Thursday, February 23, 2006

What To Do

I had a break at work and was sitting here obsessing about everything that needs to be done to the house before we move in IN 3 WEEKS. I thought that you might like to see our To Do List. Now look at what we've actually done this week (it's the stuff in red). Yep. And mind you this is only the list for the bathroom. This doesn't even include (us) sanding and refinishing ALL of our hardwood floors, which are in every room but the kitchen and bathroom. D.I.Why? indeed. Oy.

10 Comments:

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous septic hammer said...

This website is bringing back v. familiar memories (specific too) that I succeeded in supressing through much alcohol and other illicit substances.

It looks like the website might be a good thing and could help with future projects - (exact same thing happened to me with the mailbox fiasco) - if I can be prodded I might remember some of my nightmare experiences, in hopes that yours are not so!

 
At 6:39 AM, Blogger freakgirl said...

Your list makes me tired.

Good luck.

 
At 7:30 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

I wish we had done it this way, postponing our move-in date further down so we could take care of more things before we moved our furniture. The photo of your house is so beautiful, so much character.

We've got a sloping floor in our office to fix (needs new subfloor), a kitchen to redo (I miss my dishwasher), a bathroom to do as well, and we still need baseboards and trim in a lot of places. Our bedroom and laundry room doors don't close...the list really goes on. We got rid of carpenter ants and rebuilt and reinsulated the wall they were living in (now the warmest room in the house!), and got rid of a horrible mould and damp problem in the partial basement. The biggest thing we need to do is replace the siding all around the house. We've run out of money so we're taking our time.

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger Emilie said...

Thanks so much Maggie! We're really fortunate that the timing worked out for us to have 2 months to get move in ready. The seller made us close at the beginning of Feb, but our mortgage broker was able to get our 1st mortgage payment pushed to April 1st. We are currently renting and our lease is up April 1st, so it worked out perfectly. If we hadn't bought exactly when we did, though, we wouldn't have had the luxury. There's no way we could have swung a rent and a mortgage in the same month.

If it makes you feel any better, our list of projects goes on and on as well. We're going to be at this for a few years at the very least. Our #1 expense when we move in is to install an HVAC system, which SUCKS when all you want is to make your house look cute. After that comes landscaping the front and back yard, building a big deck and fence for the dogs out back, taking the 1/2 bath in the master bedroom and making it a master bath, building benches for and adding a window to the breakfast nook, some kitchen work, and eventually completing the attic and the basement. These are the big projects, doesn't even include alllll of the little ones. Did I say a few years? We'll still be blogging about this house in 10 years!!

 
At 9:01 AM, Blogger Emilie said...

oh, and we have a sloping floor too, where the master bath will be. It is an addition that was built on after the house was built. It has a hollow cement base that they built right into the GA red clay, so it has been settling (or rather sinking) for the last 30 years. Gotta love that!

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

Here's a question: Your house has lath and plaster walls, I see from the pictures. When you rebuild walls, how are you going to do it? Drywall?

Our house is a renovated summer cottage, built about 50 years ago, certainly when they may still have been using lath and plaster. But it was renovated from an open, 2-room cottage (we think) to a 3br house, including the addition, and all the walls now consist of drywall. Easy to fix and replace.

Another question: when you do the HVAC, I expect you're going to have to knock down walls left and right to get the ductwork installed. My husband's aunt lives in an old bungalow with lath and plaster, and the house is on electric baseboard heating. She is trying to figure out of the cost of installing a furnace and ductwork plus the cost of fixing up torn-up walls and flooring is worth the savings of gas heating. The question is, how are you planning to install the HVAC? Waiting to paint and decorate until afterward? Or at least having someone come in and plot it out, so you will know what you can paint and what should wait, since it may be chopped into?

One of the draws for us for this house was that a furnace had already been installed a few years prior, ducts and all. Also, new roof and the foundation is solid, with a sufficient crawl space.

Right now we're kind of on the fence about the bigger jobs that need to be done. Our home isn't as cute and doesn't have the character of yours, and it's not the kind of house I'd want to scrimp and save $$ in order to install hardwood floors, if you know what I mean. We want to make it cute and in a condition to sell fast, should we suddenly be able to afford a bigger or nicer house.

I'm all about the character and not afraid of hard work, so I think we want to save the really good stuff for the house we think we'll spend the rest of our lives in. This one is nice, we love it, but it's not my dream home, whatever that may be.

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger Emilie said...

We still don't know EXACTLY what we're dealing with, with a lot of things in the house. It was built in 1930, and did originally have lath and plaster walls. We purchased the house as a foreclosure that was in mid-renovation, which is why some work is done (like the kitchen) and some isn't. Some of the walls are still lath and plaster, like the ones we took down in the bathroom. But we think some are also drywall, and we're not sure exactly what rooms are what yet. We did a little research about replacing the walls with lath and plaster, and Chuck found some metal lath that was supposed to be a vast improvement over its wood ancestor. However, apparently plastering is a dying craft, and there are few work (wo)men who know how to do it. And all the DIY sites we read said DO NOT attempt to do it yourself, or you will make a big 'ole mess. So we chose drywall.

In regards to the HVAC, there is already duct work in place (which is VERY fortunate for us), so obviously it was updated at some point. There is still a huge heat return in the hallway, which would have been part of the old system. Our contractor buddy told us we should go ahead and update the ductwork, b/c the stuff we have is not properly insulated, and it will cost as much to insulate as it would to replace. The old mammoth furnace is still sitting in the basement, and apparently it is totally shot. When I get a sec I'll post a picture I took of some writing we found on it. It's pretty funny.

I think it's soooo wise that you're not over-improving your house. We've been really trying to keep ourselves in check when making decisions. It's just so tempting to want to make it exactly as you want it. Chuck and I are in love with this house, (at least right now we are, ask us in a couple of months) and we hope that it will be our 7 to 10 year house, in which case we'll be able to do most of what we want to it. We bought in a neighborhood that is "up and coming", so that is a good thing too. There is an almost identical house on the lot next to ours that a guy bought and rehabbed to flip, so we're really curious to see what that will sell for. And we're saving the attic for last, in case it just doesn't make sense to do...

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger Willie B said...

What a handful. Just keep your vision short and look at the just the current project in front of you. The BIG picture can seem too big sometimes so the smaller view will leave you feeling better at the end of the day when you can tell you have done something. I will check back to follow along. Brad

 
At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Schadenfreude said...

Gotta agree with Willie B. "Small, achievable steps" was our mantra on anything my wife and I did in our 100+ year old home to make the insurmountable seem less so. We also soon adopted the phrase "well, it looks better than it did before" in short order.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

I think so too about the lath and plaster. Too hard. I can drywall and I'm pretty good with a compound knife and trowel, but not "plaster" good. Plus, drywall is easier to repair when moving pictures and patching accidental holes.

As far as overimproving our house, if we loved it that much and thought we'd live here forever, we'd do everything to it. As it stands, that's not the case. It's a 1000 sq ft 3br house in Neighbourhood X, and even if it had gold floors and marble walls, it would still be a 1000 sq ft house in Neighbourhood X...there is a ceiling on what the house would be worth, no matter how much we improved it, in terms of resale value.

Love finding written stuff! We found an old makeshift bookcase written on all over with magic marker: "Poldi, don't touch my books! Love Ursula." And of course, there was this:
http://www.click-clack.net/previously/2005/10/30/socks-raglans-and-bert/

 

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