Transforming Scary apartment #1

Here are a few pictures of Scary Apartment #1 AFTER the gross, not-vacuumed ever carpet was removed and after the exterminator made the first of his three visits.

When we first saw the apartment, it was quite overwhelming.  It was so dirty and smelled so bad.  Every inch was nasty.  I wanted to give up.


What we had to deal with :

  • severe tobacco residue on all walls and ceilings.
  • Multiple broken windows
  • Lots of dirt and grime.  I don’t think this place was cleaned in the last 3 years that the tenant lived there.
  • Gross flooring.  The linoleum in the kitchen and bath were disgusting, and the narrow oak flooring (non original) was water damaged, and sanded beyond saving.
  • Horrible bathroom conditions- broken tile, chipped tub, lack of a real shower.

What we did:

  • Took everything out.  The kitchen cupboards we saved.  The tub we saved.  Everything else went.
  • Hired a professional cleaning company.  It took them about 16 man hours to get rid of the tobacco residue.
  • Painted all walls and ceilings with Kilz.  What a pain, but got rid of 100% of the smell and prevented tobacco stain bleed through
  • Layed new hickory flooring.  We layed the floors, but had them professionally finished.
  • Painted all walls Edgecomb Grey by Benjamin Moore.  We painted the trim Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.
  • In the bath, we used the original tub, but added a real shower head and subway tile surround.  The sink is an old one we picked up awhile ago, and the best thing about it is the original custom cabinet that came with it!  I this tiny space, storage is key!  We also reused the old medicine cabinet.  I painted it in kilz and then finished in an enamel paint
  • In the kitchen, we bought 20″ appliances.  We cleaned the cabinets with TSP, painted with Kilz, and finished with Alabaster semi gloss paint.
  • The sink and cabinet!  My favorite part.  We have had this in our garage for a year.  It was really rusty, but we put a steel brush attachment on our grinder and got it down to bare metal!  I primed with “stix” primer, and finished with high gloss enamel paint by Sherwin Williams, also in Alabaster.  I can’t believe how amazing it looks.
  • Also my favorite..  the salvaged French doors!  We found them on a swap site and they happened to be the perfect size for the doorway between the small living room and bedroom.  The veneer was cracked and peeling.  We did a lot of gluing, clamping, and sanding.  I primed them with “Stix” primer and painted with semi gloss Alabaster.

And after ALL of that, here are the after pictures!




I don’t think this space could have been more disgusting when we started.  And now it is such a clean, bright and beautiful spot for someone to call home.   I’m so glad we didn’t give up on it.

A freshened up Hall

Recent wallpaper-themed posts by two of my favorite boggers (Ross and Amy) reminded me that I never recorded the freshening-up of the Hall in Old School.


Here is the hall when we purchased the house:


Here is a better look.  We removed the carpet and found brownish black old linoleum.  

The first step (after emptying if of all the STUFF) was to scrub the walls.  The walls had been skim coated many years ago (I’m thinking 50 years ago) and this was separating from the walls in many spots.


I wasn’t looking forward to the task of scraping these parts off, but my attitude improved considerably when I started to uncover wallpaper!!

I think this silvery pattern may be the original paper.

  Next came this fabulous, bold red pattern!



It was so much fun imagining this pattern and color wall to wall, greeting the family and guests upon arrival.

The next layer is my favorite:



I think this pattern would be lovely today. I wonder when it was put up… I am thinking possibly in the 1920s or 30s.  

After making sure to take lots of pictures, and saving the large scraps of papers as keepsakes, I another skim coat on the walls to even them out.


I painted the walls the same color as the main level, “Dorian Grey” by Sherwin Williams.

We also added a pendant light and shade that we found in the basement (rewired of course).  I think there is a chance that this is where it started out in the first place.

We added a parlor table found in the basement and it there you go- a freshened up hall.

Apartment #1 is ready!

We are ready for our first tenants at Boarding House to move in!  Here are the before and afters of the first apartment we tackled here.


this shows the apartment the day we bought it. dingy carpet, ripped old linoleum, brown, tobacco stained cabinets


And here it is now. we painted the cabinets Alabaster by Sherwin Williams, polished the chrome hardware and chrome light fixture. we knocked out the counter separating the kitchen and living room, which made it possible to add a full sized gas range.


We were amazed at how beautifully the original chrome cabinet hardware shined up

Wall color is Edgecomb Grey from Benjamin Moore.

This is the living room. the narrow oak we found under the carpet was in tough shape and did not have enough thickness left to refinish.


Instead we installed “cabin grade” hickory.  It was only about $1.25/sq foot!  We stained it and had it professionally finished.
Last but not least… the lovely bathroom.  All we had to do in here was subway tile around the tub, add a shower attachment for the faucet, and paint the walls.  The mirror and light were already there and just needed to be polished and cleaned.
This space is not fancy, but it is clean and bright and will make a great space for someone to call home.