Finally, photos (a few, anyway) of the new house.
First, let us think fondly back to the autumn, when it was still somewhat nice and warm out. Here, the kids frolic on our front lawn, under our beautiful maple tree, in a rare moment that we were outside, instead of frantically scrubbing through layers of filth and smoke*.
The day that I picked up the keys, I opened the front door, and the smell of old smoke hit me, and I saw what we had bought. Oh dear, what have we done? The ceramic tiles in the entry hall were nondescript grey and icky-looking. The carpeting on the stairs was patchy dark brown with darker brown stains, the hardwood throughout the house was dingy and scuffed, the baseboards were in serious need of repainting, the windows were hard to see out of, and the bathrooms...oh, shudder.
But each layer that I take off (and am still taking off) reveals amazing things: the tiles are prettier each time I mop. They're actually a gorgeous, glazed clay, and it's a shame to cover them up with a front door mat, even for the winter. The carpet was vacuumed twice, sprinkled with baking soda, vacuumed again, and steamed twice with Mom's carpet steamer. WOW. Turns out, I have almost-new-looking beige berber. No kidding. The hardwood is a lightly-stained maple in excellent condition**, and has a nice, warm lustre. The windows, once cleaned (ever seen a paper towel turn black after washing ONE window???) let in so much light that, during the day, I rarely need to turn the lights on, and, most importantly, the bathrooms are no longer health risks. And the trim, well, a once-over with a Magic Eraser turned them bright white again.
The whole house needs a coat of paint, and there are several "projects" that we'll need to do to make it our own, but now that it's clean and livable, and our pictures are hung on the main floor(though the antelope may have to be relocated; we have a Medicine Hat corner in our living room with a lovely line drawing of the Monarch and the bridge (thanks, Scott and Jen!), but the antelope just don't seem to work there - Suffield folks, you know the antelope to which I'm referring... maybe the guest room is a better place for them), it feels like home.
Exterior improvements: BEFORE the first project.
I'm not sure if you can zoom in, but this is the front of our house. Note the cheap, stuck-on letters on the front door.
*Note to self: when kids turn 10 and 11, send them to clean a smoker's home. That should discourage them from ever taking up the habit.
** Well, it was in good condition. Dinky cars are hard on floors, it seems.