Firstly, some before photos. Here are the pics that the realtor used in the advertising. As you enter the front door, this is the view to your left. The walls are kind of a terracotta tone, sort of orange-y red, and that back wall has been painted with gold splotches in a sponge-like texture. Unfortunately, it appears that the paint that was used to achieve this effect is gold spray paint. Out of a spray can, as used in graffiti. Urk!
To the right of the front door are a pair of built in units and the fireplace - which is currently my grrrr factor. The previous owner built this house himself and used a lot of cost-cutting shortcuts. Some of the shortcuts involved quality of the items - lower quality paint, for example. Others involved DIY. Now, as you know, I'm a huge fan of DIY, but it's got to be done with some regard to purpose and longevity. Take the fireplace, for example. At first glance, it looks great. (This is a before photo.)
But the interior of the house has a very distinctive odor to it.
I'm being nice. I should be honest, you're my friends. It actually has a slap-your-olfactory-channel-what-is-that-smell reek of old fires. Now, the human body has amazingly adaptive abilities, so I could live on a sulfur pit and not notice it eventually. Which terrifies me, because now I can't judge how much stench I've managed to clear and visitors will be wrinkling their noses in distress as I potter around in nasal oblivion.
And I have been working to clear it.
Firstly, I had to clean out the inside of the stove. Starting with this delightful vision: six inches deep of old ash that took three hours to clean out. The stuff at the bottom was so fine, it was like confectioner's sugar. It seeped right through the dust mask I was wearing.
You can't see it in the picture, but there is also a serious build up of old resin. I called in a professional chimney sweep to sort that out.
He was presented with this mostly clean result (big difference, huh?) and so merely had to sort out the resin and give the chimney a clean and inspection. Which led to a can of worms all of itself.
In a nutshell, the chimney was installed upside down, with a variety of cost-cutting measures that will make it necessary to replace the flue with the proper materials installed the right way up.
Furthermore, it has not been cleaned in twenty years (it's only twenty years old) and there is a build up of soot that may only be cleaned out by burning special chimney-cleaning logs.
Oh, and to add insult to injury, the air-uptake for the central air system is only a few short paces away, so it has been sucking all the soot and grime up into the venting ducts for the past twenty years too. I've been advised to have all my ducting cleaned, as all the vents in the different rooms have been spewing soot into the air all over the house.
Uh huh. I can see that. In every room.
And that's the reason I can't paint yet. I need to get the ducting cleaned so that it stops adding more soot to the air and so that it helps with cleaning out the fire stink, and then I have to paint a special odor-blocking sub-primer, over which I must use a hard core primer so that the gold spray paint doesn't bleed through, before I can finally top-coat with my decent quality finish.
So that's why the living room is "sort of" completed. I've got furniture in there and, after numerous scrubbings, the floor is no longer coming up black. It's just really dark with that one window and that somber paint color.
Here's the after photo. I had to take it at night as the sun through the window was blurring out the focus.
Is it my imagination, or is the floor a little lighter?
There's no after of the fireplace yet, I've not packed the units.
Do I have plans to remodel? You betcha! Only perhaps after I've paid the chimney sweep and the a/c technician and ... ;(