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Monday, November 4, 2019


I have had ideas about house redecorating and remodeling ever since I was a young teenager. The pictures above are some I found on the internet, but sure wish I had a kitchen like the after picture!

I grew up in an old farmhouse without indoor plumbing, which means we did not have a bathroom. We either had to use the outhouse, or a chamber pot in the closet in the winter. But that also  meant the pot had to be emptied into the outhouse when full. My bedroom was upstairs and it wasn't fun negotiating the steps without spilling. Ugh!

I had an idea how we could add a bathroom, but Dad would not consider it. Now, I realize it would have been a major project and not an easy nor inexpensive one. It was also something that Dad couldn't do and he didn't hire work done. Our funds were limited as well. But I could sure dream.

The house had two open porches, one on the front and one on the back. There was one bedroom downstairs and had two long windows, one that opened toward the back porch. I wanted Dad to enclose that porch, which we rarely used, and put a door where the window was. That would have been so nice.

Other than going outside to get to that porch, there was a door in the living room, which was also rarely used. That porch was a nice size for a bathroom, too. But the floor of the porch was cement and not convenient for installing the necessary drains for the toilet and tub or shower. And since there was no plumbing in the house at all, and water would have to be piped from the cistern, and then there is the need for a water heater which I didn't even think about until now. So I can see why Dad nixed the idea. Oh, but I wanted running water and a real bathroom! All of Mom and Dad's siblings had homes with indoor plumbing, didn't think it fair that we didn't.

I was allowed to decorate my own bedroom. I picked out the wallpaper and color scheme. I don't recall picking out any curtains for the double window. Back in the 1959's wood orange crates were available and free, so I painted two white and stood them on end, then sewed covers out of checked gingham, which opened at the front so whatever I put in them was covered but easily accessible.

I learned how to hang wallpaper by helping Mom when I was old enough. All walls in those old houses were wallpapered and every fews years, new paper was needed. I also learned how to paint and refinish furniture by helping Mom.

My decorating skills are not something I could make money at, but I do come up with some pretty nice ideas that is called shabby chic today. Since we didn't have a lot of spare money, we used what we already had, like the orange crates, and we did all the work ourselves.

When we were looking at houses to buy over the years, I could picture things I would change if we moved there. I know some people can't see the possibilities when looking at homes, and will nix a home that didn't suit them as it was currently, and so missed out on some very nice homes.

One house we bought right after it was built, and all walls were white with no interesting features, so I had a blank canvas to work with, and I had lots of ideas in my head. There was a short wall between the living room and kitchen. At one end was an opening the size of a normal door, and at the other end it was at least two doors wide. I found some wallpaper that looked like white bricks and close to real. Then we added a dark stained 1x8" board at the top of the wall to simulate a rafter that was beginning to be popular at the time - early 1970's. It made a nice feature wall in the room, plus it was inexpensive.

At that same house I wallpapered one wall in each bedroom, and the top half of the bathroom walls, without help, I might add. There were three bedrooms and we had three kids so the girls had to share one room. They were not big rooms but adequate. But the girls were five years apart and didn't get along so well, so I pictured a bedroom in the lower level (tri-level house) for our son.

That was a fairly easy job. That level was one big L shaped room with a bathroom and laundry room. The area on the wall with bath and laundry was a nice size for a bedroom, and only needed one wall and a door, and my husband could do that. I found a drawer unit and space at the top for hanging clothes that we put on the new wall. Boys don't have many clothes that hang, right? He was about 10 years old at that time. We added a counter top and shelves on the wall above it that he could use as a desk. Then the girls finally had their own rooms. The large room on that level was a family room.

Decorating on a shoe string budget can be fun!

'til next time . . . .

1 comment:

  1. I loved wallpapering. I also had a house with no indoor plumbing as a child. I remember that house with fondness. I love to remodel and decorate although my arthritis limits me now.


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