The drop ceiling tiles in the living room were stained and ugly, the windows were so old that looking through the glass made everything appear wavy. The trim and windowsills had paint worn off.
The little room at the top of the basement stairs between the living room and kitchen was horrible. The floor consisted of unfinished plywood with gaps between the sheets. Three of the walls were ancient gray two by fours and the fourth wall had lattice that was trying to hold in crumbling plaster that kept releasing little bits onto the floor. There was a a sizable hole in the floor along the edge that used to serve as my dustpan when I was nine and ten. There were nails pounded into one of the walls on which we hung all of our coats and boots were lined up neatly underneath. The door to the basement was white and orange striped and never latched.
The linoleum in the living was cracked and worn with several areas worn all the way through. The kitchen was better since it was a new addition but it had never been finished with trim around the windows or baseboard.
I knew I couldn't do anything about the little room except put a clean rug down in hopes it would distract from the cracks and try to hang a curtain of sorts to hide most of the walls and our coats. I asked Mom for permission to make curtains for the room. She didn't answer immediately but told me I could paint the woodwork in the living room and if I wanted to I could take the drop ceiling tiles down and paint them too.
I was happy to make any improvements and proceeded to take the tile down. Several hours later Daddy came into the living room to view my progress and then started to measure the little room. A little later a driver came and Daddy left with him.
When he came home that evening I was thrilled to see that he had bought things to transform the ugly little corner. Under his capable hands a closet emerged and the walls were covered with beautiful mahogany. The floor was fixed and new linoleum put down. I could hardly believe how something that had looked so awful for all these years was suddenly the nicest spot in the house.
We pulled out the old linoleum from the living room and were happy to find that over the years the previous owners used to lay new linoleum on top of the old without gluing it down or anything. The third layer was a soft golden brown in a pattern to make it look like a rug. It didn't appear to have much wear so we left it. With several coats of wax it became gleaming and with fresh paint on all the woodwork I was pleased with how the living room looked.
Daddy said the trim for the kitchen would have to wait a while yet, but I didn't mind. I was deeply grateful that he had taken time from his busy woodworking shop to make the house a little nicer before LV came for the first time.