Renovation: Town House

My grandmother recently moved into assisted living, and my mother and I have taken on the task of renovating her house. Since we don’t have much of a budget, we are making the most of what we have. My grandmother moved into this brand-spanking-new house in the 1960s, and, not being much for decorating, has done little to change it since then.

Unfortunately, the builders decided to throw in every ’60s trend they could think of. If you have had much contact with them, you know “sixties building trends” pretty much translates to “bad.”

Observe the magnificence of the cheap wood panelling found in the kitchen, dining area, living room, and hall:


It actually looks a lot better in this picture than in real life. Here you see two of the few good pieces of furniture left over after my grandmother moved: an oak bookcase and an antique cherry table.

This couch is more typical of the leftover furniture:


See what I mean about the sixties? Believe it or not, we think we can do something cute with the table-lamp. It will be our “nod to the decade.”

The couch was taken off our hands most fortuitously by a handy-man, who is doing the part of the renovation that we wouldn’t have been able to do ourselves:



The picture does not truly capture the horror of this room. This color was very hip in the sixties, I am sure, but now it is downright nauseating. Something had to be done. You can’t tell, but the horrible tile goes all the way around the room. The mirror was in fact tiled into the wall. The vanity was tiled into the wall. All of the dated fixtures were tiled into the wall. Thank goodness for Handy Andy – this lovely tile was secured to the wall with a good 3/4-inch of concrete. Yes, concrete.

We left the tile around the shower, which we are planning on painting white. There are specialized kits for painting tile; I have heard very good reviews from people who have used them, so we’ll see how it goes. The gaping holes left when the concrete was removed have been sheetrocked over, and we are putting down a new floor, toilet, and vanity. Thank goodness.

Last, but not least, is the kitchen:


Once again, you really can’t comprehend just how bad it really looks. The sixties cabinets are dated to start with, and on top of that, in recent years a housekeeper started trying to wash the cabinets with a wet dishcloth, ruining the finish, and something (my grandmother’s walker? A vacuum cleaner?) has been dragged against all of the doors close to the floor, putting a large scratch all the way around the kitchen. Wow. Observe also the terrible hardware and the bizarrely oversized vent hood over the cooktop. The gold Spanish-inspired linoleum can’t be ignored either. We’re still trying to decide about flooring options, but we are going to paint all of the cabinets and replace the countertops, cooktop, and vent hood. The oven is fairly new and hopefully still works.

The redeeming feature is the hardwood that is hidden underneath all of the bad carpet. Hopefully it is still in good shape. We are going to have a big job sanding and painting all of the doors and trim, and priming and painting all of that panelling. All of the ceilings need to be painted, too. I think it’s going to look great when we’re finished, though!


4 thoughts on “Renovation: Town House

  1. You have your work cut out for you! But paint will be your new best friend. FYI I have painted many a floor, Lino and wood, subfloor and concrete. It can be done. (If you want I’ve got a couple examples on my post “can’t sweep it under this rug” to have a look at.

    • Someone told us that “Gripper” primer will stick to anything. We’ll be buying it in bulk. Maybe I should start a wager on how many gallons of white paint we will use before we’re through!

      Thanks for directing me to your blog post – your paint jobs are fantastic! I have seen a painted floor before, but never anything that elaborate. I think the checkerboard pattern might be the limit of my artistic ability – we may end up using something like that if the hardwood looks bad!

      • Hiya! The checkerboard is super easy! Even wide stripes could look cool and wouldn’t be too hard. I can’t wait to see the “after” and if I can help at all let me know! AND thanks for following!

      • I may end up asking you for some tips! I will definitely post “after” pictures – and probably some in between as well! You’re very welcome for the follow – I have a feeling your blog might come in handy! 🙂

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