So there we were. We were finally moved in. We had our floors finished. Our paint colors were picked out. Now what?

The months leading up to this point, the moment where were finally able to call this place home and start making it our own had seemed to stretch on forever. Hundreds of emails sent, countless papers signed, to-do list after to-do list written. We’d spent three months preparing for this moment and now it was time to spring into action.

My parents had offered to make the six-hour drive from Ohio to help us get settled in, which we gladly took them up on. My parents have been DIYers since way before it was cool. My dad can fix anything and build anything, and my mom is a master decorator and organizer.

Then, to our delight, Joe’s parents also offered to come up that same weekend to see the place and help us out. I subsequently learned that Joe’s parents, too, have some DIY chops of their own! They brought us a ton of paint supplies, showing us some techniques along the way.

We also hired some professional help in the form of Jose, another person recommended to us by Joe’s cousin.

We woke up bright and early the Saturday after our first night in the house, with Jose arriving at 8 a.m. and Joe’s parent’s arriving up from southern New Jersey about an hour later. We set Jose loose in the living room with Balboa Mist while the four of us tackled the small room that we planned to make into a gym with Classic Gray.

(Read more about how we finally chose our colors.)

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Jose getting the first coat of Balboa Mist on the walls.

As the first of the paint was going up on the walls I felt a huge weight being lifted off my chest. The ugly beige peach color was finally going away forever!

Jose was a machine. In the amount of time it took myself, Joe and Joe’s parents to paint one room, Jose had made it through the rest of the house.

That’s why he’s the professional.

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Preparing the gym to get painted … and goofing off.

My parents arrived around 3 p.m. that afternoon, having run a quick errand for us on the way (picking up horse stall mats – yes you read that right – for the gym). We gave them a quick tour and decided to get them started on the doors.

I was worried that they were going to think we were crazy for wanting to do all the doors and windows. Then I remembered who I was talking to. My parents have done so much work on their house that there is not a single room that looks the same as it did when I was young, including all the doors. Some rooms have gone through multiple iterations.

So down came the doors.

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Mom and Dad painting a door in the gym while two others dry.

The next few days passed in a bit of a blur. Doors came down and rotated around the apartment as they dried and went back up. We systematically tag-teamed window frames, my mom and I using our nails to tediously scrape the dry paint off the plastic. Jose continued his marathon and by the end of Sunday, he was finished with the second coats and detailing on all the walls, before he left to enjoy the rest of the holiday.

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One of the louver doors in progress.

By the end of my parents’ visit, Tuesday night, the Fourth of July, we had all seven doors and corresponding trim painted and all the windows and corresponding trim painted. The only thing we didn’t finish was the set of French doors that led to the balcony. (Joe and I finished those the following weekend.)

We also made several trips to Home Depot for a shower head, hardwood floor cleaner, extra sets of keys and, because I am now in my 30s and there were mad holiday sales, a new dishwasher as a joint birthday/housewarming gift.

And as a swan song, my dad helped Joe hang the TV and get the wires snaked through the walls.

Lest you think we worked the weekend away, however, we did take some time to enjoy a few dances at Mister Sunday in Brooklyn. And on Tuesday, much to my delight, we had an amazing view of the fireworks, which even though they were on the East River this year, we could still see mostly in their entirety popping up above the Manhattan skyline.

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Our view of NYC’s Fourth of July fireworks from the balcony.

Joe and I still have a lot of work to do and a long list of projects to accomplish, but with the painting done we could finally start bringing up the rest of our stuff – books, decorations, small appliances – from the storage room and start putting the house into a livable state.

Huge shoutout to our parents. They were indefatigable in their efforts and we would have made nowhere near as much progress without them. Thank you, always, for the support and advice and company. We are so grateful.

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Hot Dogs, watermelon, Doritos, Yuengling and Moscow Mules. America?

And now, how about some before/after photos?

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