Home Improvement: Embracing My Inner Ungar

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Boz, prefers to keep his distance while supervising my DIY antics.

As a self-admitted Oscar Madison, I’ve battled my inner Felix Unger for years, knowing somewhere inside there is a neatnik, a man who could learn to hang up his clothes, finish dishes the actual day he dines on them, treat his vacuum as a friend rather than foe, and mop a floor before dust bunnies annex his bedroom into their personal warren.

COPY CODE SNIPPET

When a friend dropped by to return a borrowed tool, he chided me, “Uh Tom, the house is not looking very blog presentable. If readers only knew.”  Oh that hurt, not so sure he gets to borrow my sawzall any time soon. He was right, though. I may have to change Tall Clover Farm to Casa del Disarray. Fortunately I do have an excuse. In my world, home improvement trumps house cleaning. The minute the tools come out, my interest in cleaning takes a holiday. Why spruce up the place when drywall dust and paint cans will rule the roost until further notice. Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been working on:Before: My mudroom was aptly named, a catchall for boots, tools, wet dogs and general clutter.

After: I removed old drywall and exposed original surfaces, then primed, painted, fashioned a fir floor and then rechristened the space as a sun-room.Before: A little storage on the back porch.After: A lot of storage on the back porch, thanks to some salvaged fir doors on new slider tracks and new shelving.

remodel mudroom

Nothing like an old sink to bring utility and convenience to the mudroom.

Allowing my outer Oscar equal time, I offer a view of home improvement collateral damage: my kitchen–part workshop, part cooktop.

Stay tuned for part two, when I unveil the old kitchen nook as the new Cloud Room. And against my better judgement I may also share a few snapshots courtesy of my less presentable self, Oscar Madison.

39 COMMENTS

  1. !!!!!!!!
    That change is just awe inspiring!
    I always thought my mind was all over the place, you have beat me at the whole Housewerk < Home Improvement thing! Boooo~
    Anyway. I'm going to show this to my dearest, because I have a front porch that beckons to become a sunroom… Maybe when he see's your before/after's it'll inspire him to listen to my insanity… It's GORGEOUS!!! ♥

  2. Wow, I love those fir doors, they bring a lot of warmth to the room. You have instilled a little fear in me though. We plan to tear our kitchen out in its entirety next spring, and replace it, ourselves, and I suspect we’ll have a Casa del Disarray of our own for a few months! I am very impressed with the work you’ve done so far. I can only hope our project goes as well!

  3. Wowie!! I am so proud of you Tom 🙂
    Sometimes just finding the motivation to begin without getting deviated by those things like ‘playing outside in the garden’ oh wait that’s my problem 😉 lol!! Anyways, I too can’t wait to see what you have got up your sleeve for your kitchen! But after seeing your talent in your sun room,the finishing touch will be a spread in Better Homes & Gardens!! Motivation…… it’s a
    good thing 😉 Hope I get some soon to bite me in
    the butt!

  4. Tom – it looks great! Love the ceilings and the floors – and I can’t wait to see you kitchen nook! I love that you share both Oscar and Felix – sounds like a hilarious combination to me!

  5. OMG! Love all those windows!! Don’t lose the name Tall Clover Farms!! You are a work in progress!!! I remember a major renovation around here that lasted from just before I became pregnant with our second daughter til she was six months old! The week (more like the month) I went into labor, we had a huge tarp separating us from the outside world!! Keep forging on!! btw, the pics on the left side … what are those purple flowers growing around the base of that tree??? : )

    • June — Thanks, the kitchen is my last hurdle. I just cleaned it up today; should last until Thursday. 😉
      brion — So true, now who am I going to get to fill the legacy of the un-ending house to-do list?
      Terri — Thanks for the words of encouragement, and the flowers around my maple tree are Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica), a lovely bulb that spreads like crazy.
      Ina, Pam, Stephanie, Karen — Thanks for the support!
      MA — You can’t blame a guy for tryin’. I did vacuum today, after all.
      Brooks and Pam — Christmas Cards, eh? I wonder if Boz would agree to a donning a Santa suit? I’ve been wanting to offer cards but just haven’t figured it out yet.
      Kristin — Ah you little wisenheimer, don’t make me drop in on you for a surprise white glove inspection.
      Curtis — What project are you working on now? 1880, a great year for architecture, my house is 1888.
      Sue — Eesh indeed, I won’t let it happen again, well at least for the next 24 hours.
      Donna — Good luck with that strategy. Let me know if you need some additional virtual lobbying to get things going.

      Roberta — I’m with you, gardening beats house chores any day.
      CVF — look forward to checking out your DIY progress on your blog.

  6. Susan, it’s the angle of the photo, It’s just a cove doorway; but yes, this no doubt a recent modification as that part of the house was built in 1892.

  7. Oh Tamara dear friend, that’s just wishful thinking; considering your request for “first dibs” on my house. And yet, I take that as a compliment (in some warped way). 😉

  8. Hey Tom – hope you didn’t clean up the kitchen too much. Just as one can’t trust a skinny cook, in my opinion an uncluttered kitchen sends the same message. Can’t wait to hear what your plans are…hint, hint!

  9. Tom,

    Remodeling is hell! We just had our kitchen done early in the year. I am impressed with your ability. I have zero skill when it comes to fixing up things. I can work under supervision though. The room is looking great! Congrats! Can’t wait to see the rest,
    Clarence freaks out when furniture adn stuff is out of place. He went crazy during remodeling 🙂
    Cheers!
    Heguiberto

  10. Oh Tom… that mudroom is wonderful! I am anxiously awaiting photos of the kitchen remodel! And don’t feel bad about the disarray. After a year of remodel on my home I know there is just no way around it. It doesn’t last forever (?) and you do forget how awful it was.

  11. I know exactly what you mean Tom. We used to live in a 1940’s that needed EVERTHING and for years I used the old granny stove where the oven had those massive knobs and the countertops were red formica 🙂 5 years before we did anything about it.
    I say you’re doing a fab job – the mud room is gorgeous!!

    BTW sometimes I think we should trade our ole best friends for new ones that will still lie to us…lol…

    Then again, maybe not!!

    chow! Devaki@ weavethousandflavors

  12. I’ll show you my laundry room to make you feel better about your kitchen 🙂 My mom said “If you want to me-drop by anytime. If you want to inspect the house-call first.”

  13. Tom

    You really know what you’re doing! I wish that I was that handy. Our apartment would be picture-perfect then. Can’t wait to see what develops in the kitchen.

  14. OK, I jnow that you are busy remodeling your already lovely abode, but that does not excuse you from being ignorant of that which I referred to in my last comment-it was a VERY cultured comment and not in the least related to “Hooch”. I was referring to Austin Power’s Mini Me-a most despicable little character with evil over-tones. I would embrace your “outer Oscar” and forget about the mini-Unger. It’s substance that matters most and you got it in spades Baby!!!!

  15. Tamara, what a lovely ramble, and you almost had believing, then I saw your compliment to me in the last line and I knew you must be under the influence of something tannin-rich or extra-hoppy. Pax, my friend. 😉

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