Monday, December 3, 2012

Three Month Review

Just three months ago, we were getting ready to move in. We were still at my old bedroom in my parents house, all of our necessary stuff crammed in there with us; all of our less necessary stuff was crammed in a storage unit. Because I've been here every day, it seems like progress has been slow. Looking back at the pictures helps me realize that this has all happened pretty fast, especially considering I've done a lot of the work myself. I'm not bothered by working alone, as this has become my full time job. I have had help from family and friends, but only at their insistence. They usually appreciate being able to try out some home improvement project at our house before attempting it at theirs.

Again, I most often work without help because I see this as my job, and I will get paid for the work I do when we sell it. However, those renovating to improve the comfort of their home should never be without one thing: help. Sure, it can be done alone, but it sucks. The help of one person is great, three people is probably ideal. Even if there's just someone there to get tools and watch for unexpected issues, that's a great help. If you're not a bit manic (and even if you are) the extra effort required to lift, hold, assemble, and just plain do everything alone can quickly become exhausting. I will work feverishly to get something done, spending 14 hours a day for a few days, then upon completion realize that I am broken. I take a couple days off before the next project, but if I had a job to go back to the next day, it would be disastrous. At our last house, I remember trying to do projects while also working. I tried to paint the kitchen cabinets in two days, and naturally I barely finished and did a horrible job. They stayed like that as long as I was employed, because there was barely time to do them, let alone re-do them.

Anyways, here are some three month pictures from the house, along with a done/to do list. I'll take more official pictures after I clean up the house this week. No room is completely done, which is sort of depressing... but they are all getting close!

Kitchen/Family Room

Done: new appliances, new flooring, new light fixtures, renovated fireplace, new paint, new blinds and curtains, new vent covers
To Do: new countertops, wall art behind couch, paint cabinets, add new hardware, molding around island, caulk moulding, trim around fireplace, clean or replace fireplace spotlights, hang something over fireplace, add molding at door thresholds

Dining Room
Done: New flooring, new lighting, new paint, new blinds and curtains
To Do: reattach door molding, caulk molding

Living Room
Done: New flooring, new paint, new blinds and curtains, new thermostat
To Do: decorate bookshelf, add light switch, caulk molding

Stairs and Hallway
Done: new flooring, new paint, removed carpet, painted stairs, installed cabinets over laundry, new water heater, new lighting
To Do: Caulk molding, add design to stair risers, sand front lip of stairs, replace bathroom mirror, paint new light and mirror area, add quarter-round by front door

Upstairs Hall Bath
Done: new flooring, new lighting, new towel bars and toilet paper holders
To Do: paint ceiling and walls, fix shower, paint vanity, change vanity top (maybe), floor molding

Game Room
Done: new flooring, new paint, track shelving, new vent cover, mounted TV, new blinds and black-out curtain, new sconces
To Do: add regular curtains, possibly move in mini-fridge, add lights to closet

Guest Room/ Office
Done: new flooring, new paint, new vent cover, additional closet shelf, new blinds and curtains
To Do: organize closet and desk, hang wall art behind sofa

Master Bedroom
Done: new paint, new lighting, new flooring, new vent covers, blinds and curtains, headboard wall art
To Do: outlet covers, re-patch wall, hang art

Master Bathroom
Done: new lighting, new flooring, new vent cover, new blinds, new towel bars and toilet paper holder
To Do: molding, paint ceiling and walls, install storage above toilet, paint cabinets, new vanity top, add tile above sink, investigate possible sewer smell :(

The Slippery Slope

We intend to remodel this house for profit, but it is still our home in the meantime. Sometimes it's hard to separate what we want from what we should get, because we'll have to live with it until we sell. There are some bigger projects, fueled by Pinterest inspiration, that would be too much of an investment of time and money considering we will move soon. Even if we were staying, its hard to draw the line at what is jsut right and what is excessive. Even stranger, once we have gone over budget on something, there a feeling that we may as well just destroy the budget, because it's already broken. Of course, this is a slippery slope.

I've begun looking at everything as percentages instead of dollars. Though a light fixture may be only $20 over budget, if the original budget was $40, that's a 50% increase. Items as cheap as a couple bucks are still subject to this rule. By ignoring whether or not I think we have the extra money for it and sticking to how much the percentage increases, it's easier to stay on track and not justify unnecessary spending.

 I also have to make some sacrifices on what I think it perfect versus what will work. I'm not crazy about our bathroom floors, but they were way under budget and objectively look great. I may not have gotten them if we intended to stay, but they were perfect for updating. Though some of those touches or fancier finishes would be nice and might help sell the house, they are unlikely to increase its value. The common saying "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" has become our motto as we continue to finish renovations. As much as I would like built-ins next to the fireplace, a glass mosaic and steel tile backsplash in the kitchen and a completely new master bath, none of these things are necessary.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Time Out

Christmas is coming, so most of our renovation funds have gone to gifts lately. Being completely sick of cleaning and organizing, I've turned to completing some unfinished crafts.

I started this t-shirt blanket for my sister ages ago. It's much bigger than I thought it would be. I added bias tape to the edges, but don't like how it tuned out. I'm not sure if I'll buy different tape or just hem it.

I'm also making a T-shirt blanket for myself from all my GameStop T-shirts. I want to make one big enough to cover the Lovesac, but I don't think I have the space to properly construct something of that proportion. I took pictures of every shirt today so I could assemble the design on my computer. I'd prefer to lay it out by hand but I don't have a flat surface that big. Well, not without moving a lot of furniture. I laid a few out on the floor today just to see what they would look like as a blanket.

I made some pillow cases from fabric I had laying around. Aaron received a coffee gift basket that had a folded burlap sack as packaging, and I sewed that into pillows as well. The burlap was a bit unwieldy to sew. I just stuffed in a pillow that no longer matched our decor. The pillow on the left is identical to the one I stuffed into the burlap on the right. They tuned out better than I expected!

I've made quite a few duct tape wallets as well. I've made lots for friends, family, and for myself. I just make them for fun, but I get complements on them often. The typical style I make is pictured below. There's a slot for cash and a hidden pocket behind the three interior pockets on each side. I intend to sell some online sometime soon, probably on Etsy. I need to do a little more research and set up accounts to make that possible, so that may be a while.