Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event 2014 #PghGBE

This post comes from Yum Yum Pgh, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers, once again wonderfully organized by the hilarious and talented Alex over at Everybody Loves You. You can see my post over on Ya Jagoff, where I talk about the jagoffs that I deal with at work, and I don’t mean my coworkers. 😉

I recommend you follow the link trail, there are 29 bloggers participating this year! Last year was a lot of fun with a lot of bloggers blogging outside of their comfort zone. (I definitely wasn’t this year, I love complaining about people. ;)) Thanks again, Alex! 


Of course after agreeing to participate in the Guest Blogger Event organized by Alex from everybody loves you, I panicked because OH MY GOSH what the heck will I write about?

I have been following jelly jars for quite some time, but after I found out I would be writing for her, I got all creeper-like and went through her blog archives to refresh my memory on what she likes to blog about! She writes about a lot of things, including her home improvement projects. I love reading about home improvement projects! Especially since we’ve done quite a few projects in our home.

We bought an older home (built in the 1950’s). Despite being close to 60 years old, it was fairly updated, definitely move in ready, and we didn’t have to knock down walls or finish a basement, but some of the décor choices – wow. Not my thing. At all. There was a lot of pink, a color I despise, and a lot of mirrors – I really don’t want to see my reflection every time I turn around. Some high-lights:

  •       There was glittery pink wallpaper in the entrance way. It flaked off in tiny pieces the size of dust particles.
  •       Two of the bedrooms had pink floral wallpaper borders along the ceiling.
  •       There were mirrors. Everywhere. Mirrored closet doors, mirrors on the walls, a mirrored support pole.
  •       Pink carpet. Green carpet. Burgundy carpet.
  •       Pink blinds.
  •       Pink drapes.
  •       Pink walls.
  •       Pink light fixtures.
  •       A pink bathroom – pink tile, pink floor, pink wall.

But let’s focus on one thing: this particular décor choice:


Those are the stairs to the basement. Covered in furry green carpet. Take a closer look at the walls. They, too, are furry. They are covered in carpet! Even at the bottom of the stairs, around the door to the laundry room, there was carpet glued on the walls.

Carpeted walls. So gross. And ugly. And filthy. Who puts carpet on walls?

I couldn’t wait to get rid of this disgusting feature, but we had cats. Well, SP had cats. They used to rub against those carpet walls, leaving cat fur all over the wall, thus making the carpet walls even more disgusting.

The cats were confined to the basement. Here’s why:


The chair in the middle photo – it took those little monsters about 2 weeks to destroy an 18 year old chair that was in perfect condition.

The left photo – poop outside the litter box. Revenge from the skittish cat for us daring to have guests over. Or have people come work on the house. Or go away on vacation. Or, basically, do anything except hang out with him.

The right photo – they also destroyed the carpet downstairs. It might have been ugly carpet, but it was in great condition and we did have all the carpet professionally cleaned before we moved in.

So I had to wait to tackle the basement project and get rid of those awful carpet walls. I didn’t want the cats destroying any home improvements.

Long story short, within 3-4 years one cat passed away and the remaining cat, the skittish one, was distraught over losing his companion (so he was even more obnoxious) and I refused to get another cat to keep him company, so we found him a happier home with SP’s brother. Finally, in 2012, we were cat free and ready to tackle the basement.


The left photo is from when we looked at the house. Ugly wallpaper border above wood paneling, mirrored support pole, bright pink carpet in guest room (right photo). Yuck! But it was a finished basement… and there was a nicely sized guest room.

Ultimately, we would have liked to get rid of all the wood paneling and the wood built in shelves. But that’s a risky project in an old home. You never know exactly what the previous owner did (or how he did it). After removing the paneling, what kind of shape would the walls be in? Certainly there would be lots of patching and sanding and priming, but what if they were so bad that they required dry walling? That’s a much bigger project. How do you rip off mirrors that are glued onto a support pole? Can you just paint the mirrors? But what about the ugly green carpet creeping up the base of the pole? If you remove the built in shelves, just what does it look like where the vent goes into the side of the right shelving unit? What does that vent do? In what condition are the walls behind the shelves? Do we remove the wood molding and replace it or paint it? Ultimately, time and money made the decisions for us.

1. We hired a painter to remove the wallpaper strip and paint the ceilings & walls of the entire basement.

2. We hired another guy to:

  •       remove the carpet from the walls and the stairs
  •       drywall the stairway
  •       paint the stairway walls all the way up to the skylight
  •       create new wood trim along the stair sides
  •       install a new railing
  •       do whatever necessary to de-mirror the pole (he built a box around it and painted it to match the walls then added baseboard trim to match the rest of the trim in the basement)

3. We had new carpet padding & carpet installed in the rooms and on the stairs

4. We moved the ‘old’ couch downstairs to the basement and bought a giant bean bag chair and a daybed.

After photos:


The main basement living area. Lovely, non-mirrored support pole. No wallpaper. No shredded green carpet.


The left photo is the area that used to house the cat litter boxes & the shredded green chair. It’s now a secondary guest sleeping area with a daybed and my old desk. It still remains a bit of our ‘we don’t know what to do with this item so we’re going to put it in here until we figure it out’ room. The right photo is the guest room – no more bright pink carpet and you can actually see the trim since it is white and the walls are ‘Seaside Sand’ for a bit of contrast.

Finally, the stairs:


No more disgusting carpet walls! Or fuzzy green carpet!

When we first moved in, we had lots of projects in mind. We were very enthusiastic. We did the painting ourselves. We made minor improvements ourselves. But over time, we started to not like the time and effort the projects required. We didn’t know how to do some things. We were no longer ‘entertained’ by discovering the ‘quirks’ of how previous owners had done things. As my brother always says when we laugh about our home improvement adventures:

“Technically it ain’t wrong, but it sure ain’t right.” (Said with his late-in-life acquired southern drawl since he has lived in the south for the past 10 years).

I wish jelly jars much luck with all her home improvement projects – may she never discover any ‘quirks’ that are not quite wrong but definitely not right!


Man, nothing I love more  than a good before and after! Our house was also built in 1950, but luckily had undergone some renovations since then. I am pretty sure carpeted walls trumps my 5 layers of living room wallpaper, so glad I didn’t have to deal with that! Although I am intrigued by the thought of glittery wallpaper….

Now, go on, head over to YaJagoff to read my post! 

Leave a comment


  1. Holy crap, the “after photos” are beautiful! Totally worth the time and effort, it looks wonderful!


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