Weekend Question Thread

Mr. A and I and our in-laws have spent the better part of the past two weekends putting up new bookshelves. There are books all over the house, in various states of organization, and boxes everywhere. The ferrets are confined to his office, much to Bucky’s rage and dismay, lest they crawl into a package and be returned to IKEA by mistake.

When it’s done, it’s going to be amazing, but right now it looks like a furniture truck and Bob Villa got into an accident in the living room.

What’s the biggest home improvement/construction project you’ve ever undertaken?


18 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. Renovating an entire house. But we didn’t do any of the work ourselves. We moved out for a year and gutted a two family and turned it into a one family. It was fun.

  2. Personally – gutted and renovated a kitchen that was 5 deg (on avg) out of square. Old houses only have charm when their walls are somewhat straight.
    But the largest was when my dad tore a wall off the house and added a kitchen and bedroom during the coldest winter Iowa had experienced in a century. I was 11. He didn’t finish until I was 18 and graduating from high school.

  3. We’re about to take one on… We are packing up and moving ourselves, our stuff (much of mine is already in storage in Houston) and the four furry feline freaks to drive back across the deserts to Houston and move into my late-Dad’s house… He had just finished getting his newly built garage set up, was about to start some house renovations when he was senselessly killed.
    So, I have inherited his li’l bungalow (which is twice the space, plus garage and attics) and we will embark upon a This Old House odyssey of our own. My primary focus is getting the sinking pier elevated and hole addressed (defunct clay water main and lost-to-H’cane Ike tree have left a wee bit of a sinkhole) so that what will be our guest room will not act like a “Wacky Shack” with the wonky floor. Once that is done…on to the other big ticket item: da roof.
    Dad had had it redone about 15 years ago and it was a 20-year roof…so, having withstood Rita and Ike, I’m not hedging my bets, lets just get it redone before next hurricane season.
    Smaller projects will involve redoing the taping of poorly done joints and repainting…
    Once the roof is done, then it’s KITCHEN TIME! My dad was a freelance cameraman most of his time living in the house, money was not a regular thing, so he did stuff in fits & starts, including his kitchen. It looks like a bad college apartment. It works, so I’m not dissing it…but I have an Ikea kitchen dream working… Unless I can “Rehab Addict” my way to a period-correct’ish/modern-convenience blend of a kitchen for less. (My cousin and her husband (in a bungalow a mile away) SCORED a Wolf pro gas range for cheap at a scratch & dent place!)
    And may expand the second bedroom to include the current breakfast/studio area…

  4. Denying ferrets the opportunity to “help” with a big, messy project. Now that’s just mean. 🙂

  5. Biggest projects contracted out: New furnace, 2.1Kw solar PV system, also a NG/solar hot water heater, and last spring had a deck built and two partition walls removed.
    Personal projects: adding built-in shelves to a spare room/library (will be improved soon) and this past week put a brick 6×8 foot patio at the foot of the deck.
    Was it worth the back pain? I think so…

  6. for difficult. painting 3 rooms including ceilings w/ deep fancy spanish plaster. and the living room has no ACTUAL straight line between wall + ceiling + i freehanded a straight line on at least 10 ft ceilings. and do not get me started on the fucking barley twist edges on the niches or edges. 2 colors. OMG. and i fixed the plaster where idiot past owners had put up curtain rods AND YOU CANNOT TELL.

  7. pre-move-in, this house: new floors in bathroom & kitchen, plus actual central HVAC (which now needs renovation, as the new-in-97 heat pump has died).

  8. Removing a “free standing” round fireplace in the middle of a living room with a vaulted ceiling and simultaneously installing three fixed-pane skylight windows (one of which was placed where the fireplace’s stack went through the roof) and carpeting throughout.

  9. But boxes are so much fun to explore ! and hide in to ambush humans and other ferrets !

  10. The biggest was roofing the deck. The deck was fabulous cedar 12×20 feet and unfortunately they did not remove the concrete slab under it or build it properly so it was rotting. I had a sad when I had to burn up all that gorgeous cedar.
    I needed new roofing so the timing was perfect to rebuild the deck properly and tie in a roof. It was hard as DIY projects go because it was soooo big.
    Then I had the professionals put on a metal roof so I won’t need to do that again.
    In the Puget Sound area roofs on decks are the bomb!

  11. Remodeling our kitchen 15 years ago. We started by tearing up the floor covering, and discovered two layers of linoleum, a layer of vinyl tile, and two layers of vinyl sheet goods. I suspected the original wooden floor in our century-old house was ash; quite a few floors then were because it scrubs up almost white. But it turned out, after the flooring guy hit it with his giant drum sander, to be birdseye maple. What a wonderful surprise. We then changed out minds on the kinds of cabinets we ordered to maple a well. But the dust and dirt from the remodel was a trial. We also removed the radiator so I could sandblast and paint it; getting it in and out took half our high school’s football team, and it’s a small radiator. It was a long, messy project. The results, though, were well worth it.

  12. As it happened, most of the big stuff I’ve done was for other people. I’ve worked on putting up 200,000 sq ft buildings, helped build five acres of commercial greenhouse, built barns for neighbors, helped build a pottery studio once, installed brick walks and interior trimwork for friends, roofed commercial buildings, pretty much gutted and rebuilt several rooms in an old, old dilapidated farmhouse in exchange for rent, stuff like that. But, apart from reroofing the current house, and doing some essential rewiring, haven’t had the money to do much on my own house. Getting laid off six years before minimum retirement age kind of put a crimp on home improvement.

  13. Our house is 50 and we’ve been in it for 20. Mr Gato started with the bathrooms back then. One had a lavender theme, including sink, toilet, and tub. The other was peach. They were gutted and redone with slate like tile and green glass showers and sinks. The paneling in the hallway was taken out and it turned into a nice gallery. The carpet in the bedrooms was replaced with wood and with slate in one room. We just got done with the living room, dining room area. All the horrible paneling out, walls painted interesting colors, great lighting, awesome art and granite tile floors. Next up, the kitchen. This will be more of a sub contractor adventure. Taking out a wall and moving the kitchen out back. Looking at a Wolf range. The expense will be worth it. Anyone have a good suggestion for a high end but way functional gas range?

  14. Abo, check for a local scratch & dent appliance place…might luck out as my cousin did… Wolf range that had a blemish on the side…um, it’s safe, works great and both sides are hidden by adjacent cabinetry. Just make sure your gas lines are sufficient in size. 🙂

  15. Not the biggest but the most infuriating was caused by the A/C service guy somehow disconnecting the condensation line from the unit in the attic, allowing moisture to drip down inside the wall next to the stairwell. First-floor laundry room had to be ripped out to the studs from floor to ceiling, de-molded and then re-floored, re-walled, re-ceilinged and painted, all the while we had no washer and dryer. A/C company covered every dime, but among many home-renovation and -repair projects in my adult life (including many in a 70-year-old house), that was by far the most annoying.

  16. Jacked up the center of a 100 YO wooden row house in Jersey City. Raised the center stairwell 2.5 inches over 18 months using a wooden support and 8 screwjacks. Closed up a lot of cracks in the plaster on the upper 3 floors.

  17. I put a major addition and attached garage onto Chez Feral along with completely gutting and renovating the existing structure. All new windows, wiring and plumbing, changed the kitchen completely, moved the bathroom, added a laundry room, etc. Did everything except the foundation and masonary, and had the new roof trusses prebuilt.
    Now just wrapping up the siding and windows project on the cottage at the FFarm. Home improvement projects are a way of life for me. There are pics from the FFarm at the link on my nom.

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