give peace a chance

I was innocently laying on the couch, watching Dateline, admiring the hutch to tv stand transformation…

…when I noticed the tile.
Do you have that one …  pain in the neck, always under your skin, jumping out with the ugly reminder that it’s always there … thing?

Mine, for sure, is the tile in this little house
But the thing with it is…I can’t change it.

And I choose to have peace with it.

Like I have peace with our outdoor washing machine.

Like I have peace with this old lady.

Any chance you’ve read up on me a bit?

Did you notice the part where I say “renovate 3 1/2 homes“?

Did you know that I really meant that I left half a house unfinished?

Yessirree Bob I did.  Sigh.

I worked tirelessly, day and night, weekdays and weekends, after full work days, every. single. day. for months … and months … and months.

Scraping old wall paper … even on the ceiling … those of you who have done this are now feeling your shoulders ache just at the thought of it.

7 large rooms, 2 hallways, 1 stairway … top to bottom … wallpaper on every. single. surface.

Then I striped and repainted every. single. window.
And doorway.

And fireplace surround.

Then I repainted the kitchen cabinets.

Then we found some tenants.

A group of college aged kids who didn’t care about her imperfections.  They even let us jerry-rig (what does that even mean?) a shower over the old timer, boxed in, extra long, claw foot tub in the upstairs bathroom.

But the tenants are long gone.

And the shower is still jerry-rigged.

And I live here.
 While she sits there.

And, at some point between Chris Hansen in India and Victoria Gotti getting fired, I’m thinking I haven’t wanted to do any DIY or home improvement around here…

… to rebel against all of the time and energy and blood, sweat and tears I used up here.

Does that even make sense?  What did I actually think I was teaching 1/2 done house by not updating Curacao house?  What am I, 12?

What about you?  Has any project had a lasting impression on you?  Ever bought a project that some days you just wish you could close your eyes and make it go away?

Did you happen to find peace with it all on a random Sunday night?

Just so you know…this old lady has 23 windows, 21 doorways and 6 fireplace surrounds.

And, my sweet mother came down for a week to help me clean, furnish (with 100% auction items) and prepare for the tenants.

Leave a comment


  1. Right now my current thorn is our carpets. I long for beautiful hardwood throughout the entire main level but settle for the builder standard of hardwood from the foyer through the kitchen. One day…one day.

  2. What a great house to renovate – 6 fireplaces!! I can understand your burn out though. Since you’ve gotten your mojo back with that fresh Caribbean sea air – it’s time to get back in the DIY boat!

    For that tile – that’s nothing a rug or paint can’t fix (why not, if people paint their tiled walls – why not their floors)?

  3. karah,

    I think this is my favorite post you have ever written. I love it. Your writing is spot on and I feel your pain about the old house 🙂 Wallpaper removal is right up there with wisdom teeth pullilng and root canas.


  4. Wow. I don’t think I would have even made it to the half way point. Kudos to you!

  5. What a great post! Love these deeper peeks into your life … both on your island and here stateside!



  6. I think it is great that you are kicking back and preparing for the next big remodel! When I was working I was always remodeling something in our home. Since I have been home since November really have not been in to it….I figure in a couple months I will be rested to start again!

  7. Right now we have 2 broken windows – with the cracks held together with packing tape. How’s that for keeping it real? But, seriously, have you seen the price of windows? And, there will be wood replacement needed. Lots of rotten wooden from the last 59 years when no one did any routine maintenance.

    But, we have a roof over our heads.
    Well, sort of.
    Have I mentioned the leaky roof?

    Glory days, I tell ya 🙂
    ~ Dana

  8. We renovated a Queen Anne. When we got to the mudroom it had to be dismantled. We got the roof off when torrential rain storm began. It rained for two days on this room that had four walls but no roof. The indoor pool jokes were not as funny as one might hope!

  9. Oh my goodness!!!! I actually FEEL your pain!! My parents’ bought a house that was built in 1880. They bought the house 22 years ago. It’s still not finished… I remember dreading having friends over… and after schools and weekends… where we would spend oh so much time fixing/renovating. Ugh….

  10. I hope your DIY burnout fades away soon and you can get back to what you obviously love to do…and do well, I might add!
    Hugs, GraceinAZ

  11. Haha, we have several thorns in this house.:) So we potter for a while until they drive us nuts, stop for a while, and then come back.:)

  12. Hold your head high and smile. You have a unique and beautiful home.

  13. Wow, what a beautiful old house! But wallpaper, ugh…that is one of the worst things to tackle. Maybe you’ll get the other half done someday when your Curacao chapter is finished. Or maybe you can sell it to some other young couple with a gleam in their eyes. And I don’t think your tile is that bad, but maybe you just take great pictures 🙂

  14. Wow, a great story! Great job on the remodel–it looks great! I have super thick textured walls right now that the previous owners gave us as a “present”. 😉 I would love to have smooth walls, but I work to have peace about them because it could be so much worse!


  15. You have done so much. Renovating is such hard work. Take a break if you need to, so you can refresh. Thanks for sharing at Bacon Time.

  1. foto friday 4 {argentina} « the space between

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