Saturday, March 14, 2009

Home Improvements

I suppose it's inevitable that when you grow up in a family like mine, who treated moving the way some families treat games of Monopoly or touch football - a fun sport to engage in once or twice a year - you wind up always wanting to fix up and change your living space. I knew when I bought this house that it needed some help and I'm all about launching into those projects. Unfortunately, as usual, I have way more enthusiasm than money or skill.

When I was pregnant with Miles, my then husband and I lived in this crazy decaying Victorian mansion in Baltimore, specifically, in Waverly, which has always been one of my favorite Baltimore neighborhoods - it has trees - but which is, um, edgy. Particularly the part where we lived, bordering Govans. The edginess didn't bother us at first (it only started bothering us after the drive by shooting, go figure) and what the hell, it was a really affordable six bedroom house with 15 foot ceilings and a crystal chandelier. Okay, there was no kitchen floor; the roof leaked like a sieve and the whole house leaned - that happens when your main method of structural support is asbestos siding and 200 layers of floral wallpaper. My mother came to visit soon after Miles was born.
"Felicity," she said, looking around despairingly, "A couple coats of paint can't fix everything."

When I was first entering negotiations to buy this house, my mother told me that she'd been describing it to a friend of hers.
"Oh," said the friend knowingly, "A project house."

Yeah, it's a project house. So far I've pulled up the living room carpet, taken down the crazy "shelving" unit that divided the living room from the stairwell, painted the kitchen and cut a large hole in the wall between the kitchen and the living room. Now, the question is, what next? I want to carpet the basement, which currently has blue concrete floors which are a) hideous and b) cold. I want to build a low glass brick wall between the kitchen and the staircase because it will look amazing. I want to paint the blue room white. And, of course, I want to paint murals on the garage and the side of the house where there's just unfinished wood. And, hell, while we're at it, I want to frame out that one room in the basement and add a window and drywall off that other room and, going for broke, frame out and plumb and turn the garage into a charming apartment/studio with a loft. Yeah. The technical term for that one is, I believe, "pipe dream".

So today I looked into glass block. It turns out that you can't just go buy a bunch of glass block and slap it into place; no, you need spacers and mortar and anchors and all kinds of other technical shit that is scaring me, because while a well done glass block wall would look awesome, a really badly done one would, um, not. And the project, which had way too many steps, looked a bit beyond my technical abilities. Also, it's going to cost like $400. Therefore, I'm thinking that instead I'm going to screw sheets of plexiglass on the existing wood there and run Christmas lights through the plexi so that the wall is transparent and lights up. I could also put stuff inside the wall, like poison dart frogs, although that might be a little more upkeep than I wanted. I thought of plastic flowers, but they are too tacky; headless Barbie dolls, but they're too creepy; and pink flamingos, but they're too busy. So I think I will just put in lights. I think I can even do this all by myself. I could be terribly, tragically wrong, of course, but I think it's just vaguely possible.

In other news I got whistled at in the Patton Avenue K Mart parking lot. Yes, oh yes. I know, I'm supposed to be offended and shit but frankly, my dear, the time for offense at a whistle has long since passed. These days, hon, I am thrilled. Perhaps I should wear my hungover and slouching weekend uniform of 15 year old leggings, black cotton skirt, giant Wal Mart men's black thermal undershirt and pea coat with holes in the pockets more often.

1 comment:

ha said...

Hey Fliss, check this out:

http://www.askthebuilder.com/Glass_Block_Video.shtml

Oh, and the whistle doesn't surprise me at all. :-)