Friday, March 27, 2015

What happens when I leave the house....

Since the day I convinced The Hubs we needed we bought this house The Hubs has been talking about the day we renovate the kitchen. I had it on a 5 year plan, after the air conditioning, water heater, painting and bathroom remodel.  Apparently, it was higher on his list.

That's a lot of fluorescent lighting to trash!

I came home from a week in Texas visiting friends to find a hole the size of me in our kitchen ceiling. Good-bye long fluorescent lighting!!! Over the course of the next week, we (ahem, he) put in recessed lights, replaced drywall and textured. I painted. It's a tough job, I have here.

To be fair, we did need to do this before we put in the insulation, which again, needs to be done before the ridiculously hot summer days. Why do we NEED to do it? Because we have a hole the size of my head in our AC ducting, and the insulation is non-existent. If we didn't replace it, our AC bill would probably cost as much as it would to replace it. Over the long run, it costs less to do these repairs up front than in a few years to trample over the new insulation, resulting in replacing it. Again.

It's a slippery slope, this home repair.

I thought we were done with kitchen, and would do nothing more than peel off wallpaper and maybe, possibly, paint, but oh, I was so, so wrong.

I left for a Sunday morning jog, and came home to this.

Moral of the story: Don't leave my husband in the house alone.

Hidden in the middle of the cabinets that used to stand here is a vent hood. Over a laminate tabletop, completely across the kitchen from the oven and stove. Totally unnecessary, and releasing some of my costly, precious air conditioning into the attic. I don't need cold air in the attic; I don't plan on ever going up there.

That's the sky above my roof you see there. Sigh. 

Over the next 48 hours, the vent hood was capped, insulation and drywall replaced, textured, and painted.

Pre-paint job, but after drywall and repairs.

It was a laborious project, but worthwhile. The kitchen looks a hundred times better, which means I may be able to put off The Hubs a little longer for a full remodel. We also are now ready to replace our air conditioning vent, raise it (so we can take out the soffits and make our ceiling a little taller), and put in insulation. Or, rather, have someone else put in the insulation. Thank goodness, I can pawn that off on someone else. It's hot and cramped up in that attic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Living the life you love

Yesterday my neighbor stopped by to welcome me home after our Spring Break vacation.

Have I mentioned I love my neighbors?!?!

I invited her in, even though we (and by "we" I mean, The Hubs) had demo-ed all the day, and the house was a total disaster. If I waited to invite her in when it was clean, she would never be able to come in! That's just who we are and how we roll around here. What you see is what you get.

She stepped over the laundry baskets and past the jumbo pile of kids shoes into the renovation zone that was our kitchen. Think plastic sheeting, drywall compound and dozens of nails and various tools scatter haphazardly.

She began to exclaim excitedly over the house. The same soffit and old cabinetry as in her kitchen, the wonderfully done original wood floors, the double fireplaces. The kitchen and bathrooms. We talked of quirks and facets, money pits and projects. The love we share of our un-ordinary home, our fixer, our unique lifestyle.

"Why do I need a big spa bathroom?" I asked her. "I want my square footage in my living space, not wasting around in a big bathroom. I need to shower, use the bathroom and that's pretty much all!"

She agreed. "Yes! I can sit on the toilet, brush my teeth and spit in the sink, all while turning on the shower. It actually makes it much easier to get ready when I don't have to move!"

I laughed, but it's true. Standing in the middle of my bathroom, I can hold out my arms and touch the walls in all directions. Still it has everything I need: a toilet, a shower, a sink and some storage.

"It's a lifestyle to live here," she went on. "It's an attitude you have to have to be happy and content with something different than the norm. These houses, with their tics and quirks, they require a different way of looking at life, and at what you really want and need."

She's right.

While others are buying big homes, with new everything, and rooms and rooms to spare, we opted for a good-sized home with yard and yard to spare. Most buyers want brand new, so they don't have to fix anything for 10+ years, We chose a fixer-upper with incredibly good bones, but needs a major facelift. We won't be done with renovations until.....well, probably for as long as we live here.

The first thing I loved about this home was its two fireplaces, followed quickly by the five different floorings throughout it. What puts others off actually interested me. It's different, and I like different.

While I know some people walk into my house and are shocked at what it doesn't have - two bathtubs, a laundry room that fits side by side washer and dryer, an updated kitchen - I absolutely love what it does have.

Originality. Fun. Years of life.

Neighbors that welcome me home from vacation.