Friday, October 7, 2011

Warning…Renos Ahead!

image  This is the first in a new series of posts that I plan on using to chronicle our attempts to renovate on a budget.  I am at the same time excited and dreading starting this process.

I’m no stranger to renovating, we’ve done this before.  In our last house, we spent the entire six years we owned it slowly renovating.  Now, I don’t regret doing it, we made a lot of money off our house when we sold, since we had done all the labour ourselves.  Buuuut this means I am not ignorant of how annoying and challenging it can be to live in an on-going construction zone.  I had no fronts on my kitchen cupboards for over a year ( yep, a whole year, really) last time.  And, I had a nine month old when we started, so you can imagine the mess!  Baden loved to pull everything out of the cupboards, and there was really no way to stop him.  So, to save my own sanity, I stopped trying.  I left all the dishes and pans where he last played with them, walked around them, and just washed them again as I needed to use them. 

When we moved, this house we moved to was finished.  I wanted it that way, it was our deal, see.  I made Shawn promise me that we would have a finished house, even if I hated every colour in the house, for five years.  After we moved in, we painted only the bedrooms and decided to ignore the green everywhere else.  And I mean literally EVERYWHERE else.  This house was painted the same shade of hideous green in every single room, except the guest room.  Every piece of trim, every window frame, even the doors are painted the same green.  I think they bought one giant can, then mixed it with white in some places so they could have three different shades of the same green.  They painted everything that would hold paint.  The door bell cover, the thermostat, the towel rails in the bathroom… all GREEN!  You know that shade of green that went with peach in the ‘80s… kind of a “dusty” green… well that’s the one!  I used to like green, and maybe it’s not the worst shade ever ( could be lime green afterall) but the overwhelming reality of the same green everywhere is what makes me hate this colour. 

And the lino! What was she thinking??  I know for a fact they had three kids when they chose to install it.  Every lino in the house is the same… WHITE!  No pattern, no squares, just all white, in the kitchen, in the PORCH and even both bathrooms.  I seriously hate this floor, I have cursed it since we moved in.  Not only does it show every single speck of anything, the finish is all worn off so it always looks gross.  Their grandson, over for a visit one day, decided to attack the floor by pounding a butter knife into it… so there are tiny stab marks all over which collect dirt.  Where Shawn had to peel back a bit to install the dishwasher, it cracked… another spot collecting dirt!  Recently, Shawn set down an oven rack he believed to be cool on it… but it was hot and melted into it.

Despite our agreement, the reality is that after three years of living in this house with (now) four kids and the dog ( up until this month, she’s gone now), the house is showing signs of wear.  We took out two built in bookshelves to wall mount a tv and never finished the drywall.  A piece of baseboard was under a leaky window and needed to be removed.  The wiring for said tv is draped across the curtain rods ( yes Shawn does work for the cable company but the last thing he wants to do when he gets home is more wiring!).  I cracked the moulding when I took it off to paint our room.  We ripped out the carpet because of the dog ( a whole other post about that here ).  We scabbed together the railing after Lily fell through it.  Water leaked into the downstairs bathroom ceiling and made a paint bubble.  The upstairs bathroom needs a total overhaul. The porch addition wasn’t done properly and doesn’t have heat, so it freezes in the winter. This is only a partial list, but you get the idea.  It’s just time to stop ignoring the list.

So, as much as there are difficulties to living in a reno, we’ve decided it’s time to start.  It means that we may not be making as much progress on paying down the debt, because some funds will have to be allocated to the renos.  We’ll have to do it slowly, piece by piece to avoid going into any more debt.  The good thing about having done this before is that I know the end result will be worth it.

We’re starting in our kitchen.  It’s the room that annoys us the most, and now that we are homeschooling we are in it even more.  It’s not large, so we have to make the best use of space that we can.  So far, here is our plan:

#1: REPLACE LINO!!!! : Because it will make me so much happier, I placed this at the top priority.  Funds are going to this first.

#2: Build banquette seating around table.  We only own five chairs.  We bought the kids some really cool adjustable chairs from Stokke, but they are expensive and we don’t want to invest in another one.  However, we now have 6 people in our family… and Bremen needs to start eating soon.  The Stokke chairs can be made into a high chair, but that would leave someone without one.  For the same cost as one chair, Shawn can build the entire bench.  We decided on the bench, and it will include storage for things like our hot tub towels ( door to hot tub is beside table area) and homeschool supplies.  I am already gathering materials for this project and plan a post on it by itself when we reach that stage.

#3: Install pocket door at the end of the hallway where it meets the kitchen.  This will cut down on noise when kids are sleeping, and let us visit with company in the kitchen more often.  The downside is, we need to remove all the drywall off one wall to install it.  We’ll have to repaint almost the whole house to finish the work.  We were originally going to attempt this project on it’s own but realized we couldn’t until we were ready to start a full out reno.

#4: Repaint.

#5: Refinish kitchen hutch and cupboards.  This project scares me the most, since I remember all too well living without cupboard fronts last time.  I can’t afford to replace them though, so we are just going to have to fix them up.  At least they are oak and so a great starting point!

#6: New Countertops ( new sink and taps at this stage).  The counter was peeling and separating when we moved in.  The previous owners apparently did not know what a cutting board was for, and the entire counter top is marked with years of knife cuts.  It’s lifting at both corners ( it’s a U-shaped counter) where they seamed the top.  Very gross.  Then, I added my own mark to it when I accidentally set a mini torch on top of it.  I thought it had an automatic off , but it didn’t and it burned a hole through the back.   That is a whole other story though…

That about sums up my plan for the kitchen.  Right now, I have money set aside for the floor and the bench.  We already have the supplies for the door, bought when we first started thinking about that project.  Hopefully I will be able to squeeze enough out of my money for paint too.  That way the kitchen will feel mostly finished as we save for the counter tops!

I’m scared and excited all at the same time!!

1 comment:

  1. I hope the renos go by very fast and without too much extra hassle, time and money.

    I wanted to let you know that I have given you the Versatile Blogger Award.



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