Adventures in Homeownership

28th June 2011

When you own a 108-year-old house, there is always something needing to be fixed, painted, tweaked, etcetera. Thankfully, since I’ve owned my home I’ve been able to do a lot of that myself. I’ve painted every single room in the house (you may remember my last painting escapade). I have had central air and heat installed (including ductwork) – a necessity where I live. I have added floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in my dining room, also a necessity as my poor books were shoved under beds, in cabinets, and in boxes tucked away in closets.

However, ever since I moved in, I have really really wanted to paint the exterior of the house. It’s butter yellow, and while I don’t have anything against the color, I grew up in two different yellow houses and am SICK of it. If you own a home, though, you understand nothing is ever simple….as Goofy so brilliantly shows in this video “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater:


1. You’ve had a color in mind for ages; in fact, it’s another house in your neighborhood. Knock on said neighbor’s door. Try to convince him you aren’t selling something or trying to convert him to your religion.

2. Go to City Hall to get your color approved as you live in a historic neighborhood. Pay 20 bucks for the honor of having someone tell you the color you chose is “appropriate.” Walk away with a Certificate of Appropriateness.

3. Go to Home Depot, where you are informed said paint sample isn’t large enough. Mentally yell at woman behind paint counter.

4. Go back to house in Step One, where the sweet lady of the house (with a newborn and 2-year-old in tow) allows you to get said paint out of the garage and dip the stirring stick in for a larger sample.

5. Get home and realize paint is wrong color.

6. Buy five samples of paint from Lowe’s, trying to match house from Step One. Apply to siding. Stare at siding and get several other opinions. Choose top color. [See photo below]

7. Buy 5-gallon, $120 tub of Valspar paint. Painter applies, as seen below.

8. Pull into driveway, walk up to front door and HATE color. It’s too dark. It’s hunter green (my least favorite color) and NOTHING like the house which you have in mind.ร‚ย  Get several opinions and a strong drink.

9. Go back to Lowe’s toting 5 gallons of bad paint and ask if they will attempt to lighten it or add some blue. They will not (insert curse word of choice here). Buy three more samples. Drive home. Apply to house. Call in reserves (mom and sister). They agree none of the three is right.

10. Drive back to Lowe’s. Get four more paint samples. Drive home. Apply to house. None is right. [Drink more heavily.]

11. Drive back to house in Step One but cannot bear to ask for more help. Perform covert op during which you bring paint cards up to house on side and find peeling paint behind AC unit. Take chip of crumbling paint. Vow to return and dab matching paint in said area.

12. Go back to Lowe’s where they will match a small area of paint. Get sample. Paint on outside of house. Listen to Dad repeatedly refer to your sweet little house as the “crack house” – mentally punch him in the stomach. ๐Ÿ™‚

13. Bingo. Drink in celebration. House has noww thritteen diffrnt colors [hiccup], including that damn yellow.

And there you have it. Adventures in homeownership? More like missteps in homeownership. If you see a crazed girl at your local hardware store, picking up dozens of paint cards, comparing them to a picture on a phone, and muttering, take pity. For my sake.

jenn aka the very very ridiculously picky girl

  • We are currently in the middle if choosing paint shades for our house. I never thought it would be so difficult to choose ๐Ÿ™

    • pickygirl

      Oh my gosh – it’s insane. You have to look at it in sun and then in shade. It looks like two different colors!!! I will be so happy when it’s finished.

  • I love this. D and I just bought our first house and while it’s a relatively new house, there are still loads of projects. Most notably our lawn! This has definitely inspired my own post! THANKS!!

    • pickygirl

      Congratulations! As much as I may complain, I absolutely LOVE owning my own home. Just the fact that I CAN paint is awesome. But yes, it can also be frustrating. My best advice to you is to wait 6 months before making any major changes unless you already knew exactly what you wanted. Otherwise, you end up buying furniture you won’t like or that doesn’t fit, etc, etc. Then it’s even more frustrating. So sit back, enjoy your home and its possibilities, and THEN make up your mind. And have fun with it!

  • And this story (hilarious!) is the reason that you’ve got one of the best aliases out there. Very picky. By the way, I like the second shade of blue down. That’s my pick, anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • pickygirl

      I try, Cassandra, I do try… ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the input. Can’t wait for it to be finished, as you could probably tell.

  • Sommer

    This post is HILARIOUS! I’m sorry about your troubles with paint. ๐Ÿ™

    • pickygirl

      Thank you! And yes, I felt sorry for myself for 48 hours and then got over it. It’s only paint. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I think this is the only post about your house that has made me grateful I live in an apartment and renting.

    • JoLynnF

      Love it! My husband has been ‘painting’ our kitchen for many months now. If you get a chance you must watch ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House’. There is a great scene where the lady of the house is telling the painter what colors she wants for different rooms. Added bonus – it stars Cary Grant. Good luck with the house!

      • pickygirl

        THAT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES! Cary Grant is my absolute dream boat honey.

        Thanks so much for the comment. Good luck with the work in your kitchen. Sometimes those little jobs seem to take forever.

    • pickygirl

      haha! yes, it hasn’t been great, but it WILL be worth it. you’ll see. and yes, some things about renting are nice. others…not so much. remind me to tell you about the time my landlord thought i could live without plumbing for a week and a half right before Christmas…

  • Sounds like a major trial, but it sure makes for an entertaining post. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s stories like yours that make me question my desire to one day own a house!

    • pickygirl

      Oh please don’t let me dissuade you! I absolutely love owning my home – heck, even this is a funny story to tell. I love coming home to “my” house and being able to make changes as I see fit. It’s wonderful!

  • That sounds terrible. Hilarious but terrible. I’m glad that you finally got it right though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • pickygirl

      oh yeah. ready to go now. just have to go buy another 5-gallon thing of paint, and painter is coming on thursday to start it up again.

  • I’m getting the sense that I’m NOT ready for home ownership. Even though none of the colors in your first “samples” photo are quite right, though, gotta say that I love those blues. Glad you finally got the color you wanted!

    • pickygirl

      Oh yeah – in and of themselves, the colors are great! They just weren’t what I had in mind.

  • Brian Brady

    I might be the only man in America that does NOT like DIY projects and home repair and home improvement. I rent an apartment. I like my posters and art on an off-white wall. There, I said it, the secret is out.

    • pickygirl

      Even though I gripe, I LOVE it. I couldn’t stand living in an apartment. But I can certainly understand why people do like it.

  • You have the most adorable house ever! On my screen it looks like a beautiful blue, I think we had a bedroom that color once many many moves ago. (Nothing with the houses is ever, ever easy. Ever. They are all particular and quirky.)

    • pickygirl

      Thank you so much! I really do love it. I cannot wait to show finished pics. Maybe Saturday or Sunday? We shall see. At this point, I’m scared to put any definites out there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You are so lucky to own your own home. The outside of our (read: my parents’) house is… white. And all their walls are… white (except for my room, which is mango orange with lavender carpet). And now I’m getting an idea of why that is. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • pickygirl

      Honey, luck had nothing to do with it. I looked for a year and a half to find something nice and within my budget. It wasn’t easy, but I love it.

      Haha! I always think it’s funny. Some people really don’t care so much about what color paint. Obviously I am not that person. But you’ve got painting in your future, I can tell. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • So lucky, 3/4 of my house is brick. Boring. I love all those blues…I used to live in a neighborhood with saltbox homes and one was painted this slate blue/gray. Gorgeous. Very near to the colors you have there…

    • pickygirl

      Oh but brick houses have a lot less worry in some ways. You don’t have to paint. Not as much a risk for termites unless you have lots of wood accents.

      But I am excited as to what it will look like. Can’t wait to see it finished.

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