Setting Up House

In the last few days I’ve seen mention by a few people who are in process of remodeling/redecorating their homes. Since that very project is foremost on my mind these days, I thought I’d create a thread wherein we could all bitch about how slowly things are going, or rejoice when something finally gets done.

Byron and I have a bunch of stuff to do. Four of five bedrooms need carpet, all five bedrooms need paint. All three bathrooms need to be gutted (or nearly), and the kitchen is in for complete destruction. The family room needs new walls (currently paneling over cement) and new carpet (currently 20 year old, perpetual smell of smoke and dog pee, no pad, over cement) and the laundry/storage room needs a serious organization system. All the bedroom closets are small (apartment size) so we’re thinking the best thing to do is install closet organizers.

What a pain in the ass. That’s every room in the house! Of course, that doesn’t include 25 years of accumulated stuff that needs to be gotten rid of (we inherited the house when my mother-in-law died).

Good news, though! I have someone coming to clean the chimney next week for the low, low price of $55 (that includes everything…YAY!), and we finally found someone who was willing to take away the ancient deep freeze and prehistoric washing machine.

So how are all the other TM’s revamping projects coming along?

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

I have descided to put off buying a house so I can focus extra income on other things like travel.

Many people say that owning a house is better than renting because when you rent you “throw money away” but you don’t have to take care of the incidentals, and if you want to reloacte it’s very simple.

Since I think I might move in about 5 years (less if a great opportunity arises) then I would rather keep on renting for now.

Just add water, it makes it’s own sauce!

I have SOOOO many projects to do on my house that I really don’t know where to begin, especially since several of them are going to be rather expensive. I need to have new siding put up, and I want to put in a bay window in the front of the house. Most of the carpeting and flooring have seen better days, so I’ve decided I want to do put in some kind of hardwood floors through most of it.

Of course, that’s not to even mention the fact that I’m determined to have the bathroom remodeled, and I want to have the kitchen cabinets re-faced, and a dishwasher put in.

Wow, this is going to take me forever! The house was a rental for a couple of years which explains why it’s in the shape it is.

I have lists and lists of what I have to do, I just don’t know where to start, really.

Not that I’m a professional or anything, but the way we’ve decided to go about it is to go room by room, smallest project to largest project.

Since you’re going to be replacing your flooring, start with your walls and windows first. If you spill paint or something, you haven’t messed up a new floor.

This would probably be the best time to take care of your siding. Construction guys are going to be running out of work soon, and they generally like to stay busy until it’s too cold to do anything. You may even get a deal on labor costs since there isn’t much demand for outdoor construction in the late fall.

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

I’m a renter. But my landlord is an extremely cool guy. I’m thinking about buying this house someday, but I don’t know yet.

He had a new roof put on a few weeks ago, and it look great. We’re supposed to be getting siding soon as well, but the siding guys are running way behind. We’ll have it before the snow flies.

While I’ve never done any renovations myself, my landlord kept me posted on what was going on while he was redoing this house before we moved in (I had been renting an apartment from him prior to moving in here). What became my daughter’s bedroom was a nightmare. He told me that the lady who sold him the house had lived here for about 10 or so years. She put up new wallpaper in that room on a pretty regular basis. Trouble is, she never took the old stuff down. He counted 12 layers of wallpaper by the time he got to the wall istelf. Yoinks! Now it’s a nice off-white, with various colors of crayon here & there.

Major home projects? Well, I’m thinking about doing the dishes.

We moved recently, and the family who lived here before us were the biggest PIGS ever. The kept 2 dogs in the basement, who stunk up the floor and ate the insulation to about 5 feet high. There were handprint-sized smudges all over the walls, like someone scooped up used motor oil and slapped the walls. There’s barbeque sauce all over the ceiling in the dining room(textured, so you can’t clean it off, you just paint over it) and THE BEDROOM CLOSET! No, it’s not blood, I checked. The lawn was about 3 feet high when we moved in, mostly weeds. The neighbors love us because we don’t have noisy parties or a Rottie that eats cats

I am boasting now but here goes…I have an utterly devoted friend I’ve known for 20 years. He has golden hands - carpentry, plumbing, electrical, mechanics - anything manual. I’m an executive/minor corporate officer and some of my snotty yuppie friends don’t understand why I hang out with a crude blue collar guy, but I trust him more than anyone else. When I bought a house he soon moved his family into a house a block away. Anyway, over the years my house is being slowly renovated by this guy. Hardwood floors, finished basement, he does it all. I pay the costs and I force money on him for labor but it costs me about a quarter of what it should cost. He showed up a couple of months ago with a new hot water heater over his shoulder. “you need this, I got a good deal.” “Uh OK.” Next thing I know he installs it. He fixes my car. Every time I buy something he shows up shaking his head: “you should’ve talked to me first.” My wife figures he’s queer for me but she’s just jealous. I also know that whenever he asks anything of me I must without question provide, but he doesn’t ask for much. When I was out of town once he went into my safe and helped himself to $1800 to pay his mother’s property taxes. My wife freaked but he paid me back. So the point of this is I’m getting major renovations for minimal cost because I am very lucky to have a talented and devoted friend. Maybe we should start a thread on “Exceptional Friends in your Life”? I have always believed in doing the right thing and always being kind to other people. I believe if you have the chance to do a favour for somebody you should always take it. If you pause to consider what you might get in return or to judge the other person’s ability to repay you, you are philosophically unsound. I am the least spiritual person I know but I do believe in a kind of karma - you get what you give, what goes around comes around, what ye sow so shall ye reap. I befriended this guy 20 years ago and treated him with respect and I have reaped a staggering harvest.

We spent some money on carpets. Now I have to take some bunk beds apart.I mean apart, they will not come out of the room in one piece.This was supposed to be one of the easier home projects, where they do all the work. I have tall bookcases screwed to the walls so the kids wouldn’t pull them down.Luckily the books in those rooms aren’t that much to pack up.

I finally got around to driving out to my grandma’s house (two hours away) to pick up the table she gave us last year. It’s a really pretty, dark walnut Duncan Phyfe. When fully extended (three leaves) it’ll seat 12 people. (Fortunately, nobody else knows that and our kitchen/dining area is too small to extend it anyway.)

I needed to buy new chairs, and amazingly I spent less than 20 minutes in the store. I miraculously happened upon four chairs I liked better than any others. One hundred percent covered in a very nice printed fabric, $89/apiece including Scotchguarding. I’m going to pull colors out of the fabric when it comes time to figure out flooring, paint, cabinetry, etc. for the kitchen remodel.

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

New homes often have that formal dining room.It’s a room you have to furnish, but often too small for 10 people.

Ours isn’t really a “new” house (1963). It doesn’t have a formal dining room, just a kitchen with a “dining area”. The kitchen part is laid out so that one of the counter sections kind of separates the cooking area from the eating part.

I’m not the slightest bit interested in new construction. I’d actually love to have a huge old rundown Victorian piece of crap with a monstrous dining room and all the little wierd closets and hallways, etc.

I’m making do with the cookie cutter split level… for now.

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

Chris, I absolutely agree with you! I LOVE old houses. The house we’re renting now is about 90 years old or so and the landlords have kept it in pretty decent condition. It’s got the original woodwork (you know, the 12" high baseboards?!), open staircase, and two original fixtures in the living room and dining room that are cool. I’ve done some painting but that’s about it. I gut the kitchen if it was my place, but it’ll do for now. They offered to sell us the place on a land contract but we want to be in the country and this house is smack-dab in the middle of the city. Cool place though.

Chris -
I’d love to be able to do the siding now, but I just don’t see myself having the money before it starts snowing. I’m not even sure how much it’ll cost, but since I don’t have a credit card or anything, I’ll have to save up for it first. I’m just hoping that I can get the interior painting and flooring done this winter. Oh, that and the new furnace I need desperately. Should be fun.

I have to tell this story because it’s so amazing to me. I’ve stripped wallpaper from many a wall in my day and know what a long torturous (sp?) project it can be. I put wallpaper up a couple of years ago in a room in our house when it was new. My husband had said “Use sizing because it’s a new wall.” He of course has no experience with hanging wallpaper so I grumbled “whatever” but did it anyway. I decided recently to change the wallpaper and go to the store to buy a barrage of stripping equipment (scraper, “paper tiger” scoring device, removal solution, etc.) Today I take the switchplates off the wall and absentmindedly grab the loose edge that was under the plate and pull. The entire section of paper peels off the wall like a Post-it note! I went around the room grasping each section from the bottom and lifting it off the wall like I was in a Tom and Jerry cartoon – it took about 10 minutes and I just folded it all up and stuck it in a trash bag! My head is spinning. The horrible downside to this is that I’ll be forced to admit to my husband that he was actually right about something. :wink:

Steviant, your friend with the golden hands could be seperated at birth from my husband
( except for the helping himself to the contents of your safe part. Frig raiding, yes. Safe, no.) These guys are worth about 100 million billion jillion more than any white collar stiff out there. Never ever ever let him go and if he is gay and makes a pass at you, sleep with him. To be screwed in bed is quicker and less painful and quicker to recover than getting screwed in the pocketbook by a shyster con-artist repair guy. :slight_smile: Nearly every weekend hubby helps out his 10 thumbs- on-their-hands-friends/family with everything around their houses.

As for old houses(70-100+ years old), yeah, they sure look great and nostalgic, etc, BUT when you buy them what you get is old wiring, old plumbing, old furnance,old windows, old this and old that and guess what, YOU have to replace everything eventually. You will soon resent having all your money going into projects instead of having a life outside the house. ( unless you are some kind of masochist and like that kind of thing or are independantly wealthy.) They are money pits and they suck the life out of you.

We won’t even talk about the small closets.

Like the old adage, no one sells a used car because it runs too well: No one sells an old house because it’s in great shape.

We are planning in the next five-ten years to make our 2 car garage into our family room/office-or-spare-room-if-one-of-the-inlaws-has-to-move-in-with-us. Since the garage is already drywalled, we will have to wall up the doors, carpet and heat it. The hardest part will be relocating all the builders crapola, tools and lawn equipment elsewhere. ( Like the pole barn that is my husbands wet dream if we ever win the lottery.)

If any of you are home shopping out there:

Here are a few hints that I learned from my mom who moved something like 15 or 16 times during the first 16 years of marriage due to job transfers. ( Or as I refer to them as, " The witness protection years.) My mom often had to either sell the house they were in or drive ahead with four kids ( I wasn’t around yet.)and live in a hotel and buy a house on her own while Dad stayed back and finished a job. In the last 35 years she’s moved only three times, but has helped many friends and family save a truckload on costs of a house with her eye and expertise.

  1. If any room is wallpapered ( regardless of how new/old it looks, ask for a discount of some sorts or have the seller remove it to consider the sale. ( Germans for some reason LOVE TO WALL PAPER and my mom’s neighbor, a german, has every room in her house papered. The house was on the market over a year and my mom told her flat out, strip all the paper down and paint it neutral and you will sell it within a month.
    The neighbor did ( it took months ) and it sold within a week. ( My mother in law has about 20 layers of paper on her walls. UGH. I pity the next person who buys their house.)Rmember this one phrase: Wallpaper is evil.

  2. Always check the ceiling of closets for water marks. When someone paints a room, they never do closets and any rain from a leaky roof or plumbing damage is pretty apparent.

  3. Knock on all the outside walls to see if they are insulated. Older homes in tight communities often are not completely insulated. ( I did this at a friend’s would be house and discovered an outside wall was not insulated and it brought down the price nicely.)

  4. Turn on all the faucets and flush the toilets to check the water pressure.

5)If appliances are included, check to see that they are operational.

  1. Talk to the neighbors. Stroll around the neighborhood.

  2. Always ask how old the roof/furnance/water heater/softner/septic feild are. Get verification if you can. Check if warranties are covered from one owner to the next.

  3. Ask when the chimney was last cleaned, if ever.

  4. Ask how long the sellers have lived there, any recent renovations ( this will usually be volunteered) and why are they moving. ( Most of this will be a given by a good real estate agent.)

That’s all I can think of at the moment.

I would heartily suggest that you homeowners dig in and do a lot of this work yourself.

I grew up without a father, and as a result was totally useless with tools. I’d never so much as used a power saw in my life until we bought our house. Since then, I have learned to do my own plumbing, electrical, etc. I did the complete electrical and finish work when we built our rec room in our basement, I’ve installed a garburetor, put in an underground sprinkler system, etc.

You know what? It’s not that hard! Get a good book on whatever thing you want to do (plumbing, roofing, whatever), and dig in. If you can follow instructions, you can do it.

And the sense of satisfaction you’ll have in your house will add greatly to your enjoyment of living there. You’ll also save a whack of money.