Home projects have a way of snowballing and spiraling. As I have explained before, much of our house had not been renovated or even redecorated since it was built in 1968. The staircase banister was starting to show its age in a terrifying manner as it was rickety and wobbly and threatening to pull away from the wall any time any of my boys leaned on it. Pretty terrifying. It, therefore, jumped up to the very top of the list of home improvement priorities. But removing and replacing a banister was going to damage the carpeting and the walls. And if we were going to repaint all the walls then we were best to replace the tiles in the downstairs hall. And if we were going to replace the floor tiles then we should do that at the same time as pulling out the old downstairs loo. So that one problem with the wobbly banister Hulked out and became a major project.
I forgot to take Before photos. However, these images show what the hallway and downstairs WC looked like when we moved in to our house in August 2014. Not much had changed since then. I was not going to miss those “crazy paving” vinyl tiles.
I don’t do well with chaos so the period of the project was something I endured rather than enjoyed. As much as I knew the final outcome would make it all worthwhile, constantly having other people in my house when I got home from work, having building materials stowed in our living room, and just the mess and disruption made it all quite stressful. There were three peak incidents of stress: the contractor ripped out the old banister early on in the project but did not install the new one until the very end which meant living for weeks without any barrier whatsoever on the staircase – and you can imagine that my sons took full advantage of that opportunity to freak out their mother; the second was that the same period coincided with some of our worst weather of the winter which led to snow days and the kids being home while the work was underway and, on one such day, the floor was retiled while the kids were trapped upstairs – with the bathrooms – while I was trapped downstairs – with no bathroom – for several hours; the third peak stress moment was the absolute worst and involved the stair carpet still being installed after 10pm – installation having started at 1.30pm – partly because the carpet fitter stapled his own finger and had to be taken to the ER by an extremely jet-lagged Mr Pict.
In the end, however, we are happy with the results. We now have a much sturdier and much more secure banister, dove grey walls, dark grey floor tiles, very plush and soft carpet for the stairs and upstairs hall, and a fresh and more modern looking downstairs WC. Now we can start to personalise the space by pulling out framed art that hasn’t been on display since we emigrated and some pieces that need to be framed and getting those up on the walls.