About ten years ago I bought a house. Having no fucking idea what I was doing, and having grown up with people for whom "do it yourself" was less a hobby than a metabolic state, the house I bought was a mungy little dump.
When I say "mungy little dump," I am not exaggerating. This house was built in 1948 and had had only minor updates since. The toilet canted over at about a twenty-degree angle. The shower scared me, and I work in an industry where biohazards are so common as to be boring. The sink in the third bedroom (yes, there was a sink in the third bedroom) had three inches of mouse and rat poop underneath the vanity. And I found a rat snake in a kitchen cabinet one chilly November day.
The west-facing bedroom--and this is in Texas, mind, where western exposures are like the planet Crematoria--was painted bright semi-navy blue. The kitchen was a dark green with that weird melamine faux-tile stuff that you put up with metal edging. The dining room was old-gold with water damage to the floor. The whole place smelled of dogs and smoke and rat poop and sleepy snakes.
I painted everything white in desperation, had the joint rewired for my own safety, did a complete bathroom gut-and-remodel, and tore down the "laundry room," actually a nine-by-seven-foot lean-to that blocked the only window in the kitchen. A pair of very nice men with boots came over and fixed the gas leak. Six guys swarmed under the house and fixed the foundation, mostly. Foundations in this area are never really fixed; we have clay soil that shrinks and expands. I pulled out the horrible plantings that were so close to the house as to be partly under the foundation walls. I had yet more nice men come over and replace the leaky, awful, inefficient rotten unsalvageable windows with new double-paned ones and coat the outside of the house in not-too-offensive vinyl siding.
I bought a mailbox and some house numbers.
Then I got sick. I got better, but things remodeling kind of ground to a halt for several years as I tried to figure out what the hell my priorities were.
Now I've figured it out. My priorities include a single-bowl kitchen sink, some really kick-ass wallpaper for the bathroom, and a nice garden.
If you like badly-composed photos of works in progress, stick around.