It’s springtime! And spring is synonomous with home improvement, isn’t it? It is around here anyway. The natives are restless from a long winter and anxious to get some things done now that we are beginning to thaw from an arduous winter.
Our house was built in 1977, and while it possesses many fine qualities, there are some issues to be reckoned with. In our nearly twenty years of marriage, we’ve only owned new houses up until three years ago. We’ve done more interior painting and installing wood floors, tile and lighting fixtures than we’d care to reflect on in years’ past, but a house this old has a mind of its own! Take, for instance, a simple thing like our doorbell decided to give up the ghost. My dear husband attempted to repair it, but noticed an inner part had been damaged beyond repair. So, we ordered a new one ($19.99) on Amazon. The configuration of the new receptor is much smaller now, so we would have to try to match up the old wallpaper border if we hung it where the previous one was. But then my husband had the bright idea to put the old one back on the wall for now (no wallpaper repairs necessary) and we’ll hang the small one in an inconspicuous place. I thought that was sheer genius!
Shortly after moving in, our kitchen drawers began literally falling apart. I’m pretty sure they’re the original cabinets and drawers and are made of some hideous pressed wood on the sides, which is warping by the minute. Right now we have two drawers out of commission. The cabinet/granite guy came out again yesterday to re-measure, and if he and my Negotiator Husband agree on the price (which I think they will), we will have a new and improved kitchen soon. Goodness knows, we need it. I’ll post pictures when and if it happens. We have a walk through kitchen, the smallest we’ve ever had, with virtually no pantry. We’ll be adding two upper cabinets, which will offer much needed additional space.
We have four bathrooms. Yes, 1, 2, 3, 4! That’s a lot of bathrooms, considering I grew up in a humble home, where at one point, 7 people shared one bathroom! And, somehow, we survived! But, I digress… Four bathrooms. My daughter’s toilet has never behaved properly since we’ve lived here. My husband has gone to specialty plumbing stores in an attempt to purchase parts and, invariably, it doesn’t work out. He’s pretty handy too. This toilet is blue and definitely circa 1977 . We’ve wanted to replace it but have held off. Our first quote was over $400 for a plumber to replace it. I called another plumbing company last week to get a quote and they said $618! Can you imagine? For one stinkin’ toilet?! I hope it was gold plated at least!
Then last weekend, the day before my sister was due to visit, the upstairs hall toilet decided it needed some attention and repairs. This one is mustard yellow. Definitely 1977. What was up with all the colors back then?! That bathroom needs a complete remodel, but that’s another matter for another day! And then we have the master toilet, which is white, but older, although not quite 1977. It sits very low as a previous owner had polio and must’ve been made to accommodate him. It’ll be good to replace it. The downstairs hall toilet is relatively new, so it’s fine.
Initially my husband and son ran to Home Depot yesterday to purchase a toilet valve kit, but then he got the idea just to replace them. Yep, all three! The Lord was truly with us, though. We got a multiple product discount, making each toilet $78, plus a break on the installation fee. So, a total of three toilets installed for $600!
They wanted to charge a haul away fee of $35 for each toilet, but my thrifty husband declined. (Yay for him!) His initial thought was to haul them to the landfill himself, but we may put them on Freecycle or ask a home improvement friend if he wants them. Then, our disposal cost is $0! So, we’re pretty thrilled about our overall deal!
It seems lately a number of things have gone on the blink around here! We just had our garage door repaired to a tune of $450, which was lowered from the initial quote of over $650! (thanks to my wonderful, negotiator husband!) Last week I discovered a leak under the kitchen sink. It’s only a slight leak, fortunately, but will no longer be an issue once we remodel soon. We’re getting an undermount sink with granite countertops. I’m so excited that I’ll have a sprayer hose that actually works! What a concept! 😉 Our current sprayer has never worked since we’ve lived here. Truly disappointing.
This Old House … Ya gotta love her! Our house has a lot of charm, really, it does. It just demonstrates the fact that houses require a lot of upkeep and constant care. I’m really surprised that the previous owners didn’t upgrade the upstairs’ bathrooms, but I think they rarely used the upstairs once their kids were grown. So, it wasn’t a focus. They did, however, do some updating on the main level, which is part of the charm that sold us. If we stay here long enough, the windows are next!
Our unspoken motto is: “We never pay full price. Ever.” No matter what the project is, we try to do it ourselves first. If a professional is required, then we comparison shop until we find the right price. The right price is the price we are willing to pay. Our budget dictates being as frugal as possible, especially since we are a one income family in a high cost of living area. We would never sink more money into an investment than we anticipate realizing in the future. That goes for any investment, particularly a house. It’s called wisdom. For example, if we didn’t think the kitchen was an ideal room to invest money in, we wouldn’t proceed. However, since we know that prospective homebuyers focus on the kitchen first and bathrooms second, those are worthy investments. We are always thinking in terms of resale.
Do you have home improvement projects in mind? If so, care to share?