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The Home Improvement Thread

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Replies to: The Home Improvement Thread

  • CT1417CT1417 4315 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,337 Senior Member
    @collage1 -- interested in hearing about replacing wood-burning fireplace with an inset. What does that entail? Will this be a gas fireplace? The FR fireplace has one of those manufactured chimneys with a metal thing on the top (useless description, I realize) whereas the LR fireplace is original to the house and made of brick. The FR fireplace was built too large so I never end up using it due to the amount of wood and effort needed to keep it burning (and the mess of ashes the next morning, that sometimes blow out onto the floor overnight).

    Just curious about how much of a project that is and cost? Thanks!
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  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18274 replies320 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,594 Senior Member
    Great idea for a thread. I predict this one is going to go on and on for years.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13130 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,165 Senior Member
    edited July 2017
    "Tell your husband to lay off Windex! Ammonia is not good for quartz. Clean it with soap and water - that is all what's needed."

    You can use Glass Plus - it's ammonia free. I use it as ammonia isn't good for granite, either. I also use Method Granite Cleaner. Just depends on my mood which one I use.
    edited July 2017
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38243 replies463 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 38,706 Senior Member
    I like that Method, too. Soap and water is dirt cheap though. :) Our countertops were $12k plus labor. As I said, they were super custom to fit then huge kitchen.
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  • WellspringWellspring 1452 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,461 Senior Member
    We just had the retaining walls on both sides of the driveway rebuilt, along with the corners of the garage which sits under the house. That necessitated a new garage door which had to be custom since it's so small. Now when I park my Forester in the driveway both the driver and passenger doors can be opened, not previously possible with the leaning retaining walls. And the new tiny garage door has a garage door opener which is a nice feature, although we never put either the car or the pick-up in the garage since the garage is so small.

    So not a sexy home improvement, but one that had to be done. What I'd really like to do is some landscaping and deck/patio construction in the back yard. We could enjoy that now and it certainly would add to resale but it's hard to convince ourselves to spend on that now that we're both retired.
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  • busyparentbusyparent 984 replies42 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,026 Senior Member
    We have so many projects in our house. We have neglected upkeep. A big one is a damp and moldy (not the black kind) crawl space. I got 3 bids and they ranged 18-30k ( big area)! Wow. I prefer to move but house is convenient to work and spouse wants to stay. Anyone done a project like this?
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  • kjofkwkjofkw 748 replies90 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 838 Member
    I love white cabinets, which are still 'in style' at least for awhile. BUT, anything white in our house doesn't seem to stay white. Our white smoke detectors are now tan; our white curtain rods are beige; our 'white' walls are anything but ;-) Think we'll consider a light wood. I assume grey will only last about 5 more years as well.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13130 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,165 Senior Member
    edited July 2017
    I love my natural maple cabinets - they are European design style. Kitchen is 9 years old and they look brand new and not dated at all, imo. My kitchen opens into our family room which has "cozy earthtone colors, so neither white nor gray would have looked good. IMO, in about 10 years people are going to walk into all these gray houses and say so 2010's and needs to be ripped out.
    edited July 2017
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  • ConsolationConsolation 22846 replies184 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 23,030 Senior Member
    I highly recommend the Laurel Bern blog for paint color suggestions. I'm not sure whether it is considered a "private" blog, so I won't link to it, but you can find it easily by googling.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7705 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,729 Senior Member
    Following along!
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  • psychmommapsychmomma 2944 replies43 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,987 Senior Member
    We need to have our paver patio steps redone. Pavers removed, base leveled and pavers replaced. We've had the patio 10 years and the steps have areas that sank, but are hard to fix since the installers glued a lot of parts together. I dislike spending money on things that don't improve your home, but just bring it back to normal.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7705 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,729 Senior Member
    edited July 2017
    I had a ton of deferred maintenance on our exterior. Spent 3 weeks cleaning, scrubbing and re painting our outdoor living room. We have a built in BBQ with hood through the roof. Got the guys up on high ladders to scrub ship lap roof and it was gross, gross, gross from years of cooking on BBQ. New cushions and pillows and new handles on cabinets and brand new neutral outdoor carpet. Painted the whole thing in same dark taupe and cream color scheme. Sanded down and 4 coats of marine varnish on the mahogany side wall tops. I think I'm probably the only one that notices the difference....but it makes me so happy to go out there and spend time now because, $3,000 later, it feels clean:). Also resealed all the concrete hardscape around pool and walkways with wet look sealer, fixed sprinklers and new lighting. The solar outdoor lights are great.

    I'm helping a friend redecorate her house from earth tones/ rust color scheme to lighter and brighter. She needed me to come over and gently push her over the edge. Pulled all furniture out and we put paint samples on the walls. Went with Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige which is one of my 'go to' colors. Her walls were yellow and rust tones. Then all the beautiful trim was painted crisp white from a yellow based cream.

    Her old oak floors were a horrible yellow aged varnish and had worn spots. They sanded down and I created a custom stain color with Weathered Oak and a hint of grey stain to balance out the red tones from the Red Oak. World of difference when you walk into the house now.

    Now she is slowly removing out heavy dark furniture and replacing with light and happy pieces, while trying to keep her new beige brown sofas. We retiled the fireplace with a fun turquoise glass tile When I take her out for shopping....every piece we pick up (pillows, throw blankets, side tables) I ask her "does that make you feel happy?" Because that is what it is all about. Don't just settle....it has to make you happy to touch it, feel it, see it, like the new countertops some of you have installed.

    Also....beautiful new light fixtures everywhere are really making a difference
    edited July 2017
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38243 replies463 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 38,706 Senior Member
    @coralbrook - what kind of marine varnish do you recommend?
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  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18274 replies320 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,594 Senior Member
    "does that make you feel happy?" Because that is what it is all about. Don't just settle....it has to make you happy to touch it, feel it, see it, like the new countertops some of you have installed.

    Yes!! This is what I love about renovating and decorating!!
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  • missbwith2boysmissbwith2boys 582 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 604 Member
    We are doing two projects this summer. DH insisted that this is the year we do the foundation work on one corner of the house and I insisted that we enlarge and rebuild the hen house and coop area.

    The last 10 feet (width) of one side of our house is not on the original basement foundation. The first 25 feet length of that side is an old enclosed porch and the last 20 feet is in part of our master bedroom. The part under our master is strictly post and beam with no stem wall/sill board. It's been a mouse superhighway for years. He tore off the exterior skirting last weekend and pulled all the insulation and vapor barrier today. We will likely dig the footing trenches but have someone come in and quote the formwork and concrete/sidewalk. It'll probably be ready to go next week for quotes, so at least that's moving fast.

    At the same time, I'm having a fencing contractor come out and deal with the fence. The previous owner installed a dog run along the house - 40'x20'. We cut it in half so the chickens have a 20'x20' yard but one issue is that the fence goes to the house and we want the sidewalk to be accessible. So I need to have the fence opened up and reconfigured.

    Once that's done we can install new siding and paint the hen house. I'm hoping we can enlarge it this weekend (he originally gave them a porch but I'm having him enclose that so they have more interior space.) Last item before August is to build a completely enclosed outside area attached to the hen house within the fenced coop area to give them secure outdoor access for when we travel (to make pet sitting easier!)

    Over the winter, part of the enclosed porch will be turned into a master bedroom walk-in closet. There is already a wood floor in there. We have to remove two big windows and close off a door from the living room, but the porch room shares a wall with our master so opening up a door is quite easy. Insulation for that room will be needed, not to mention sheetrock.
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