched white-washing techniques– which boils down to adding water to white paint. I figured the technique would make the stone façade look cleaner and the whole room look more modern. I picked out two shades of blue to consider for the panel wall, based on colors that I’d already earmarked on Pinterest and headed to Lowe’s for samples.
I don’t like high-gloss (shiny) paint, so I went with a semi-matte (a little shine) for the panel wall and a matte (no shine) white for the fireplace. I also purchased a high-heat matte black spray paint for the inside of the fireplace.
A friend of mine offered to help me with my project. So, once the white paint and water were mixed, we began to apply it to the stone with paintbrushes. I wanted to achieve a certain look, so we brushed the mixture on heavy to keep the orange shade in some of the stones from showing through the paint.
As she finished up the fireplace and I started painting the panel wall. I’d already repaired a deep gouge in the wood with spackling and used sandpaper to smooth the surface of the section. I put two coats of blue onto the wall, being careful not to splatter any onto the newly painted mantle.
A few weeks later, I selected a calming shade of gray for the living room walls and entryway. After removing a couple of poorly placed DSL jacks – why would anyone put them in the middle of a wall? – and patching the holes, everything was coming together beautifully.
Since then, I have painted over half of the interior of the house and I completed phase one of updating the floors. I chose a beautiful laminate because it’s cleaner than carpet, softer than tile, and cheaper than wood – which you can see in the after pictures.
There’s still a lot do. While there’s a lot to be said for the satisfaction of watching something that’s been casually neglected to be reimagined, I have to remind myself of the advice my aunt gave me the first few days after I moved in, “You have 30 years to make your home into what you want it to be. You don’t have to do it all at once.”
So, while your to-do list may be extensive, don’t forget to take the time to reflect on how far you’ve come. Enjoy reimagining your space so that your home can reflect who you are and the things that you love.
Perdita Patrice is a Texas-based writer and documentary filmmaker. She enjoys live music, reading, and watching TV. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @perditapatrice