With my visit to my sister's home weekend before last and an evening with the Women for Wine Sense crew, I came home last evening saying to my husband, "That was really fun."  I'm sorry to say that I don't do much "fun" stuff and having two such events in close calendar proximity is a rarity!  The observation of my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Mandlowitz (sp?), was partly true:  a bright child, but too quiet and serious.  I'm no longer quiet (and my bulb seems to grow dimmer with age), but I've never shaken the serious portion.  I truly have to schedule "fun" time, because there are many things that I'm just interested in that bore most folks to tears.

Having had a couple of back to back 'fun' things, I'm remembering the advice of two different people in my life who know me well who advised:  You must schedule fun.  I succeeded in scheduling 'fun' because I put it on my 2008 list of resolutions. Boy am I dull!

My new house rehab is in full swing, and I'm having some minor angst that I might be over-improving this house.  I do know this:  the bathrooms are going to be so much nicer than the ones that I have in my home!  I have opted for quality choices (sourced smartly), but....hand wringing, angst.....I've the "what if?" banging around in my head.  Maybe I should have painted the basement floor....

My real estate agent is a wonderful young woman who graciously takes my calls and listens considerately to my worries.  I must remind myself that the house that I'm selling is NOT the house that I bought by a long shot.  Further, the house that I will be selling will be, relative to other inventory, almost like a new house (save the exterior).  I did source the appliances.  Yes, they were from Sears outlet, but they are quite nice, and no one could have a possible quibble. I also bought a new GE drop in range.  I purchased "bisque" appliances in keeping with the softer tones, more 'natural' tones of the cabinets.

I've been very inspired by the crafts(wo)men era where natural elements took precedence.  I'm a bit of a hypocrite as I'm painting all of the dark wood!  Nevertheless, by painting the dark trim, I'm neutralizing and softening the lines of the room by not creating "outlines".  With that, I'm able to let the cabinets, in their knotty-pine glory, the porcelain tile and wood flooring reflect earthy, natural elements.  Oh, plus, I bought some kick-ass knobs to replace the white knobs.

They are super-cool-neato, and look terrific. (Amerock BP4484RBZ Ambrosia Knob, Euro Stone, Square, Rustic Bronze)
Why don't I have these in MY kitchen?  Now let me tell you about a little trick that I learned about de-crudi-fying kitchen cabinets...but naturally it requires a small diversion....

In the kitchen, there is no greater enemy to your cabinet rehab efforts than grease AND contact paper. There is a weapon.  You must wield it with impunity:  Steam on demand.  Mike is my favorite go-to expert.  He is a knowledgeable craftsmen, and he is patient enough to listen to me prattle on about this and that. He is in perpetual motion, so for him to take 5 minutes out of his day to listen to me and better yet, to help me is a great gift.

I was using a clothes steamer to remove the contact paper.  It works great for removable shelves, but not so much for horizontal surfaces.  Think!  Think!  Think!  Oh yes....what if there is a wall paper steamer.  Call to Mike.  Yes...he has a wallpaper steamer.  Actually, it is a Wagner, Steam on Demand, model 915.  You can look at it here on Amazon. 

On my SR project (code, don't overthink it), I thought that nothing could be nastier than the backsplash that I thought was faux painting, but was really grease buildup.  On the FD (code again!)  project, the backsplash was pristine, but the cabinets had both moldy food and grease.  That would be cogently labeled the obverse of SR.  In addition, there was an entire section of cabinet that had some food hazard, that I cannot even begin to guess about.  At the SR project, while I was heating water on the singular, working burner on the cook top, I noticed that the steam caused some grease dripping.

Perhaps my bulb is not so dim. I elected to try the steamer on the cabinets.  My serially applied, toxic cocktail of TSP and  Mr. Clean Industrial (purple) and steam (I did have the since to where a respirator).  Where one or the other did not work, the serial application worked wonderfully.  I'm not sure how many years of grease, mold and other unidentified putrifications were dispatched to the Netherworld, but the cabinets look great. 

Grease is the great enemy of painting cabinets (though I'm not painting, and I'm hoping that I'll stick to that resolve).  And if you have a raised panel application, coupled with an indeterminate time period of putrification, contaminations, and general abomination then you can never get a 'clean' surface, without some high-powered INVASION.  Yes, steam on demand is your friend.

That's my long-winded tip.  If you are going to do house rehab, get yourself a high powered steamer.  It will clean 'stuff' that needs to be cleaned that you cannot clean well otherwise (trim, toilets, cabinets, appliances, walls, ceilings and et-cet-er-ra!)

I received my  Danze plumbing accoutrements....oh, they are beautiful.  I'm think (v hope) that my nice rehab will blow away prospects who will value having not just a move in ready home, but rather, I MUST move in to this house buyer.  Make no mistake, I think that the market is still tough and that it will remain so for a while.  That notwithstanding....I want this home to be irresistibly appealing to the major buyer in this current market:  the first time homebuyer with an eye to future.


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