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The House of Never-Ending Projects

Over the last two weeks, I have been staying at my older sister’s house to help her do some repairs after her renters had moved out. The goal is to get the house back into move-in ready condition either for new renters, or for her family if they end up relocating back to St. Louis.

Originally, I started joking that the experience would be a fun urban camping trip, and we would be finished with all of the necessary repairs within two weeks. At this point, I’m pretty sure that the two weeks is going to be closer to six, and we may have had some delusional or unreasonable expectations when starting the projects.

Their house is one of my favorites to visit as it was built late 1800s and has a ton of charm and character. The floors and woodwork are original to the house, it has a couple of the original claw foot bathtubs, and it’s in a neighborhood with other historic houses and Crown Candy Kitchen. While the house is pretty cool, it is also old, which means it needs constant TLC and many repairs to get it back into shape.

When Melanie told me some of the projects needing to be done, I must have zoned out as I really thought we would be able to paint a couple of rooms, do a little cleaning and be done. This week, we have managed to paint or touch-up the paint on most of the first floor rooms, but still have the other two upper floors to paint and other various projects around the house. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about things I see that need to be fixed unless it’s something absolutely necessary, as adding more to the list just stresses her out more.


While we still have a lot to do, including laying new tile in a bathroom, replacing several windows, and installing new light fixtures in a couple of places, there is something to be said about the feeling of accomplishment once a noticeable amount of progress has been made.

Today, we managed to shop for supplies, and finish painting two rooms: the living room and kitchen, which before were a purple/brown (living room) and bright orange (kitchen)… colors she would never have chosen for those rooms. After several hours, many sore muscles, and paint in places incredibly hard to remove, the rooms are less cave-like and more neutral.


For the most part, the painting has gone smoothly, with more paint ending up on the walls than on us, although I was a little scared at one point that my hair was going to have permanent blue spots where I had been dripped on. Luckily, a long hot shower remedied that problem and I think finally I am paint-free.

I would say that if I never see another paintbrush it would be just fine, but I know that lots of painting remains, and my days off from work will be spent helping out however possible. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the time spent with my sister, and living in the city — which has solidified my resolve to find a place of my own as soon as we are done with the projects.

Also, for an update on the urban camping, we are probably the worst “campers” ever, as we have a fully stocked and functional kitchen, internet readily available, electricity, four working bathrooms, and a tv and blu ray player with lots of movies. Pretty much the only things missing are actual furniture, and Melanie manages to cook a healthy and nearly gourmet dinner every night.

Responses (3)

  1. […] started the summer at her house, which was in the process of being refreshed and renovated, and ended our time together at my apartment, which Melanie stealthily decorated as much as she […]

  2. […] was a little bittersweet, as I spent a lot of time in that old house over the summer helping get it ready to go on the market with my sister, but I know they are relieved to have the burden of owning property hundreds of […]

  3. […] fun and unique experiences, like the last-minute vacation with my mom, learning a few new tricks at DIY home repair with my sister, many baseball games, and the seemingly endless hunt for my apartment and subsequent move to a […]

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