Buying an older house and all the work it takes to fix it up, painting, cleaning, and minor repairs, takes a lot of time. I believe it is worthwhile because the older houses have more personality. They usually have mature yards with older trees, and they are part of neighborhoods that have been around, with their developed yards. Older neighborhoods usually don’t have the restrictive covenants; they are not full of grass police and tactfully matching front door colors. Sometimes you get the occasional yard full of trucks and older cars, but more often you see yard ornaments, flowering bushes, old wheelbarrows turned into planters, and friendly welcoming front porches.
We just bought an older house, although I don’t like that term because the house and I entered the world on the same year. After a week of painting, cleaning, packing and planning we are finally in the house, surrounded by boxes, bags and furniture in all the wrong places. Over time the boxes will be emptied, the pictures hung and curtains made. This building will start to feel like home, and memories will be created. I refuse to be in a hurry, we will be here a while, and I want to enjoy unpacking, not feel like I have to be finished in only a week.
My daughter wanted to paint her bedroom bold colors, and she became interested in the idea of painting a chalkboard on one wall. I tried to talk her into only painting a portion of the wall, but she wanted the whole thing. She had images in her mind of a wall covered by anime drawings by her friends, Bible verses scrolling across the room, and poetry flowing from the floor to the ceiling. Only a whole wall would do. We drove to the local home improvement store and spoke with the paint associates. I was worried an entire wall in chalkboard black would be depressing, but they assured me she could choose from many colors. One of the ladies working there had created a magnetic chalkboard with paints, and in a crazy moment we ended up buying both magnetic paint and the chalkboard paint in a periwinkle blue. Three of her walls were orange crush colored, reminding me of a push up popsicle, and the fourth would be the magnet/chalk wall. She and a friend worked for a couple of days. First they applied the magnetic paint, putting on three coats of the black thick stuff. It was hard to work with, hard to spread and basically weird feeling as it spread across the wall. After drying for an entire day they began to paint on the chalk paint, which was thick and grainy. Two coats of that and the wall was a beautiful periwinkle blue, making a dramatic contrast with the orange.
The room was very smart looking, but we were eager to see how the paints worked. First I put one of my kitchen collectable magnets on her wall, and it stayed on fine. My daughter then tried to hang pictures up with magnets, but every time the magnet was placed on the wall over paper nothing happened, both fell with a crash. The magnets would rest on the wall but not through the paper. We couldn’t test the chalk for another day, but when we came back the next morning with chalk all the magnets that we had left on the wall were now on the floor. Even my kitchen magnet had fallen off. When I touched the wall with a magnet it was as if it had not been painted. I have no idea if this has happened to other people, or why the wall would attract magnets one day and not the next, but this was our experience. My daughter drew on the wall with her chalk, and was very happy to find that her drawings and writings worked. This chalk wall feels different than a regular chalkboard, but it is possible to write on it. It doesn’t have the smooth feel of the old school boards, but that could be from the magnetic paint. She was more interested in the chalk part of the wall anyway. I am sure Edgar Allen Poe poems will show up soon, surrounded by anime characters.
We are enjoying the benefits of home ownership again, the good and the bad. I love painting because the walls are instantly clean, the colors are my choice, and the house smells new and fresh. I hate unpacking because I am again reminded that we have too much stuff, and that although I dream of being organized the reality is far from me. It usually takes us about 1 -2 years to actually get the house organized and arranged in the way we like. I guess we have to live in the house for a while before we are able to see how the cabinets and the furniture flows best for us. I want instant perfect, like in painting a wall.
The next post will be about my new lawn mower; in a fit of environmental enthusiasm we bought a mower that needs no gas or electricity. It is quiet and perfect for small yards. I have only used it once, but so far I like it. More on that later after a few passes around the yard to be sure I still am happy with the choice.