Saturday, August 25, 2012


I love this building. It's a thrill just unlocking the door and walking inside. But every time friends visit and ask, "Can I see upstairs?" my blood pressure soars. Let's put it this way:  "upstairs" is a work in progress, and it's going to be a work in progress for quite some time.  I had no idea how many of my friends are frustrated architects.  They go upstairs to look around, come down looking pale and panic-stricken, and start throwing around terms like "pop off the roof" , "add another storey" and "blow out the south wall".

Now, I love renovating more than most people, but this  reno is going to be a challenge.  It's claustrophobic up there even when it's empty.   Claustrophobia sets in before you even get upstairs.  The stairway is 28 inches at its widest, and half way up it becomes 26 inches. This means nothing that goes upstairs can exceed 26 inches.  No fridge, no stove, no dishwasher, no washer, no dryer, no bathtub.

I  knew I couldn't replace the staircase until after my upstairs reno, but I wanted to cheer it up in the meantime.  I removed the commercial grade vinyl tiles.  Apparently they were held in place by school glue that hadn't dried in decades.  Here's how it looked part way through.  Nice, eh?

I thought if I left it exposed to the air for a day or two, the sticky glue would dry. No dice. So I decided to paint it with primer, because I knew primer would eventually dry.    I used the flamingo pink primer left over from the store.  That worked. So I painted over top with the leftover red paint from the store.  That worked even better.  Then I tiled the lower landing with black and
white stick-on tiles and continued that vibe up the first four stairs.  Here's how it looks now:
I changed the light fixture at the top of the stairs, and so for a total investment of $46 and an embarrassing amount of work, I have temporarily disguised the fact that the staircase is claustrophobic. Ivaan would be laughing at my ingenuity.

Next up?  The bathroom.  The floor in the upstairs bathroom is not remotely level.  The bathtub lists to one side so much that I'm looking for a shower curtain with a picture of the Titanic on it.  Ingenuity is not going to cut it when it comes to this bathroom reno.  Not even close.
Stay tuned  for The Sinking of the Titanic.

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