Author Topic: The home renovation thread  (Read 768 times)

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Julian

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The home renovation thread
« on: June 06, 2013, 07:22:12 PM »
We've had threads on household disasters, and weird things seen while house-hunting, so this is a bit of a spin-off, I suppose.

So this is a thread to tell or show what you've done, what you would like to do, what worked, what didn't, what have you learned, what would you do differently.

As a background, I bought Chez Backwater about 4 years ago.  It is a removal house - an old farmhouse or two that has been moved to the site from where it/they originally were built.  I suspect it was two houses because it's quite large and had a very unusual layout when I bought it.

The house has great 'bones' - solid foundation, high ceilings, big rooms, hardwood flooring, and incredibly large structural timbers.  It's weatherboard with a tin roof, par for this area.  But good deity, it was in a state when I bought it.  Poor electrics, worn (to the point of threadbare and holed) carpet, a damp problem from leaking appliances, an eyeball searing colour scheme, and that wacky layout.  The kitchen was minute, but it was in the corner of a very large room, hemmed in by a ? mudroom.  Two tiny cupboards and a dangerous looking stove.  The bathroom was a nook in the wall, just a tub with shower.  The toilet looked like a bowling alley, it was so long.  And you had to walk through the 'bathroom' to get to the toilet. 

There were three doors to the front deck, and one to the back veranda, but the back veranda had no exit.  The wallpaper that was in place was torn, partially stripped, and outdated.  The light fittings that worked were in places hanging by wires, and looked very dangerous.  Many windows were cracked or broken, there were holes in nearly every wall (usually behind doors - looked like the doors had swung and the knobs crashed into the drywall), and when I went to strip wallpaper in the master bedroom I found the original 'drywall' was actually lathe and horsehair plaster, which was starting to rot.

Before pix - https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseBefore

I hired a builder to make the structural changes, which were to close up two doors on the front deck, add a set of stairs to the rear veranda, demolish the mud room, open the toilet into the laundry behind it to create a new bathroom, close off the door to the laundry (which backed onto the mudroom and kitchen area), re-drywall two of the three bedrooms and install the new bathroom suite and laundry tub.  An electrician repaired and replaced the wiring, and installed all new light fittings throughout, and bless him, he helped me lift the bench-top onto the kitchen cupboards when I couldn't lift it alone.  He also fitted the kitchen appliances and the light panels under the kitchen overhead cupboards.  I also had one of the wood heaters replaced.

I did all the internal painting, stripped all the original floor coverings, tiled the bathroom, installed the new kitchen and tiled the splash back.  I've also partially reinstalled the deck from when the builder removed some of the wood to install gas pipes.  I've also polished one room's floorboards, and still have all the rest to do.

In the past 12 months I've built a three-car garage, had the driveway graded and resurfaced, dog-proofed the fence, replaced the old potbelly stove in the kitchen with another wood heater, installed an antenna for the TVs and had wiring put in for the living room and two largest bedrooms, and had solar panels installed.  Oh, and installed window screens, screen doors and cat/dog flaps, and put in an air conditioner.  And had all the broken glass replaced.  Phew... 

I still need to finally polish the floors (the house is fully furnished now, so it's going to be a room by room job and I'm dreading it) and get the outside repainted.  I should also replace or reinforce the door locks - they're really old fashioned and not that secure, and the deadbolt in the back door I don't even have a key for!  I need to strip and repair the windows - many are painted shut.  I also need to draft-proof around the window and door frames. 

So while it isn't a palace, it's a home.  Messy, comfortable, lived in and with a bit more work to do.

What worked - the corner spa tub with two shower heads - one fixed, one hand held.  The glass bifold screens fold back totally when taking a bath, and despite a gap between them, there's little splash onto the floor.

The kitchen - it's a huge open space now, with modern appliances and a shiny new wood heater.  There's room for a dining table and chairs for 6 - usually it's against the wall, but I do pull it out when guests arrive.  There is space also for my old-fashioned dresser with the collection of pretty glass and china, and a second fridge and deep freezer.

The lounge room and bedrooms - they're welcome, bright and comfortable.  The office - second living area - which is enormous.  I have an enormous computer desk, my sewing cabinet, book shelves and a giant wall unit with my coloured glass collection. 

What hasn't worked so well - probably my tiling efforts!  The tiles look great and are in place, but the grout has crumbled - note to self, don't grout when it's the hottest day of the year.  I've got to replace a couple of cracked tiles and regrout the bathroom and laundry floors.

I've learned to paint, to tile, to assemble and install a kitchen, basic repairs to walls, and floor polishing.  Not bad for an old gal! 

I need to take more pix - it's looking way different now!

So, Ehellions, what have you done or want to do on the home renovation front?

AnnaJane

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 11:17:28 PM »
Wow, we've not done nearly as much to our house! It was pretty run down, so we had to redo the plumbing and add appliances before it was livable. The bathroom needed the moldy carpet (yes, really) ripped up and a total remodel done. Other than that, it needed cleaning, new paint everywhere, and window glass replaced. There's plenty of work still, but it will be a great looking Craftsman when it's all done.

mrs_deb

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 09:05:03 AM »
an eyeball searing colour scheme

Boy, you weren't kidding, were you?  :o

I've done very little major home renovation.  We built a gazebo in our yard to get married in, wired the new garage ourselves, painted that garage and the shed, and built a post and rail fence and a walkway/retaining wall.  Inside, we replaced a picture window with a bay window, put in a new sink and vanity in one bathroom, and tiled the floor in the laundry area.

I'd like to replace the sink, vanity, and floor in the other bathroom; this year we're painting the house.

Julian, I would LOVE to see new pictures!

Julian

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 08:05:52 PM »
Mrs_Deb, I can at least link some 'work in progress' photos.

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseFirstUpdate?authkey=Gv1sRgCJeigaiTivyqRw

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseSecondUpdate

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseThirdUpdate02?authkey=Gv1sRgCI3poNmpj9_gRw

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseFourthUpdate

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseFifthUpdate

Since then I've done the final bedroom (it was the storage room for all the 'got to do that soon' stuff, and lots more.  Actually, it's been a bit of a shock, looking back on the old pix to see how far it's come.

siamesecat2965

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 08:37:10 PM »
Mrs_Deb, I can at least link some 'work in progress' photos.

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseFirstUpdate?authkey=Gv1sRgCJeigaiTivyqRw

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseSecondUpdate

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseThirdUpdate02?authkey=Gv1sRgCI3poNmpj9_gRw

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseFourthUpdate

https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MyHouseFifthUpdate

Since then I've done the final bedroom (it was the storage room for all the 'got to do that soon' stuff, and lots more.  Actually, it's been a bit of a shock, looking back on the old pix to see how far it's come.

Wow. what a lot of work you've put into it! I love the view too....

mrs_deb

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 09:00:19 PM »
Love that tub!  And the window treatments!

But...I've got to know what's up with that yellow door with the handle up around eye level!  Is that upside down, or normal for the age/type of door?


Library Dragon

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 10:33:45 PM »
We built our retirement home onto our house.  We added a master bedroom suite onto the first floor with wide hallways, walk in shower, etc.  We don't use the upstairs much, but when we have company they have multiple bedrooms and baths.  DSs rooms shared a Jack n Jill bathroom.  When FIL, BIL, SIL, their DS, his wife and son stayed we had plenty of room and privacy.  After staying at IL's house with 1 bathroom I didn't want anyone to worry about privacy.

We also renovated the kitchen about the same time.  I love my quartz counters.  They are great for rolling pastry, I can put a hot pan on the counter, and they never have to be resealed. 

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Sophia

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 10:56:52 PM »
We are in the middle of totally redoing our "new" house.  It was a pier-and-beam built in the 50's.  We left the roof, the exterior walls and the ceiling.  EVERYTHING else is being redone.  Eventually we will put on an addition to the house. 
First thing my husband did was to level the floors/foundation.  He works on the house from Friday lunch to Sunday very late.  That took a while and I eventually had to use a wifely veto and say "1/2" variance is fine.  STOP! 
We are putting pocket doors everywhere feasible. 
The exterior walls will have the sprayed in foam eventually. 
One feature I really think I will like is that the master closet and the laundry room will have a closet rod in common.  I hang up a lot of clothes wet, and then let them hang spaced out.  When they dry I can just shove them into the closet.  Yeah! 
DD's bathroom is long and skinny and one wall will be entirely Billy bookcase for storage. 
The Master bath we are designing for maximum clean-ability.  There will be one or two extra drains in the floor. A spray hose hanging from the ceiling, and tile everywhere.  (We won't do this bath until after we are moved in.)
We are still fighting about the kitchen cabinets.  (He thinks we have plenty  HA!)
One of the things that is taking a while is that we are reusing everything usable.  So, demolition required carefully pulling the boards one by one, rather than smashing entire walls down. 

One funny story.  DD (almost 3) hadn't seen the house for a while and DH showed her pictures.  She became upset and then later complained to me that "Daddy was tearing apart her house".  She also told my parents the same thing by phone. 

Julian

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2013, 01:52:33 AM »
Mrs_Deb - yes, the yellow door is the right way up, and all the handles are at that height.  It's typical for older houses here.

Some slightly more recent pix - https://picasaweb.google.com/jayendee/MoreRecentRenoPix  Since then I've done the kitchen splashback.  The furries are Molly, Suzi (dogs) and Morty, who, of course, hide when I want a photo of them but happily get in any other shot I take.   ;D

Sophia, I love the idea of the shared rod between laundry and closet.  Brilliant! 


EveLGenius

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Re: The home renovation thread
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 10:50:22 AM »
Our house isn't very old, but a contractor friend of ours once said, "Boy, they sure spared every expense, didn't they?"

We finished the basement ourselves a few years ago, and I think it looks really good.  It's a half-basement (the other half crawlspace), and while there was a plumbing spot for a toilet, that spot was located in the single least convenient spot available.  As in, you would have had to walk through the bathroom to get to any other room in the basement.  So, no plumbing in the basement, but now we have a furnace room (unfinished floor, walls done in pegboards and shelves, with a huge access point to the crawlspace), a large library, an under-stairs tack room (saddles, bridles, horse gear), and a man-cave/home office for DH.  We're very glad that we chose to use vinyl flooring, because this spring the weather was so bad that the basement flooded (water came in a window) twice, and we literally had no damage.  A fan in the crawlspace dried everything out.

This spring we spent our tax refund on upgrading the kitchen.  We got new countertops and new linoleum, and we're extremely happy with both.  Something I didn't know that I wish I had- when you put down new linoleum, you're not supposed to put anything heavy like furniture on it for 3 days, or it'll dent.  That meant that we had the kitchen in the living room for 3 days.  If I'd known that was coming, I could have arranged the appliances in a more convenient manner.

The next things on our to-do list are:
    The front steps.  They were installed incorrectly, and they're leaning.  I'd love to get them done this summer, but we're still trying to decide exactly what we want.
    The living room ceiling.  It's a huge vaulted ceiling, with popcorn texture on all walls.  The guys who installed it didn't mud properly, and now the tape is pulling/peeling from the joints.  It looks awful.  We were talking to our contractor friend, and he suggested that instead of going to the expense of pulling everything down, we just put a layer of very thin sheetrock over it all, and re-mud.  That's a good suggestion- saves over half the cost, because no demolition, and we don't have to try to match popcorn (which can't be done).
    The electrical wiring in the bedrooms.  DD's bedroom and the guest bedroom both have a ceiling fixture that's a lamp/fan combo.  They're not controlled by the switch on the wall; they use a set of pull-chains.  If you're an adult, that's not a problem, but short friends and children can't turn on the overheads.  We found a remote that could be installed right next to the switch, and tried to install it (DH grew up with an electrician, so he's confident of his skills).  That's when we discovered that the entire set of 2 bedrooms and a bath are on one in-line circuit.  We turned on the fan, and all of the lights in the other rooms started strobing and turned our house into a disco.  Sigh.  That's going to be a major rewiring job, involving attic access.  Double sigh.