Elbow grease

Our house was built in 1939. Its junior beam construction means it’s not going anywhere. Basically, it’s built like a bomb shelter. But just because it’s built well doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a little elbow grease. Old is still old.

Our first project? Demolition of the house’s 50 year-old wall paper. The wall paper came off easily enough – thanks to the tireless efforts of Grammy and Grandaddy. But the adhesive? Not so much. It took two gallons of commercial-use Windex to prep the plaster walls for paint.

To add to the difficulty, we discovered one of the house’s previous owners had painted over the same wallpaper in the dining room. And that’s not really a big deal, except that the wallpaper seams were showing through. So, rather than lose more time removing the layers of paint and wallpaper in the dining room, we chose to plaster and sand the seams. (We suspect this is a temporary fix, but only time will tell).

We also primed the dining room walls to prep it for our new neutral color palette.

We chose warm tans – three in the same color family. You can see the lightest color here in the kitchen (one of a few rooms we’ve actually finished). The entry and the kitchen are actually the same color, but my iphone camera didn’t capture it very well.

After the walls were prepped, Grandaddy added some board and batten to the entry (finished pictures forthcoming!).

Because the living room had no light fixture, we added some can lights. We could have opted for adding floor lamps instead, but I think this feature was worth the expense. It makes the room usable in both early morning and evening.

But in order to install them, we had to remove the crown molding for the electricians (which resulted in a tetnus shot for the hubsters – sorry no pictures of that). For no extra charge, the electricians dropped an extra wire above the fire place mantle for a small fixture to illuminate artwork. (You can see the wire in the picture directly below the crown molding). We would have paid extra for this feature, but it was an easy addition since we had already paid for the electrician’s material and time. So, don’t be hesitant to inquire about this option if you are having lights installed.

All this elbow grease business makes me think of passages like Ps. 84:1-4. Because even if you wouldn’t describe yourself as ‘domestic’ or ‘crafty,’ there is something embedded in our souls that makes us long for a home – a place to belong, a place to feel safe, a place to feel comfortable, a place to be loved and to love. And whether it is admitted or not, that sense of longing is linked to the One who created us and the One who is creating a place for us to dwell with Him. It is the reality expressed in the ways we shape, mold, decorate and care for our earthly houses. It is this same reality that is echoed in the birds of the air who tend their nests and care for their young (Ps. 84:1-4).

So, although we feel like we are still living in a construction zone and most of our clothes are still in suitcases, our new nest is beginning to shape up. Until then, we’ll rejoice in the provision that has been made through Jesus Christ, the agent of creation, who came to us to bodily dwell.

“How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah”

Ps. 84:1-4

Special thanks to pugly pixel for blog bling ribbons. 



About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of HiveResources.com - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.