Extreme Not-a-makeover Home Edition

First of all, a couple of people called me out on naming anything that is required in the urban Seattle area “winter boots” in my last post. And yes, we seldom need snow gear to tromp around the puddles here, it is true. Maybe I should have called them rain boots. Consider me correcting this, lest you all think that Nordic Boy was sporting a pair of full on mukluks or what have you.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about two things that are basically the same but yet somehow I manage to love one of them and have a strong dislike for the other. The two things? Makeovers and “Before and After” photos.

For some reason, I am not a fan of calling something a makeover. I have no idea why. I must have had a really, really bad makeover in a past life or something. Like, maybe I was me in ancient Egypt and some ancient Egyptian spa person redid my whole look and gave me those Egyptian straight-across bangs and I was all “my forehead is too short for bangs, yo!” Because my forehead really is too short for those kind of bangs. And I assume that forehead dimensions are something that one carries from life to life. If I do really terribly in this life and come back as a dung beetle or something next time around, I assume my beetle cranium will still be equipped with a threehead.

On the other hand, I adore a set of two photos with the title “Before and After” to describe them. Same concept right? You take a picture, you change something up, you take another one. LOVE IT. I love a before and after in fashion, in interior design, in construction, in anything. I love those articles where they show you a photo of how a street looked a hundred years ago and then put the current same street view beside it. It doesn’t have to be a before and after of improvement. I just like to see change over time, or circumstance, or effort. I am sure my feelings about the word makeover have something to do with commercialism, in that Charlie-Brown-Christmas sort of way. And the fact that people who do makeovers, especially on tv, seem like condescending buttholes a lot of the time. But let’s not get into that, because it’s tiresome.

Ever since we moved into our house, I have been in Before and After hog heaven. Nordic Boy is not the greatest at documenting his efforts, so it fell to me, and omg I LOVE IT. I have reams of photos of things that no earthly person besides me and him would ever care to see. Before the new wiring! After the new wiring! Before the caulking! After the caulking! I am not kidding. It is ba-nuts.

I take these photos, and then download them, and sometimes he and I look at them, especially when we look at our list of things still left to do and feel overwhelmed (that’s mostly me, not him). It helps to look back and see, wow, actually a lot has happened already.

I feel, about these photos, like I would never subject them to other people. No one cares about our new light fixtures, I think. But then, I see how hard I salivate over other people’s befores and afters, and it makes me think: maybe some of these might be fun to share? Ok, not the caulking ones (ha ha, I love saying “caulking”), but some of the other ones?

All this is to preface (SHUT UP AND SHOW THE PHOTOS ALREADY) that I might start putting some befores and afters on the bloggy. Shall I? Yes, I shall.

Let’s start with a big one. When we bought our house, let’s just say that we had to have a lot of Vision. It had good bones (ha ha, caulking and bones) but the other stuff was super janky. Nordic Boy knew this was our house the moment he laid eyes on it, but me? I sort of knew it, but really, I had to trust Nordic Boy’s Vision. I can be Vision-impaired on things like this, especially when there is disrepair and disgusting cat pee carpet and smoke-stained yellow walls and a Jumanji yard.

One of the things that I hated about our house was the fireplace. At that point in time, we had much bigger fish to fry but I complained about that fireplace until Nordic Boy wanted to pitch a fit I am sure. Finally, he asked me what I would like the fireplace to look like. I replied that I didn’t think it possible that I could EVER love that thing, no matter what happened. Nordic Boy took serious umbrage to that statement and dropped what he was doing and spent a weekend putting the fireplace problem right. Usually he will draw a picture/plan of what he is thinking so I can see it (due to my lack of Vision) but this time he didn’t, and that was ok because I trust his aesthetic, and I trust that he knows mine, and actually those two things have a lot of overlap. Can I just tell you that I can’t imagine being with someone who didn’t understand my aesthetic? Like, if he all of a sudden wanted all white wicker furniture or something? That would be grounds for dismissal.

Please do not hate me, white wicker lovers. It is just not my thing, but it’s ok that it is yours. Go forth and wicker yourself to your heart’s content, by all means.

Anyway. Here’s what it looked like when we moved in. It was a Pa Ingalls hot mess.

Here it is today.

That is my first before and after. More to come? I think? Maybe next time I shall show you some damn fine caulk.


  1. I logged on to get an early YES vote in, but I see I needn't have worried. You said the words: "change over time"…that's the ghost that haunts me. Also, thank you for introducing me to the phrase "a Pa Ingalls hot mess".

  2. Love the before and afters. And totally agree about the word "Makeover" since it seems to imply that you ain't got nothin' to offer to begin with or something. Awesome job, Nordic Boy!

  3. aishoka- I am an ardent get-rid-of-things enthusiast. I just want less and less things around as time goes on. So, I got rid of most of my books (it's ok, I work in a library so I don't miss them).

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