The New House Hurts My Eyes

As most of you know, I didn’t want to move. I came home from South Carolina in May and learned that my landlord was planning to sell our house. Without telling me so I could keep paying his mortgage until the last possible minute. Sometimes people are just swell. Since I’m not good at being homeless, I found a new house in the little town of Aylmer, Ontario. Cute town, great schools, a layout that might work better for us, so I ignored the design flaws and snapped it up. Because it’s just paint, right?

About that.

We’re not really getting along. Me and the house, I mean. I picked up the keys  two weeks ago and it’s been 14 days of struggles.

First there was the fact that the house smelled like cat pee. I didn’t notice that smell when I was there to view it which is odd since I have weirdly super human olfactory senses. Whatever. The landlord had made arrangements for the carpets to be cleaned and all I had to do was let the guys in. No problem. Except the crew that came had been under quoted as to the size of the carpeted area of the house and it took 4 hours to sort out and 48 hours for the carpets to actually dry. So much for my overconfidence that the bedroom would be done before we moved in.

Two weeks later, the carpets are still disgusting looking. In fact, the carpets may actually be worse then when I picked up the keys. They’re sticky to walk on, our feet and socks turn black when we do, and the house still smells like cat pee. So there’s that. It got even better when I saw fleas jumping around while I was trying to scrub the cat pee stains. Good times. The bites on my hands and ankles are almost gone. If anyone knows why my carpets are so gross and sticky after steam cleaning and how to fix it, I’d love to hear from you.

Then there’s the whole brown and gold issue. It’s a thing here in Southern Ontario. And pretty much anywhere that doesn’t watch or subscribe to HGTV I guess. Because I can’t remember when I saw this color used anywhere in the design world. Oh. Wait. I did see this color used extensively in 1998.

Ugly brown walls everywhere.

Everyone seems to think diarrhea brown is the height of design style up here. If the landlord said it to me once, she said it ten times…. “The original owners had three shades chosen by a designer and professionally painted”.

I’m sorry that I’m unimpressed by that and actually hate it. #sorrynotsorry I think she may have actually called them designer colors. Oh. I see.

Why is every house in Ontario painted this color?

I wasn’t aware that it was so hard to choose paint that it’s a selling feature and all. Or that matching three colors on a paint card was difficult. Let’s talk about these three colors for a minute.

The colors are brown, gold and more brown. And they did some accent walls that accent nothing. So there’s that. Just the darkest poopiest brown color on the two opposite walls in the living area. Yay. Accent walls that make no sense.

How not to decorate a house? Three shades of "perfectly matched" brown and gold. Ugh

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate brown? The picture above is deceiving. It’s not a cool brown like you might think. It’s literally the color of diarrhea. The first picture is the most accurate.

The new house hurts my eyes.

Or, if I’m being kind…maybe caramel. Let’s not forget that the kitchen in the new house also has brown honey maple cabinets to match the honey toned wood floors. My eyes hurt in this house.

What were you thinking?

The only thing that’s not brown (including the second bathroom) and guest room, is this “fun” green playroom. The boys love it. Sorry kids. I’m fairly certain this color is responsible for their recent burst of hyperactivity and aggression. And if it’s not, it deserves the blame anyway. How terrific is that NASCAR wallpaper border?

This house hurts my eyes.

In this house, I want something light so I chose Horizon from Benjamin Moore for the main and lower levels. I got permission to repaint and everything! Sadly the poop brown is so deep and poopy that it’s required two coats of primer just to get started. As of today, the primer is finally done!

Benjamin Moore Horizon- OC53

I didn’t mention the bedroom would be black because most people are scared of paint and color. As evidenced by their awe that someone could pick three colors that “matched”. In fact, I decided to extend that gorgeous soot color to include the main bath and possibly the foyer but I’m sure not prepared to tell anyone about that until it’s done.

soot 1

I’m learning it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I’m also used to people gasping in horror when I suggest something that isn’t brown or tan or gold in this part of the world.

I was still hoping the house would be painted before we moved our things in so I got started with the fun job of taping off 2400 square feet of house a few days after we got the keys and dealt with the carpet situation. Except. Wait for it. There were these things in pretty much every wall in the house.

What the hell are these things?

Metal things that can be pried out or unscrewed. It’s a mystery to everyone I’ve shared the photos with as to exactly what these are or how to remove them.

I think they’re some kind of plug to support heavy things. Except when I first toured the house the only thing on the walls was some “art work”. I don’t exactly know what these metal are for but I’m starting to suspect the house was a front from some kind of kinky shenanigans. The only thing I can imagine needing that kind of metal for was to bolt chains and handcuffs to the wall. I’m starting to suspect that the nice family living here may have been a front for an S & M joint. I’m not one to judge but I sure would have appreciated it if you’d removed the metal plugs from the wall prior to moving on.

So we had to wait for Handyman Tom to come by and pry out some and hammer in the rest. And then patch the walls. In 39 different places. I kid you not. There were that many metal plugs in the walls. Seriously.

And let’s talk lighting. Someone really loved to matchy match. All the lighting in this house matches perfectly. And it’s all hideous. Bronze, ornate, and hideous. I looked it up and it’s called Venetian Bronze. So fancy.

Lighting don't. Venetian bronze everywhere. Seriously. Don't. Do. This.

Goes great with the brown and gold, and that Tuscany/Venetian thing everyone around here seems to love. Ugh. I know it’s a first world issue but I seriously can’t look at this lighting for another second. Their “designer” even matched the lighting in the bathroom. Even more fancy.

World's ugliest lighting fixtures

I had no idea that you could get boob lighting in an ornate bronze. As if boob lights weren’t bad enough, someone had to go and match them to get a more Tuscany feel. I’m sorry but Tuscany only works in Tuscany or in 1993 when it was a brief design thing. It’s over. I have no idea why it continues to be so popular here.

My other favorite thing is that the new landlord, who is actually a lovely person, handed me a mailbox key but had no idea which mailbox it belonged to at the community mailbox site. Canada post loves these community mailboxes. Guess I’ll spend spend some quality time getting to know my neighbors while I try to unlock 64 mailboxes to find mine.

Mailboxes in our new town. Came with a key but the landlord doesn't know the box number. Should be fun.
Which one is mine?

Then there was the automatic garage door opener with no remote control. She tried to convince me there had never been one, that you just get out and enter in a code (which she didn’t know) and all was well. Ummm…this is Canada. It’s frickin’ freezing here for up to five months out of the year. What’s the point exactly of having a garage that you can’t get in and out of without a remote and a code? Are we supposed to go in the house, open the garage door and press the up button, run back to the car and then drive in? I guess we are. When I suggested that I will probably replace the garage door opener she wanted to make sure that I knew that it would be at my own expense and, wait for it, that it be of equal quality of the current one. I’m pretty sure that won’t be a problem since the garage door got stuck in the open position the first time I opened it. Seems like real quality to me.

Once we moved in, I learned a few other fun facts about this house. Like the fact that the drain in the “swimming tub” (as the boys refer to it) doesn’t stay open. It’s currently propped open with a hair clip. Classy. Or the fact that there’s a one inch gab at the bottom of the shower door. I learned that after I stepped out of my first shower in to a newly formed lake on the bathroom door. Hey. At least the floor got a thorough cleaning.

That’s kind of a long way of apologizing for forgetting the link party Friday night. Seriously…so sorry about that. I just blanked. Hope this long winded explanation of our new house helps put things in perspective. Excuse me, the primer is dry and I still need to suck cat urine out of the carpet.

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  1. I have the color twin to your house! But you got the classy version of the same light fixtures! Sorry about the carpet. Wanna trade for rustic gold and greige Tuscan tile on the floors, backsplash and shower. 🙂

  2. Hello Jenna, I just came upon your blog via Ms. Toody Goo Shoes! I’m also from southern Ontario and live about a half hour north east from you. Yes, there is quite a bit of this caramel paint going on around here. But you know, that’s what you call ‘playing it safe’! I just painted my main room, Edgecomb Gray from BM. And Revere Pewter for the entrance, stairwell and family room. So glad I did, it looks great! I love your Horizon colour. My bedroom is Quiet Moments by BM. Maybe similar. Love these soft, quiet colours. They are great to live with! Wish you lots of luck! You could always paint the light fixtures and switch the glass? I painted a brass/oak chandelier a cream colour, because they didn’t have them retail. A spray can does wonders! Keep us in the loop! Sincerely, Janina

    • Love your color choices! Isn’t spray paint the best fix for almost everything? If you’re that close you’re probably family with the Habitat for Humanity stores. I already found two light fixtures there. Buh-bye Venetian bronze!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  3. I can relate to your story – same sort of things happened when we moved into our house. Cat urine was so awful in one room, we had to totally rip out the entire floor and sub floor. Ugly stuff. But, even with your poopy walls, from what I can see in the photos, it looks like a great house! Can’t wait to see how you work your design magic! Boob lights – LOL!

  4. Paint is a beautiful thing — in more ways than one! The brown tones have gone the way of the wallpaper, which was my nemesis when we bought our home 10 years ago. Busy, nature-themed wallpaper in every. single. room. I was tempted to draft a bill to make it illegal to put a house on the market unless every piece of wallpaper was removed first! Good luck with your new house and I hope it soon feels like home to you!

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