There is something utterly personal between a wall, an orbital sander and 100 years of paint.
We are now up to day (who knows) and I have realised the renovation has sent me crazy as I embark on a deep and meaningful blog post about sanding walls….yes you read correctly.
Up front I will say that I do not like the thought or logistics of sanding. The biggest reasons being the uncontrollable mess it makes. Plus regardless of the protection clothing you wear (gloves, goggles, long pants, shirts, and masks etc) sanding dust seems to go everywhere and when I say everywhere I literally mean EVERYWHERE. Ever blown your nose after sanding? If you have you will completely understand the everywhere comment. PLUS PLUS your body hurts quite a bit and it feels like the bones in your hands are uncontrollably shaking/vibrating for at least half an hour after you stop. The moral of this is the thought of sanding is not appealing; I am yet to jump out of bed in the morning and excitedly exclaim IT’S SANDING DAY TODAY.
We are finished sanding! I repeat we have finished sanding! (probably my famous last words)!!!
During my most recent (and last) sanding I reflected as to what I really love about renovating an old house. In my mind I am not just sanding walls and applying a fresh coat of paint to brighten and modernise the house. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a big part of it but it isn’t the really reason I am loving the journey we are taking in DIY renovating this house. It turns out in sanding back the paint on the walls I get deep satisfaction and joy of uncovering the stories the wall tells and providing the house with much loved TLC that it so deserves.
Whilst sanding I think about the number of different hands that painted each layer of paint, the reasons why and the colour choices. It is as if sanding back the paint on the wall is pulling back the curtain of history and getting a glimpse of the past. With each rotation of the orbital sander we uncover a different decade, a different style which inevitably tells a story. Whilst stripping back the years to expose the original timber in all its aged beautiful glory I imagine the person who would have originally built the house. What were there intentions in building this exact house? Was it for family? Work? What about the land? Why did they decide to buy here? Why did they decide to build the Workers style cottage? Who was involved with the build? Why was the pink paint colour chosen? Who choose it? Was it simply for cost? Was it the style?
As you can see there are numerous tails that could be told. We are very lucky as this is a family house numerous questions can always be answered but in sanding back these walls it is as if we are starting our own personal journey with this house.
Of course after sanding comes painting. With each and every paint stroke we are creating our own story within this houses story, giving these walls the new lease on life that it so deserves. With every paint stroke we are making our own piece of history as we are literally painting our lives and entwining our story with the stories of the past, present and future.
We have sanded back years of old paint, dirt and dust on these walls and provided it with the chance to start again. Not only for added cosmetic appeal, but if these walls could talk the stories it would tell and the love that they shared. After all, this house has been a pivotal home for anyone who has walked through its doors. The home has provided a lot over the years, to be able to give back to it by sanding back the years with our own hands giving our home a new lease on life is a wonderful feeling. Apparently this is something that is quiet common when renovating a Queenslander, that utter delight in begins apart of restoring Queensland’s history and moving it forward into the future.
This isn’t the first time the renovations have sent me a little crazy, I felt the same way about our last house. Prior to us purchasing it, our last house was a rental property for 10 years, prior to this it was the family home of an elderly couple who had to sell due to illness. Being a rental property it was trashed. It looked very tired, exhausted and utterly sad. I again felt immense joy of renovating it and providing it again with some much needed TLC by stripping back the walls, painting and creating our own lovely home. This is a stage that I can’t wait to reach with our home, nearly finishing sanding feels like a major milestone achieved and one step closer to move in day.
In summary I love the connection with the house our DIY renovation provides me, the sense of accomplishment. It’s almost like a deep cleanse with a new lease on life, a therapeutic clean that leaves you feeling absolutely exhausted but no cutting corners, no cheap and nasty surprises just a complete fresh start.
When we are finished the paint colour might just be a pale grey but to me when I eventually look at those painted walls it will be as if I am looking at the most exquisite painting….I did forewarn you that the renovations had finally made me go crazy.
I’m sure there are people reading this who now truly understand how crazy I am but maybe there are a few people reading this who have experienced the wonders of renovating…. I mean every now and then I wish I could undergo a complete sand and a fresh coat of paint (oh wait that happens every 6 weeks at the hair dressers).
Until next time