Santa Rosa attorney gives her home a quarantine makeover for $1,500
Robin Estes is a family law attorney who is used to staying busy. So when the coronavirus quarantine went into effect, forcing her out of her office and slowing her calls to a trickle, she found herself with a surfeit of energy but nowhere to direct it.
An accomplished chef, she first started holding cooking classes on Facebook Live, setting up her cellphone on a ladder and welcoming friends to her kitchen. But after a couple of weeks of tuxedo cakes and homemade croissants, she realized that project wasn’t sustainable.
“I thought, I’m going to come out of this twice my size if I don’t stop doing this and do something else instead,” she said.
So the restless empty-nester turned her eye on her house. It started out as a little paint job in her son’s room. Her eldest had moved out a year ago, and while she
had no grand plans for his room, she figured it would be a good place to put her treasured books stuck in storage so she could pull one out on a whim and reread it.
“And then it snowballed,” she said. “There were holes in the walls and there were dents and broken switchplates.”
She bought paint and went to work turning a onetime teenage boy’s lair into a book and guest room.
But then she kept going and going.
When the dust settled more than a month later, Estes had pulled off what amounted to a light home makeover.
Almost every room was refreshed. (The only room she left untouched was her youngest son’s room. A Marine, he is scheduled to return home in a week and she figured that is still his room.) But every other space got some improvement, including the hallway, where she took down the family photos, re-matted and re-framed them and then rearranged them.
Estes spackled holes in walls, repainted every room, installed ceiling fans and light fixtures, added shelving, replaced a shower curtain with glass doors and bathroom sinks with better bowls. She painted cabinets, dyed curtains, painted lampshades and killed her front lawn and replaced it with raised beds for vegetables.
She did it all with materials on hand and relatively inexpensive purchases off Amazon.
And she did it all herself, with some help from her handyman husband.
She didn’t set out to do the entire house, but one project seemed to lead to another.
Estes’s remodel is a lesson in how anyone can freshen up their home and tackle nettlesome projects that may have been on a to-do list for years. None of it requires advanced training. It all can be done using basic skills and a small budget.
Estes spent about $1,500 on the interior of her house, covering two bathrooms, an office, a living room and dining room, the kitchen, two bedrooms and a sewing and workout room.
The old to-do list
Estes has lived in her Rincon Valley tract home for about 11 years. There were things about it that always bother her. But with her demanding job and raising two sons, she was never left with enough time or energy.
“Family law is extremely rewarding,” she said. “I love what I do. But it can be very draining. So sometimes on the weekend all I want to do is pull on my pajamas and grab a book and sit on my couch with my pug, and that’s it.”