The Previous Owner Must Be Crazy — Part 2

Here’s Part 2 in the series about a crazy previous owner.

The Case of the Phone that Matched the Grout

What is it about 1980s décor that says it should stay forever?

At least that’s what crazy former-owner ladies seem to think. My not-so-very-scientific survey includes the woman who sold us her house more than 17 years ago and the crazy lady who finally vacated Tara’s house.

When we closed on our home, it was the first (and only) time that I’d meet the woman who built and decorated the house (we did see them drive by once or twice after). The first thing out of her mouth at our introduction (*imagine the look of an epiphany dawn upon her face*):

“Oh, I bet you’re going to change all the colors!”

Not, “It’s nice to meet you.” OR “I hope you make as many memories in the house as we did.”

How do you answer that gracefully?

“Er, it’s nice to meet you,” while in my head, I’m screaming, “Heck, yes, I’m changing all the colors—as soon as the keys are in my hands.”

Last week, when we were stripping blue and white wallpaper (typical of the late 1980s or early 1990s), we were having a good laugh at the really blue tile grout. It wasn’t going to match anything when we were done.

I mean really blue. The former owner walked through the destroyed kitchen. Someone asked if she wanted to keep her phone. The phone is as really blue as the grout.

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Photo courtesy of Tara

Let me paint a picture for you of the rest of the kitchen:

The stove with the broken gas burners (she always used a match to light the stove) was out, the wall paper was almost completely stripped, the oak-ish cabinets were getting washed and lightly sanded.

Previous owner: Oh, I was planning to leave the phone. It matches the kitchen so well.

Us: *blink* *scrape off more blue wallpaper*

Previous owner: I wish I could find the blue pigment. I repainted the grout every two years or so to keep it such a vibrant blue. I can’t find it though to give it to you.

(I think she said the words in color.)

Us: *blink* *throw wads of crumpled blue wallpaper into the giant trash can*

Tara: “Oh, that’s OK.”

There is nothing wrong with white and blue in a kitchen. It’s a lovely combination. The problem is that Tara picked colors that match her things and her dishes, and that meant the blue grout had to be painted over and the TARDIS blue phone had to go.

(Note: Here’s where my geek shows, but Mockingbird thinks the blue isn’t Dr. Who TARDIS blue at all. *shrug*)

The previous owner crazy lady was standing in the kitchen that wasn’t hers anymore and telling us how to repaint the grout to match the phone.

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Photo courtesy of Tara. The walls are painted in her new colors, which don’t include blue.


For the record, if we ever sell our house and I meet the new owners at the signing, I will wish them lots of wonderful memories in a home that we loved. I would expect them to paint rooms to match their own personalities, not live in my house—it’d be their house, after all.

How would you answer either of the previous owners? Has anyone ever thought you were crazy for redecorating a place that was now yours?

Have you subscribed to Mermaids Don’t Do Windows yet? It’s really easy  to do and free. Go do it now. 😀


8 comments on… “The Previous Owner Must Be Crazy — Part 2”

  1. When we bought our current home, the previous owner offered to come over and help me paint! Lol! She’d wanted to redecorate and update, but never had gotten around to it.

    But, oh, that “vibrant blue” grout! And it matches that phone! Luckily, it can be changed easily. Our 45-Day House had a blue kitchen, and I’m talking that “dusty blue” that was so popular in the early 80s. It had blue vinyl floors, and blue laminate countertops. Plus, the laminate was extended up the walls as a backsplash. We didn’t have the money to replace it, so I had to live with it. I think I might have told the new owners I’d come over and help them rip it all out …

    • Diana Beebe

      Did you take her up on her offer to help? That’s awesome! …or creepy…

      I’m so sorry about the blue laminate. :-/

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. What I really want to know is, when the heck is that lady going to be OUT OF Tara’s house? I mean, seriously! She’s going to keep stopping in just to borrow sugar or something.

    Totally creepy…

    When we bought our house the owner gave Dave some information on a few things, but as soon as they left, Dave threw it out. I’m sure they were devastated to drive by and see we’d uprooted a huge ficus in the front yard. Actually, I was, too, but the roots were getting under the foundation of the house. They made a point of letting us know they really didn’t want to sell the house. Um, okay? Then don’t? I hope they got over it. Like you, when we sell our house, I’ll wish the new owners many happy memories and walk away with a nothing but fondness for the house.

    • Diana Beebe

      Oh, she’s gone and out of state now (as of last Thursday)! Yay! The blog topic fodder is deep. LOL.

      I agree with you. Why sell if you’re that attached?

  3. Widdershins

    I’d smile politely and make non-committal murmurs … the electric-blue phone does look awesome though!

    • Diana Beebe

      I know, right?! 😀 I thought it was a cool color, but it just didn’t match anything anymore.

  4. Kristie Zubko

    The previous owners of our current home were still in it when we pulled up with a cleaning crew and the carpet cleaners (The movers scheduled to come 3 hours later.) We were really mad. We had all these people waiting for them to leave. Finally 3 hours later they were gone but now the movers were here at the same time as the cleaners. Before the family of 5 left this house, where they had raised 3 children, I asked them if they were sentimental about the house and I was shocked when they said, nope we are so glad to finally be outta here. Made me kinda feel sick, like what kind of house had I just bought. Wish I had never asked. (We were leaving our old house of 12 years and we were very sad to leave it. We had just outgrown it.)

    • Diana Beebe

      I think it was the family not the house that had problems. It’s a great house!

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