Sunday, July 22, 2007

Home Improvements list

We've been working on our house since we bought it over 7 years ago. It wasn't in bad shape; it was just built in the '70's and hadn't been updated, ever. So far, we've:

  • completely gutted the basement and added a dual-fuel furnace (I think it's the Eagle II), with all the associated duct work and vents and air intakes all over the house--there was just electric baseboard heat everywhere--and enclosed the furnace room to keep the noise down (if you're wondering, the furnace burns wood and liquid propane)
  • torn out all the dark, dark brown wood paneling that was everywhere
  • built our master bedroom down there--it's a walk-out and really sunny
  • built a master bath, and added a window to it
  • replaced all the windows that were already there with ones that worked :)
  • redone the half bath that was down there
  • moved the laundry room to what was the tool room--kind of an add-on room made of cinder block (the roof of it is our deck from the dining room upstairs), and painted it a lovely light orange, reminiscent of an orange pushup--it's also a mudroom, and holds the extra fridge (where the dozen eggs per day are kept, and Nute's raw food), and has a couple base cabinets to store extra food supplies
  • replaced the orange shag carpet with a nice Berber in the new basement living room
  • created an office where there used to be a wet bar, with a nice window that I can watch the chickens and other birds from
  • torn out the walls on either side of the stairs to make the room look less divided and increase light
  • created a nook under the stairs where Eddie now has a small computer desk for working at home, when not at his office

Yet to be added is a door to the backyard from the living room, and some painting. Oh yeah, and the stairs still need handrails. We also might put an enclosed entry when the new door goes in. Eddie's going to make a built-in bookcase to store DVDs and books and CDs in the living room on the wall where the stairs are, on the other side of the computer nook.

Up on the first floor we've done a lot of work also, including having:

  • replaced the front door, and more recently added a nice storm/screen door
  • remodeled the whole kitchen and dining area--new cabinets, appliances, even the ceiling was replaced
  • removed the door that lead to the basement
  • turned the wall in the kitchen that led to the stairs into a half-wall, to allow more light to go downstairs, and give the kitchen a more open look
  • added insulation to the attic
  • put up new gutters
  • added a/c!
  • replaced the dark brown wood paneling in the foyer and painted it a cheery yellow
  • removed the strange vertical wooden boards that were meant as a divider of some sort between the foyer and the living room (now the kids' rec room) and made a wall there instead
  • replaced the sliding glass door from the dining area to the back porch
  • started replacing all the first floor windows with new-construction windows--two double windows, two singles, and a huge picture window with attached side windows that open are done so far
  • started replacing the once-yellow aluminum siding with vinyl--again, the front of the house is done because it was an easy place to start with
  • gutted Emily's bathroom (she has the old master bedroom and tiny master bath original to the house), which started out as a small remodeling project to find and fix a leak in the shower stall area, put up new sheetrock (awful green wallpaper in there), and update her sink, which led to our discovering mold behind the shower wall tile, requiring us to pause and reflect on just what on earth it is we're doing, and put in a small window

We still have three windows to replace, and we'll need some kind of scaffolding or walk boards on jacks to do them and the siding. We've had great luck using freecycle http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Freecycle_Charlottesville/ to get rid of our old wood frame windows. Someone on that list is building a workshop for himself and can use all of them as we take them out. We've (really Eddie) done all the work ourselves, with the exception of the attic insulation and the drywall finishing in the basement living room. Thus the 7-plus years it has taken us!

We also:

  • built a workshop for Eddie that's 14 by 14 and still doesn't seem large enough for him!
  • built a chicken coop that's got electricity (ok, by extension cord at the moment, but someday it will be a buried line) and gutters leading to a rain barrel that waters the chickens automatically
  • fenced a big yard for them that is covered with bird netting to keep out the predators (mostly). They do roam during the day, but if we have to go somewhere for a couple days it's good to keep them enclosed.

I'll add pictures when I have more time!

Update: I've added links to some of the projects now so I thought I'd re-post this as a new article.

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