111. Random thoughts about cleaning carpets and getting a house ready to sell

I know this blog is supposed to be about the cottage…but we haven’t been spending much time there of late. We’ve been trying to plant the sign in the yard of the city house. And until you sell a house, I don’t think anyone has a clue how much Time, Intensity, Money, and Energy is expended on a house that you are leaving…

It is emotionally (and financially) draining. Unless, of course, the house you live in is perfect, in which case you just sign on with the realtor, la di da. No worries about

    that imperfect room you just lived with,
    the plumber who never gave you the inspection paperwork for the new sewer system he put in,
    the basement ceiling tile that looks moldy and might be made of asbestos tile, (thankfully, it isn’t!)
    the tree in the backyard that you hope doesn’t fall on the power lines while you’re waiting for the tree guy to show up, or
    all Mr.H.C’s junk — never mind about mine; it isn’t junk.

Lately I’ve been cleaning up and painting my old sewing room in the city house.

It was just my sewing room, crafting room, storage room, so the coordinating yellow country wallpaper put over masonite (probably in the seventies) uh, you know, didn’t matter to me. I didn’t care about the fluorescent light in the ceiling; it was good for working. The faded teal carpet didn’t matter either. Bleach spills? Paint stains? No matter.

Apparently it will matter to potential buyers.

So I was tasked with turning it into a charming little attic bedroom for a child. Or a garret for an angst-filled teenaged poet. Or another sewing room for a mom who just wants some time alone in a freshly cleaned and painted space.

I used oil-based primer over the wallpaper, and then painted the whole room creamy white. I guess it will be up to the new owner to give it personality with color. I couldn’t imagine that the carpet would clean up, but I rented an R2D2-look-alike carpet cleaner and used my new favorite product to clean the carpet. It looks good, which is also good for the pocketbook.

attic bedroom

And the wonderful new product? Folex.

Sister Nancy told me about it several years ago when she was regularly cleaning up after a new puppy. I’ve had a bottle forever, because it goes a long way, unless you are pouring it into R2D2…

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I Love The Stuff! It is a miracle cleaner. Non-toxic, no smell, rub it in with your fingers if you want, and watch the stain on your carpet disappear! It’s amazing. It actually works better this way, than it does diluted in the rug machine. I did go around the entire edge of the carpet with my spray bottle and a rag. The edge of the carpet, which was black, is now bluish green again. (Folex has not paid me for this blog — they don’t even know I exist.) Although I should probably write them — in the past three weeks I’ve bought six bottles. It costs $5.78 at Home Depot.IMG_4466

That’s $34.68 + $30 to rent the carpet cleaner. I also cleaned the carpet in the master bedroom as well, and we couldn’t have bought new carpet for two bedrooms for $64. And believe me, that was a worry!

And just to prove to you, it isn’t a fluke, here is the downstairs rug that I spot-cleaned:

And now, I have to go tear down moldy ceiling tiles in the basement and secretly throw away some of Mr. H.C’s junk  in the bottom of a new garbage bag. Anyone want a vintage cigarette holder/music box that Uncle John brought back from London?
vintage cigarette holder music box

No summer vacation here until the sign is in the yard.for sale sign

76. ReHabitat-ing the Yellow Bedroom, Part 3

The yellow bedroom is yellow no more. Even the closet has not a vestige of yellow left! We are mulling over a new name — just “the bedroom” doesn’t adequately cover its transformation. The change has been slow. I’ve been working on it by myself when unskilled labor is not needed in the kitchen. Taping and priming and painting the woodwork,IMG_1955IMG_1993 patching the walls, taking off doors, priming and painting the closet, sanding and painting doors… It all sounds impressive, but it wasn’t. It was tedious, hard-on-the-poor-old-knees-and-back work. Mr. H.C. stopped work in the kitchen long enough to help me do the actual painting of the ceiling and the walls. There are still some minor embellishments to be added — I’m working on the bedskirt, the bed will be getting some fancier pillows, and there are still pictures to hang on the walls — but it sure looks amazing to us! Come in for a peek —


What I really like about this room is that mostly we’ve used antiques and family collectibles that we already owned. The dresser, the metal shelf and the quilt belonged to Clara, Mr. H.C’s mom who slept in this bedroom long before we did; the nightstand belonged to Mr. H.C. when he was a little boy and still known as Mikey; the cedar chest was made by Pa — my grandfather who first built the cottage; Dad made the little wooden lamp, and the mirror and the bookstand under it came from him as well; my mom painted the birds. And Diane and Emily, my sister and niece gave us the footprint for the colors, the design, and ideas on how to use the furniture.

New closet doors

That’s Clara’s appliqued quilt on the cedar chest. She told us it was probably the most valuable thing she owned. We’ve found the date on it, but it is embroidered in white on white and it’s hard to read — 1882 or 1932 — we just aren’t sure.  Clara gave me a whole bag of vintage linens before she died, because she knew I love them;  the two pillowcases on the bed and the lacy cloth hanging on the shelf are part of her collection. Sanding old doorsThe closet doors were old fashioned paneled doors that Mr. H.C. found at Construction Junction for $30 each; we were delighted to get rid of  the boring sliding doors that didn’t slide. The new/old doors were in my sanding shop for several days (five coats of paint and shellac as the bottom layer!) and then primed. Mr. H.C. hung them, and unlike usual, we painted them after they were hung. The handles were left over from our kitchen cabinets. If you are reading about this bedroom for the first time, its transformation was planned by the online decorating company,  ReHabitat Design and you can read about the stages in posts 37 and 43.
Bedroom Remodel

Pa — my grandfather who built the cottage originally — made the cedar chest as a Christmas present for my grandmother in 1924 — he even put a plaque on it. Before we brought the chest down from our city house, we were skeptical whether it would fit. After we put it at the foot of the bed, Mr. H.C. said, “This actually makes the room seem bigger, dont’cha think?” Yes, I do.

The headboard is made from an old door that Mr. H.C. scored (also from Construction Junction) for fifteen dollars. He cut it off at five feet to fit our queen-sized bed, and I sanded it. The inspiration for this is from the website Hometalk: I really liked the look of the door on this website, but doors have different personalities after sanding, and I had to respect what it was. I fooled around with paint and glaze and came up with this. It isn’t exactly what I had envisioned, but I was trying to be open about this project, and we both like how it came out. IMG_2476

The oak shelf on the top was taken right off the wall in the living room where it once was Clara and Joe’s mantle. It fit perfectly on the headboard; I think they would be pleased. And my mom painted the birds that sit on the shelf. They used to be in the bathroom in the house where I grew up; I love them on this headboard shelf.

Closet doors are painted Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk, semi-gloss.

This mirror and little bookshelf/table under it came from my dad; he also made the small wooden lamp on the dresser.

Sister Diane made the hand-crocheted afghan that’s on the bed for my mom many years ago. I bet she wants it back now. :-) And the pretty little carved basket on the headboard shelf was a Christmas present from sister-in-law, Rita.
headboard made from old door

These new finials dress up Clara’s old curtain rod, which I spray painted eons ago. The finials were new from Bed Bath and Beyond and they didn’t fit the old rod. But Mr. H.C. cut a piece of wood to fit in the rod and added a couple of screws — Voila! I think he can fix anything… And just in case you forgot what the room used to look like…

yellow bedroom
Factoids: The wicker lampshade, the duvet cover and shams, and the curtains are from Pottery Barn. The two other lampshades are from Target. The curtain rod finials are from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but don’t count on them fitting any other curtain rod except the ones that are sold with them! The rug on the floor was from Rug Depot a few years ago, but it is still a great place to buy rugs and runners. And the little art on the left of the headboard is from a great little Etsy shop, McWissenville. The walls and ceiling are painted with Benjamin Moore Winter Wheat (232) matte; the trim and closet doors are painted the same shade we used in the kitchen — Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk  (7554) semi-gloss. The paint and glaze for the headboard came from Sherwin Williams as well; the color is Brandywine.