I will confess ...
that the Russian did all the grunt work on this house.
But I did the painting! :)
There were so many different kinds of dark wood that I hardly knew how to calm things down on a budget. A new staircase, for example, to replace the existing one that had three kinds of real wood plus an imitation landing, would have cost 16,000 dollars.
200 to have a door painted white.
A mental shift was clearly my only route to a beautiful home, so tying my hair up in pigtails (my do for six months straight) I donned a pair of Converse and jeans and drove down to the paint shop.
This is hard-core painting, too. Sand everything by hand and wash. Apply three coats of paint, the first of which is so potent it makes you feel high... literally. (Those were happy days) I popped in Odhecaton's Monteverdi: Missa in illo tempore for hours and became a zen-ful painting machine, lying upside down at times to apply paint with tiny foam rollers.
The week before we moved in, the husband was carrying a cabinet downstairs with his equally muscular cousin, working their way down the newly white staircase with precision.
The Painter: Are you being careful? Should I tape some cardboard around the banisters just in case?
The Muscles: Oh, no, we're fine! No problems here; no need to worry.
And since I tried to be a non-nagging variety of wife I didn't fret, and I now have an inch wide gash in the banister to remember it by. It is the white stone of the household, declaring to passers-by:
There is always need to worry.