Saturday, February 18, 2012

There Goes My Bonus

For the past few months, I've been taking care to spend money on only the immediate needs of home improvement. I wanted to see what my finances were going to shake out like, especially after the holiday season. February is the usual review season at work and this year I was treated to a bonus. So, with bonus in the bank, I figure - why not spend it all on house stuff.

With the living room and bathroom underway, I went out this afternoon to look at the components I needed to buy to finish off those spaces (or at least proceed on them). The bathroom is my big purchase focus while the living room is the easier "little things" buy process.

Today, I bought my first toilet (I will eventually need to buy one or two more). I also spent some time looking for acoustic insulation for between the living room and the rest of the house. Unfortunately, Home Depot did not have what I wanted in stock for that. I will be checking out Lowes tomorrow to see if they have something other than drywall sheet-sized sound barrier insulation. I also picked up some paint for the bathroom - a grey/green color that should play well off the white fixtures.

I stopped into Bob's Furniture to see what other things I might want to pick up. They had a great looking pub table and 8 chairs for $1000 that I am considering to replace my current dining table (which can barely seat 4). I was also looking at a nice refrigerated wine/liquor cabinet they had as a start on the mini-bar I want to put into the living room. The bars they had weren't great for my needs, however, so that looks like I will either be going with some other store for the bar or making it a post-"Walls are done and painted" do-it-yourself project.

A contractor from Home Depot will be here on Monday to give me some estimates windows. My first-and-foremost interest if finding out how much it will cost me to replace the windows in the bathroom and living room. This house is in a weird situation as far as windows go. They are original-to-the-house single pane. They casings let cold air in like nobodies business (especially in windy weather). I'd like to get windows replaced with more energy efficient options but I am not sure Anderson (which is Home Depot's primary brand) will offer windows and casings that can color match my exterior without breaking my bank account. But we'll see what they have to say on Monday.

Tomorrow, I will be spending more time out on the road looking at what Lowes has to offer. I am hoping they have the brand of acoustic insulation I am looking, otherwise I will have to order online. I want to get more of the wall in the living room taken care of (which, even just insulating 1.25 walls has improved the heat retention in that room) and maybe even replace a few of the outlets with something more modern (modern cables do not seem to grip the plugs in the walls very well).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Modest Case of Motivation

For a while, I've been a bit stalled on getting projects done here at the house. I attribute some of that procrastination to the sense of overwhelming that each room presents. The bathroom has things in it that I have never done. The living room, while simple, doesn't feel like something I should work on until other things are done (because it is easy). Getting past the style/color block I had with the bathroom and deciding on some colors has helped move that along. Next I need to get some estimates on windows for that room and the house in general.

Happily, the contractors have started work on the chimney (well... nearly finished by the time of this writing) and that has helped motivate me to start in on some other projects. I am really happy with the work that has been done to the chimney and that side of the house - its coming along nicely and the contractors have been amazingly quiet and out of the way.

They recycled as many bricks as possible which means the chimney isn't going to be a two-tone column of bricks. It also means that the dumpster they brought was nice and empty. I was able to move all of the demolition refuse I had from the office, bathroom, living room and carpet into it - nearly filling it all.

I mention the living room - and that's because I've started the renovation on that room at Jay's suggestion (basically, do one night a week of house tinkering). Since the living room has no drywall in it, it's a nice and easy project to start in. It also is pretty good as a piecemeal project - I can pick a single wall and do just that over the course of the night.

Continuing the handyman trend I've noticed from the previous owners - one of the paneled (uninsulated interior) walls was torn down and a surprise was discovered. A piece of drywall with the words "Insolate this wall" - spelled just like that.

Work is moving along in the living room. Today, I finished pulling out the paneling on the fireplace wall, plucked the remaining nails, pulled up the last stubborn bits of the baseboard and hung insulation along the entire wall. I still have a bit more to do on that wall - mostly just getting some more spray foam and filling in anywhere that I feel cold air coming in through.