Weekend Question Thread

Mr. A and I are spending this weekend finishing up a renovation of the World’s Smallest Bathroom (our building was built in the early 1900s and apparently back then they didn’t need bathrooms, or at least didn’t want to become agoraphobic in them, so you can stretch your arms out in ours and touch all four walls if you spin around).

What home improvement projects have you recently undertaken?


27 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. We are about to embark on a 2 bathroom/kitchen/laundry room remodel, carefully planned for the coldest part of the year here in Pennsylvania. Had hoped to start the upstairs bathroom by now, but are pushing it back until January because kids will be home from college and wanting to use it. Have to do that bathroom because it leaks into the kitchen below, so no point in doing kitchen until we’ve done that. I’ll see your tiny bathroom and raise you one on our 1901 house, which specializes in them.

  2. It’s been 6 years, but I did that complete bathroom renovation thing here. A new sparkly bathroom is a wonderful thing.
    Alas, the rest of the house doesn’t seem worth further investment. I won’t be doing any more renovation. I anticipate selling. The value is all in the land here. The old little houses like mine here are being torn down to build big new ones.
    But, I have a chance to perhaps “buy low, sell high (or at least less low)”.

  3. Last year we completely renovated our kitchen and den, involving busting out walls. As part of the project we put a 5.4kw solar array on our roof. We are grid-fed which means I haven’t paid an electric bill since March, and that one was only $30. Saved our butts this summer when it was over 100 degrees for 3 months straight. The entire project, including new kitchen and den, took us about 9 months not including the planning, architectural stages, etc. And it cost a fortune. Right before we started the economy tanked but we were told to go ahead anyway so we did. Surprisingly, we did not catch any breaks. Seems the Nashville economy was still chugging along and subs weren’t desperate for work.
    Anyway, the upshot is with my new kitchen I’ve gained about 25 pounds. No joke. But I’m enjoying cooking. Y’all will have to come over for dinner some time if you’re ever in Nashville. I think I’ll start a liberal supper club while I’m at it.
    More recently we did some re-painting and fixing of cracked plaster in our stairwell.
    Seems like we’re always doing something on the house. I think I need a new, less expensive hobby.

  4. Also did, well, watched, while a trained crew installed solar array and a solar hot water system. The PV just a 2Kw system, so I still pay utility bills, but they’re a bit lower (much lower now that a/c season is over here in Loosiana), and it was the right thing to do.
    Until the tax credits pay off the balance I’m in a holding pattern for other projects…but LOTS of other project await, if I don’t lose my job in the next round of layoffs…(cross fingers, knock on wood.)

  5. Not so much reno (I live in an apartment – besides putting diff knobs on cab doors and decorative switchplates…not much to do). So, it’s just my ongoing battle against clutter… I’m my own toddler, leaving a trail of art tools/clothing/shopping bags in my wake. Sigh.

  6. well, a garage door was replaced in the spot that where was an existing ‘non’ door. but as we spek, the chimney is being rebuilt. pics at blog. gotta post the destruction pics. most of the painting has been done. UGH. SPANISH PLASTER in THREE ROOMS! GAH! a pro couldn’t have done a better line where there is none.
    60’s orange wall to wall GONE. yellow walls GONE.

  7. We just painted the outside of the Hut this year, added a retractable awning over the stone patio on the south side of the house (hell on earth in the summer). This upcoming year, we’re taking out the lawn to have a water-wise native garden. Lawns make no sense in California.

  8. My great-grandparents had our house built in 1908 when they retired from farming, and it’s never been out of the family since. Most of our home improvement projects have involved undoing things done as “improvements” in the past, such as removing the paint from the bathroom and kitchen woodwork; removing three layers of flooring from the original birdseye maple floor in the kitchen, and the like. We’ve pretty much left it like it has been for the past 102 years with the exception of electrical and communications upgrades.
    The biggest project we did here was to add two feet onto the bathroom. Like A’s, it was tiny, and had two doors off it, to boot. We eliminated one of the doors an installed a narrow radiator in the bottom part of the opening, and were able to install a nice whirlpool tub and 30″ vanity. We matched the original tile roofing and the concrete blocks with decorative stone-like patterns on them, and you really can’t tell it was ever added onto from the outside.
    My wife would like to get rid of the wall-to-wall carpeting and refinish the heart of yellow pine floors, but I dread the dirty, dusty job. We shall see, however, when the weather warms up a tad.

  9. I keep looking around at our place and wondering when in hell our nineteenth-century four-plex won’t be so intimidating that I can at least take a stab at our bathrooms or our kitchen, all of which need some overhauling, as does our big long attic room. Instead, we are having to make sure the kid’s toys don’t take over the house – but we keep failing miserably at that.

  10. Rebuilt the kitchen in ’05. That included installing a pet door for Prescott Puppybeast, the English Mastiff and his brother Moose. The understairs junk closet was converted into a laundry space so the washer and dryer moved in from the garage (hoorah!) and some new carpet to replace the desert dull that seems to be considered an aid to selling homes in the Vegas desert (dull!).

  11. Our kitchen’s on the list, likely in the spring. We don’t have a dishwasher, unless you count Mr. A, and that’s going to be a problem if we sell. The cabinets are old and if we can get a good deal it might be worth upgrading those, but mostly it’s the dishwasher, new countertops, a paint job and such. We’ve had the place re-wired, upgraded the World War II plumbing, and had all the windows replaced. Some of them, when we bought the place, didn’t even open. Others didn’t close.
    Oof, refinishing floors, RAM. Major job. My favorite aunt ripped up the carpets in her house and redid her floors and it took a nice house up the scale to stunning, but it depends on the shape of what you’ve got under there.
    I’m my own toddler
    Stealing that.

  12. juest pull up the rug RAM. you’ll gain at least 1 inch of room and less vacuuming to do.
    i started with 1 room. then another, and another, till the last orange on the stairs. yes. they had carpeted bird’s eye maple + oak(oak 1st floor, maple 2nd. AFTER we painted over the awful hall color. and it is painted a hip grey. wall + ceiling. painted it before that color was ‘big’. looks good w/ oak/maple.

  13. Turning one of our spare bedrooms into my library–basically floor to ceiling shelves on all walls, closet with wire shelving for games, and a nice desk/table in the middle with a beautifully carved antique wooden chair that my wife calls my throne.
    The walls are done, shelves are up, now I get to load the books in and sit down to relax.
    After I finish converting one of our other bedrooms into my wife’s walk in closet.

  14. Home improvement projects are a way of life for me, I’ve always got something going on. I completely rebuilt the Wis homestead – major addition, attached garage, moved interior walls, gutted every room, insulated, rewired and pumbed. Still have some areas to finish. And now I’ve got the FFarm, just put 2 new windows in the cottage and redid 2 interior walls. There are 3 more windows to replace next spring, then new siding.

  15. Creating a spare room into a library. So far, the shelving is 1/2 finished, and the books are optimistically sorted alphabetically on the floor in stacks. This project is now entering its 3rd year. Retirees take their time…

  16. Fixin’ to see if I can get rid of the orange formica backsplash in the kitchen.
    Y’know, folks, the ’50s were NOT all that and a bag of chips. Just sayin’.

  17. I just cleaned up all the paperwork. Piles of paperwork mounded on the kitchen table. That’s renovation in my book.

  18. A and pansypoo, the floors are in pretty good shape. I saw them the last time we got new carpeting about 15 years ago. They’ll need to be sanded, but at least it’s not as bad as the kitchen with a layer of vinyl sheet goods, one of vinyl tile, and one of linoleum, which was glued down to the birdseye maple. Luckily, however, the glue was so dry that when the floor guy hit it with the big sander, it basically turned to dust, unlike my visions of it being melted by the sander into goo covering the sanding drum.
    Heart of yellow pine flooring is tough stuff. It’s what they use at Williamsburg to hold up under all the foot traffic in their restored buildings, and when we went to James Madison’s Montpelier, they’re using the original yellow pine flooring and it’s wearing like iron.
    The pain (literally, in my case) in the neck of having to move all the furniture and dealing with the mess of sanding and finishing three rooms plus the stairway is vying right now with my love for the color of naturally finished yellow pine flooring and the boost to our health getting rid of the carpeting will be–I’m allergic to just about everything. So the project’s got that going for it…

  19. OMG I want a library. The whole house serves as one instead.
    Replaced the tatty roof, rotted french doors and old blinds and painted over the horrid 70s knotty pine floor in the conservatory this year.
    Replaced front door destroyed by local vandals 09
    New bathroom 08
    Solid wood floor in living room 07
    Replaced garden gate destroyed by local vandals 07
    New Kitchen 04
    Replaced completely worm-eaten floorboards upstairs and stripped/varnished the stairs 02
    Vast majority of the house still 140+ years old including the lime and horsehair plaster in the bedrooms 🙂

  20. Spent the day cutting and installing a ceramic tile bathroom floor with my niece’s husband (nephew-in-law?) in his starter house.

  21. New sink fixture and point-of-use water heater for it.
    The kitchen is as far away from the water heater as you can get and still be in the house)
    MUCH less water wasted not waiting for the water heater to warm up 60′ of pipe and the surrounding ground.

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