Home reno/redecorating support group

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
I am in need of encouragement and advice.

I have an older home which needs a lot of work. Some stuff my husband and I can do ourselves, but he prefers to go fishing instead, and I prefer to flip through home magazines and add to my Pinterest decorating boards instead of actually working. I get all gung-ho over starting a project and then life gets in the way and so many things never get completed. :wall:

Other projects require contractors, and I hate the whole process of scheduling them, explaining what I want, getting estimates that make me freak out, :scream: and find it all to be so tedious. :blah:

So, I am hoping that maybe others here on FSU also are in the midst of, or contemplating doing any home projects, and can help kick my butt to get going and get stuff done. :kickass:

Would anyone like to share their home reno adventures?
 
Messages
7,925
We have kitchen renos in our future :scream: I hate my kitchen so it's exciting but it's also daunting. We're going to hire someone to do the majority of the work, mostly so it gets done in a reasonable amount of time. My problem is I'm really not sure what I want. Also, we're going to change the flooring that runs into the entryway and I know when I do that I'm going to want to change the flooring in the living room and dining room. I can't afford it until next winter but even just paring down what I actually want and what I want to put money into is stressing me out.
 

flyingsit

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,243
Well, we just had somebody in to repair drywall and paint a lot of the house, and we're getting some carpet replaced in two weeks, but it's all to get the house sold.

Three years ago we had the kitchen redone entirely, and the year before that, the master bath. The bathroom was our first major project, and for that we hired a full-service design and build company, although we did most of the designing ourselves ;). The advantage of the full-service company was that they ordered all the materials and didn't start work until they had everything in hand so as to avoid any delays during construction. There was also a lead carpenter who was here every day and oversaw the plumber, electrician, tile guy, etc. so it was really easy for us.

When we did the kitchen, we'd already been through the bathroom project so we knew what to expect. That time we hired a contractor (who'd done our neighbor's kitchen) but we took care of ordering everything, etc. He told us when he needed to have the cabinets here, when the countertops needed to be ready, etc. and it was up to us to meet the deadlines.

Things we've done ourselves are minor, like replacing bathroom vanities and faucets...

At the moment we're having a new house built almost 2000 miles away. All of the design is done, now we're just finalizing the electrical plan, and next up is working with the landscape designer.
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
We have been in our current home for 11 years. A kitchen reno was supposed to have been done about 10 years ago. I have know exactly what I wanted for all those years. I priced everything out pretty carefully and came up with a budget of $12-15k. My husband says, that's not enough, I have $20k set aside for you. ( :eek: Hello? Who's husband does that??)

Anyways, we finally had a contractor in last year, who did not listen to anything I said, and had his own grandiose plans of how to make my kitchen into a magazine centerfold and came in with a $40k estimate. No way in hell!

So, that frustrated me and I haven't done anything about the kitchen since. And it's a horrible, ugly old lady kitchen. I hate it, but I hate dealing with contractors even more!
 
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Spun Silver

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,604
We have an old home and have spent a LOT of money renovating it including a gut rehab of the kitchen and a brand-new wraparound porch. My big mistakes on the kitchen were hiring a bad contractor (if I had read between the lines of what his references told me it would have been smart) and not getting professional design advice. A kitchen (or any other gut rehab or building from scratch) is a very costly renovation so it is best not to make expensive mistakes. Oh, and putting in white cabinets. Maybe it is the particular cabinets I got, but they don't clean well and can't be touched up because you can't get the same paint and they were dipped, not painted, so the touchups would show anyway. I got badly burned on those cabinets.

Overall, my big mistake was spending too much money. At one point the contractor who did the porch told me we should be careful about how much we spent on renovations because the house might not be worth it. I didn't understand then, but recently my husband had a severe brain injury and we don't know if he will ever be able to work again. I recently got an estimate on our home from a realtor because if he cannot go back to work, we will need to downsize. If we sold now, we would lose at least 75% of what we put into improving the house. It's crazy. There are websites (like Consumer Reports, for one) that give you basic ideas of how much you can expect to get back from specific renovations -- I'm not sure it is ever 100%. I guess the moral of the story is that if you are going to have to spend a lot fixing up your home, be sure to get the home at a low price. We thought we did, but now I can see we overpaid.
 

Spun Silver

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,604
We have kitchen renos in our future :scream: I hate my kitchen so it's exciting but it's also daunting. We're going to hire someone to do the majority of the work, mostly so it gets done in a reasonable amount of time. My problem is I'm really not sure what I want. Also, we're going to change the flooring that runs into the entryway and I know when I do that I'm going to want to change the flooring in the living room and dining room. I can't afford it until next winter but even just paring down what I actually want and what I want to put money into is stressing me out.
Starting before I knew what I wanted led me into a lot of cost overruns and tangles with my nasty contractor. It's a good idea to research floor, fixture, counter and cabinet options before you start or hire a professional kitchen designer. There are websites like Houzz.com that can give you loads of ideas, and then more specific sites for the different parts of the kitchen. We got our countertops from this local place which helps you price different options online.
http://www.marble.com
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
Spun Silver, I always keep house value in mind. We have a modest house in a very nice, but lower middle class area. When the contractor gave us a $40k estimate for our kitchen, I knew it was totally wrong for our house. Our entire house is probably only worth about $150k.
I am not a fancy person, and I don't want fancy, high end anything in my house. (Except I have my heart set on a quartz countertop!)
I have no patience with contractors who come in and have their own agenda and think they can just sell you on all the latest trends.
 

Debbie S

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,243
I had that experience with contractors (and a landscaper) in my old house (sold last July). It was amazing how different the plans and estimates varied. I got a windows estimate for 10K and a couple others in the 5-6K range. I had something like a 3K proposal from a landscaper whose plan would have made my yard look like a topiary garden...uh, no. Keep looking and interviewing. You'll eventually find someone who is on your wavelength and meets your price.
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
I have pretty clear ideas on what I want; I would never call in a contractor and say, what do you think I should do? I hate contractors that just assume that you are going to go along with whatever they suggest.
For my kitchen, I had a ton of pictures and told him right from the start that I was not interested in a glamour kitchen, and wanted a 1920's/1930's style that would suit the house. No trends, no glitz. I showed him Ikea cupboards, and the guy brings in a custom cabinet maker. so not impressed.
 

Rob

Beach Bum
Messages
14,835
Last summer we built a 2 story garage/workshop from scratch on our empty lot next to our beach house. This summer we are gutting our house, lifting it, and adding a second story. It is soooo much work, but my husband took/is taking 6 months off work for each project to be the general contractor. We are in the middle of site plans and permits, then I will be tasked with picking out stuff. Fortunately, we went through all the pricing/styles/colors on windows, doors, lighting, siding, trim, railings, electrical, etc. so all we have to do is go back to our vendors for more of what we got last year. I also remodeled 2 baths and a kitchen in our town house so I know which toilets, sinks, faucets, appliances I am getting. So I am down to choosing flooring, tile/counter colors/styles, bathtubs, lighting fixtures, paint colors, and special features like sliding doors vs. French doors, etc. but I have time for that. The big thing right now is HVAC - geothermal, ductless, solar, combo of all. Still working on that.
 

purple skates

Shadow Dancing
Messages
22,041
I am in need of encouragement and advice.

I have an older home which needs a lot of work. Some stuff my husband and I can do ourselves, but he prefers to go fishing instead, and I prefer to flip through home magazines and add to my Pinterest decorating boards instead of actually working. I get all gung-ho over starting a project and then life gets in the way and so many things never get completed. :wall:

Other projects require contractors, and I hate the whole process of scheduling them, explaining what I want, getting estimates that make me freak out, :scream: and find it all to be so tedious. :blah:
Are you sure you're not my sister? :lol:

We have fire repairs in our near future. Right now the construction/disaster recovery company is wrangling with the insurance company. They know what we want, so hopefully they can get the $$ they need to do it all.
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
Your sister has a husband who goes fishing instead of refinishing the floors like he said he was going to do? :p
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
Hahaha!

So what exactly are you having done to your house, @purple skates? Does your insurance only allow for exact reconstruction, or do you have the opportunity to change some things around?
 

GarrAargHrumph

I can kill you with my brain
Messages
19,049
We bought our house 12 years ago, and it was a real fixer-upper. We've done all the work ourselves, except for a new roof on part of the house (roofing is NOT FUN.) I also used to work for a big-ole company making products for the DIY industry, as well as for contractors, so I know a lot of crap. If you have questions on DIY, or on things like flooring, etc., I may be able to help.
 

purple skates

Shadow Dancing
Messages
22,041
Hahaha!

So what exactly are you having done to your house, @purple skates? Does your insurance only allow for exact reconstruction, or do you have the opportunity to change some things around?
Well, think 100+ year old farm house where somewhere along the line, someone enclosed the back porch and turned it into a utility room. The fire damaged the corner and one side of the porch. The siding on the house predates us, and we've been there since 1992. It is aluminum.

The insurance company came out and looked at things and said they'd repair the fire damaged corner beams, replace the roof and door, and replace and repaint the siding to match the rest of the house. Except that there's a few problems with this. First, the rest of the siding isn't painted (although the adjuster claims it is), so I want them to replace the whole house since they have to match the existing to the rest, and replacing something that is no maintenance with something that has maintenance (by painting the two sides of the porch) is not acceptable. Second, the footing for the corner of the porch is a post and the post is totally rotted out. The porch is actually sitting on the cement steps, not on the footing. We could not see this because it was covered in aluminum siding.

So, we have what's called a "Code Upgrade Rider" in our insurance, which means the insurance company has to pay to bring any damaged part up to code. Which in our case should mean wrapping the house under the siding with moisture barrier then replacing the siding, and doing new footings for the porch which may require the removal and replacement of two walls (the third exterior wall and the interior wall are already on cement because of the entrance to the old Michigan basement). If the walls have to be replaced, then there would be rewiring to our electrical box, which I can guarantee is not to code because it also pre-dated us. So as you can see, this can get quite expensive.

If we get new siding, we'd have to pay for new gutters (since I wouldn't want them to replace the old ones) and I'd look into new upstairs windows.

The company I'm working with specialized in disaster recovery, so hopefully they can get as much insurance money as they can. They would benefit, because the agreement is that they get the contract to do the work. The interesting thing is that the insurance adjuster never mentioned anything about this Code Upgrade Rider when she came out, and I had originally talked to a contractor friend about doing the repairs. If he hadn't recommended that I call the building inspector about the footing, I may never have called the disaster recovery company - they're the ones who told me to ask the insurance company about the Code Upgrade Rider.
 
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LilJen

Reaching out with my hand sensitively
Messages
12,880
Heh, I'm always having ideas. . . have painted most of the house and replaced many faucets and two toilets (I highly recommend the Toto Drake. DOES NOT CLOG).

We're in a 20-year-old house and things are starting to fall apart and/or show signs of wear. Dh just happened to see a bird fly up into a fascia that was partially hidden by our porch--and discovered a big HOLE. No wonder I have been hearing scuttling noises while I work AND found a bird flying around in there (I work in an upstairs room and beside it is a big crawlspace; put a squirrel trap up there a while back but haven't gotten anything--went to check on it the other day and saw the bird. which fortunately found its way out by itself.)

We finally had the entryway/kitchen floor replaced--the vinyl was filthy and had lots of holes and dings. Of course, the floor looks amazing and makes everything else look grungy/old in comparison. I repainted all the trim but the kitchen and entryway really, really need a coat of paint. These are pretty much the only rooms in the house I haven't painted over the years. I did also replace the cheesy brass cabinet hardware--for free, since my credit card gave me bonus points and I got a Home Depot gift card & used that--with some nicer brushed nickel handles & drawer pulls.

I also have a TON of work to do in the garden, pretty much always. Usually I can only be out there for so long until I start snuffling.

And once we have recovered from the <cough> hugeamountsofmoney <cough> that I just sent out for federal & state taxes AND estimated taxes, we'll be replacing at least some carpet (don't see how we could do it all at once). It is NASTY, 20-year-old carpet. And much of it is forest green. Not a terrible color on its own but it makes everything look dreary and you can never find any dark object on it.
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
@LilJen, we still have 2 toilets and bathroom sinks that are original to our 1939 house. They are Art Deco style and I hope we never have to replace them!
The kitchen sink is also original, a big porcelain farmhouse style, that is really ugly and I will look into having it reglazed when we do the kitchen reno. My general rule of thumb is to save as much original stuff as possible, and only replace something if necessary. I freaked out when my husband had to replace the Art Deco bathtub and shower taps, as he could not find parts to repair them. :(

Does anyone here have open shelving instead of upper cabinets in their kitchen? I really like the look, but am skeptical that they may require more cleaning than I am willing to spend keeping them presentable. Pros? cons?
 
Messages
7,925
Does anyone here have open shelving instead of upper cabinets in their kitchen? I really like the look, but am skeptical that they may require more cleaning than I am willing to spend keeping them presentable. Pros? cons?
I love the look of them too, but am hesitant for the same reasons. They also only work if you're the kind of person who has organized cupboards. If you generally have things packed in haphazardly they are not for you.
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
Lol.....I am haphazard, (although like is mostly with like) and I am trying to be more disciplined, which is why I am considering the open shelving.
Decorating wise, I like my controlled chaos approach, but in the kitchen I feel things need to be more practical. I have very limited cupboard space, but would be putting the big drawer type units on the bottom, which seem to provide way more storage space. I am wondering if I can get by with at least partial shelves for the upper units.
Maybe cupboards on one side of the sink for not so attractive things, and open shelves on the other side for dishes? I also have a collection of jadeite and depression glass I would like to display.
 

antmanb

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,137
We bought our house 7 years ago. We stretched ourselves to buy it (95% mortgage approved and completed 6 months before the banks collapsed) because of the space we would get. The owners had extended the property extensively and while they had spent a lot of money on it in the early 1980s a lot of it looked very run-down and needed renovating. We were on a shoe-string budget so with the help (and mates rates prices) of a friend who is a builder we managed to rip out both bathrooms and the kitchen and put in something we liked (but not loved) for about £7,000 in total. We were totally sensible and cut every "luxury" item we might have wanted (no spotlights in the kitchen, no soft close cupboards or drawers, tiling only where it was absolutely necessary, kept the original kitchen floor tiles and bought cheap imitation slate tiles for the bathrooms) with the exception of solid oak work surfaces in the kitchen. We also had all of the work done before we moved in to the house.

7 years in, the shoe-string make-do has served us well but I'm itching to get the kitchen and one of the bathrooms done to the spec we would actually like to have (fully tiled from floor to ceiling for a start!). Having used those two rooms for 7 years we know exactly what we want and how we would like to use the space and set things out, much better than we ever did when we first bought the house and were just happy to have so much more space.

But the thought of having to have the contractors in and sorting all of it while we also live there is just :eek: :yikes: Our builder friend emigrated a couple of years after he did the original work so is no longer available and I'm always wary of finding the right people for the job.

Also I would have to give up holidays to save for this and i'm not sure I'm ready to do that yet :lol:
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger (she/her)
Staff member
Messages
36,834
there is a big plumbing repipe project going on in my building, and I'm taking the opportunity to have some minor upgrades done to my bathroom...but I think this will lead to more upgrades, as my bathroom is partially original and partially remodeled in the '80s (ugh). I will be happy to have a new toilet, as I've replaced everything on the one I have that's replaceable without getting a whole new bowl :lol:

As for cabinets - when I moved into this apartment, I removed half of the cabinets in the kitchen because it's a narrow kitchn and full cabinetry on both sides made it feel exrtremely claustrophobic. I also had airs about putting a window in the wall between the kitchen and living room. Now that I've been here a long time, storage is a huge issue, so I need to utilize that blank wall better, but I'm thinking open shelving. I am less concerned about how it looks than most people, but it needs to be functional - these shelves would be for stuff I use often.
 

antmanb

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,137
But, do you have open shelves, @antmanb?
No chance at all! I'm far too haphazard in my placement of things in the cupboards so it would look a total mess. Plus dusting and cleaning....I'd rather it all be behind a door and then clean it out when someone holds a gun to my head as often as necessary.
 

vesperholly

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,780
Does anyone here have open shelving instead of upper cabinets in their kitchen? I really like the look, but am skeptical that they may require more cleaning than I am willing to spend keeping them presentable. Pros? cons?
Don't do it! I was enamored of open storage when I moved into my condo. I didn't quite go as far as kitchen shelving, but I bought ladder shelves for my living room instead of a cabinet-style entertainment center. They're gorgeous and collect SO MUCH DUST. Plus since there's a lot of stuff on them, it's a giant PITA to move everything and clean. Sometimes I'd rather not look at all the things - visual clutter. I ended up buying boxes from IKEA to put on the bottom shelves for a more closed look.

If you have plenty of storage in your kitchen and would use these shelves for minimal amounts of items, or things you can keep visually attractive, go for it. Otherwise shelves IMO just look messy.
 

quartz

almost, but not quite
Messages
13,928
I have this weekend off and the plan is to not leave my house. (other than a quick run for a few groceries and wine! :nopryde:)
I am going to start spring cleaning and hopefully that will reinforce my need to call some contracters to get some more kitchen estimates.
 

flyingsit

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,243
I just scheduled the pre-drywall walk through on our new house for May 18. Which means that all of the framing, HVAC, electrical and plumbing rough-ins will be done then! So, off to Denver again next month. I'll have a lot of other things to try to fit in: meet with the landscape designer, see if I can go pick the slabs for our kitchen counters (they're quartz, so it's not CRITICAL like with granite), and try to find a furnished apartment to rent for July and August.
 

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