P and I have been renting an Edwardian-ish house that is now in the process of being sold. It needed lots of TLC before we moved in, so last July involved much painting and sanding, some rewiring, much creative use of space and a forgiveness for tilty old houses. It was actually kind of fun to watch the place become ours.

There was a little bit of panic about moving again. Would we try Northern Virginia? Save money outside the beltway? Try for Capitol Hill again? What about my studio? That would do better on the Maryland side. And what about the expense of moving? It seems like we’ve just recovered from the last one! As luck would have it, we found another house  just down the block with the same floorplan and a host of  problems and half-assed fix attempts. Oh, and a refrigerator full of the last tenant’s food.


They moved out in January.


I bought respirator masks.

Part of the reason I was compelled by the house is that as I slowly narrow the studio down to a handful of students, I am looking for another area of work. If I could snap my fingers and make my dream come true, I’d be just like Nicole Curtis, otherwise known as the Rehab Addict. I adore her approach to old houses, and she has deep knowledge about the entire process. It’s not that hard to stage a house well if you have an eye for proportion and  aesthetics. But this lady can also drive the Bobcat, custom-cut lumber, refinish floors- all while knowing codes and costs like I would spit out the notes of a C scale.



Since I’m an embryo compared to the fabulous Ms. Curtis, it’s fitting that this house is the perfect place to earn my first teeny stripes. We have about a month to get it ready for move-in.

Of course there’s a saccharine color gnarl tub. Winterized, so today will involve the pleasure of many sputtering faucets. Oh, and this one is “Righty Loosey, Left Tighty”. For some reason that is very upsetting to me.


They left nearly everything behind.


Talismans of occupants past. I like how the initial instinct was to threaten intruders with death, but then reconsidered in favor of friends…sometimes. I know how you feel, kid.

friends sometimes

This should be fun. P is all laid back about it, but I think it’s going to be a monster. Nice color on the walls, eh? I can’t imagine sleeping in a room with that neon periwinkle screaming silently at me. Or maybe I’m just bad at sleeping and looking for an excuse.


I found this in one of the rooms. Although I don’t like to be haunted by previous tenants, I feel like these girls belong here.


Last for today: my old enemy. I labored for about 20 minutes last night, but the legs will not fold. Table Rodeo II commences in the next hour or so.


Today, I will finish cleaning the house in a cursory way and try to get water flowing without too much rancor. The big task is removing the carpet from the patio (who puts carpet on a patio?) and beginning the process of prepping the concrete for whatever we decide will go on top of it. I expect plenty of chemicals and sandpaper. Oh, and pruning the camelia bush that is trying to lay claim to most of the patio and walkway. I hope I don’t get any bugs on me.

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One Response

  1. Be careful pruning camelia bushes – they are easy to kill.
    2 years ago I killed a small tangerine tree that my mother-in-law had planted about 25 years or so on the birth of one of her grandchildren – Oh i felt great.
    Good luck
    Oh and what kind of $&%”#'”$’! leaves old crap in a refrigerator for someone else to dispose of?

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