I haven’t blogged about my new old house in a little while, largely because there is so much to do to whip this place into shape that the time to blog about the process is scarce. Also, I’ve realized that the world just doesn’t need another person chronicling the updating of their ancient home… well maybe I’ll change my mind about this once we finally get to the fun stuff, (i.e., decorating). So far, we’re mired by boring stuff like electrical work and new windows (which, by the way, are no longer going to be vinyl—we’re springing for wood and doing fewer windows at once; that’s just one example of how much energy goes into making the smallest of decisions… it took us a month to determine this game plan—now how long will the installation take?!). Here’s what has happened so far. Trusty friends Larry Vodak (owner of Scout) and interior designer Laura Soskin came over to take a gander at the new crib before remodeling commenced. They gave me the following tips:

Go as dark as possible on the floors. (We went dark, but probably not as dark as they were talking about; anyway, it looks so much better than the original scuffed-up golden oak!)

Laura suggested an amazing color for the walls, something that goes great with those dark floors: Martin-Senour Paints’ Soapstone. She is absolutely right. So far, only one room has been painted in this subtle grayish-taupe-ish shade, with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove in a satin finish for the trim. Love it!

They also gave me good advice about how to approach the challenging shape of my living room. They advised using one big rug to unite the space (I had planned on doing separate seating areas). And, here’s their secret budget tip: Cost Plus World Market in Evanston has an outdoor sisal rug that can be ordered for cheap by the foot; you can cover your whole living room for $150. Of course, it won’t be the plushest of surfaces, but you can unite your space and save the rest of your funds for furniture!

Here’s what I’ve learned the hard way: rain showers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! I was so excited that we were buying a house that already had one. Then I stood under this thing and, yes, I got wet. But that’s about it. The pressure is like zero, as is the invigoration quotient. I felt like I was falling asleep in there. The shampoo was impossible to wash out of my hair. It was the most stressful shower of my life. Mercifully, there is a handheld component to this system that has more pressure. That was my saving grace. As for the much ballyhooed rain shower? You’re outa here.

—Gina Bazer

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