Thank you to all who wrote supportive comments on our Empty House Tour post! You gave…
Okay, okay, just wait. I’m gonna just say it and get it over with, okay?
Y’all1 gave us such a warm welcome to the South, and so many of you gave some great advice for helping with Handan’s allergies.
So let’s jump right in and get to the topic at hand: taming this beast of a house.
Instead of giving you the laundry list of every project we may have up our sleeves, I’m just going to share what’s coming in these first weeks and months. Later in the summer, I’ll write another Goals post with a whole new set of projects (assuming I’ve finished all of these, lol!)
The very first order of business was to have a radon mitigation system installed. When we had the house inspected, we also checked for radon, and while the levels weren’t eyeball-popping, they still warranted mitigation. We were able to get the cost of the system deducted from the home price, and we had the work order lined up before we even moved in. Radon isn’t on many people’s radar, but it probably should be. I’ll have more to say about it next week.
The next critical task was to bring power the the basement, because it barely had any. There were only about 4 light bulbs for the entire basement and no electrical outlets.
My babes-do list would be dead in the water until I could get the basement properly wired.
The house only had a 100 amp breaker box. Almost every modern house these days has 200 amp service coming from the electric company, so we were running at half capacity.
I got a few quotes from local electricians and settled on Mr. Value Electricians. Mark, our electrician, installed a second 100 amp breaker box and wired up the whole basement to code. He also installed ceiling lights and 20 amp outlets for some of my more power-hungry tools.
Let there be light!
Once my power tools arrive on the second POD, I’ll be ready to go!
The next order of business is the carpet. We’re not opposed to carpet, but all the carpeting on the first floor is trashed – stained, buckled and furniture marks that are probably 20 years in the making. With the house empty, now is the time to pull the trigger: we either get the carpets replaced or we get them torn out and install wood floors.
I’d normally try to leave you in suspense here, but I think you can guess which route we’re going to take!
I’ll post about our new floors soon, but this won’t be a DIY project. It’s far too complicated and way too easy to screw up. We’ve already found a great hardwood flooring company to work with. I have high hopes for the job, and I’ll be sharing that project with you when it’s finished. Here’s a little teaser after they tore up the carpet. Look at all that disgusting crap that was hiding under the carpet pad! Blech! Good riddance!
We’re also getting wood flooring on the front staircase. After estimating the cost to stain the handrails and posts on the stairs, I’ve decided to tackle that job myself. You can read all about that adventure once it happens!
The second major undertaking (and it dwarfs the flooring project) is the kitchen remodel.
Now don’t go and get any funny ideas in your head, madam. I won’t be building cabinets for the kitchen. That ship has sailed, and it’s no longer welcome back to port. There are few tasks as odious and painful as cabinetry. I tip my hat to those who do it professionally, because though my attempts (here, here and here) have yielded acceptable results (by DIY standards), the time, effort and aggravation involved left me a quivering, sputtering wreck.
Besides, have you seen the recent advances in modern cabinetry?
Here I thought it was still all boring drawers bracketed by cheap slides and monotonous cabinets whose only “wow” feature was adjustable shelves.
But Jeezum Crow, madam!
Cabinets these days have the complexity of a Rube Goldberg apparatus! They have hidden drawers within drawers, so you can double your cutlery capacity. They have unfathomable contraptions that miraculously make use of the nether regions of corner cabinets. I can’t begin to comprehend the mad genius it must have taken to invent such a convoluted piece of cabinetry.
They have command centers, inches thick, built into refrigerator enclosures.
Madam, they have appliance garages, for god’s sake! (And you can bet your sweet sassafras I’ll be getting one of those!)
No matter what your appliance or cooking tool, there’s probably a custom drawer, cabinet or insert made to cradle and house it in wooden, soft-close comfort.
But just as great power comes with great responsibility, great technical innovation comes with a great price tag. To be clear – not a great price, but a great, honkin’ big price.
Still, this is our one shot at getting the kitchen of my dreams while the house is still (relatively) empty. Handan made a promise to me years ago that I would have my dream kitchen, but we just never got around to it in the old Navage Patch.
I do believe she intends to make good on her promise down here in our new home in Suwanee!
Though the kitchen will be another “professional” job, there are still related activities that we’ll be doing ourselves. I’ll most likely demo our old cabinets and bring them to the basement. Storage is always welcome, and these cabinets are perfect for storing paints, stains and all sorts of crafty stuff!
I’ll also show you how to install a backsplash when we get around to that part of the project.
Now, of course there will be a thousand other projects we’ll be doing entirely ourselves!
But first I’ll need a functioning workshop, and for that, I’ll need to build myself some workbenches. I’ll share those benches with you as soon as I can make them. I always prefer to build my own. Not only are DIY workbenches way cheaper than store-bought, but I can make them any size and height I like. I like to make some a little higher for working on small projects and one lower for working on furniture projects.
Do you remember the doggie dish drawer I built for Penny and Pepper when we renovated our old laundry room?
I’ll be doing something similar in this house, but I won’t be building the cabinet. That’ll happen in a few weeks – I need to have it built and ready for the girls when they join us here in June.
Above the girls’ feeding station, I’ll be building and installing a floating shelf. It’s a simple DIY that will look great. I’ll probably make a few more floating shelves for Baris’s Leisure Palace as well.
Speaking of the Leisure Palace, we’ll have a few projects to show you as we get his rooms set up.
In fact, I’ve already painted his ceilings and walls, and that will lead to a total house re-paint by little lonely old Yours Truly. If I thought my days of painting high-ceiling’d rooms were over, well sister, I’ve got another think coming, don’t I? Good thing we bought a new ladder with a wide base and a cool ladder support to go with it! And while I’m painting the living room, I may as well swap out that fan, right?
And while I’m up there (on our scaffold) changing that fan, I may as well change the foyer chandelier, right?
As luck would have it, Handan found a beautiful iron symphony-style three-tiered chandelier to hang in our entry. We bought it secondhand back in February, while Handan was still living in the studio apartment, and it sat in a corner, taking up a large percentage of free floor space until we moved her out of there last weekend. New, those chandeliers go for over $1500. We scored ours for $60. Wooooot!
As we fit out my office (off the foyer and across from the dining room), we’ll have a few projects to show you from there as well.
Okay, let’s step outside, because very soon we’ll be making some changes out there.
First, the door. I told you that Handan has a superstition against black doors, so we will be painting it to a beautiful color we’ve already chosen. I’ll share it with you when I write about it.
Second, we’ll be replacing that single lantern with two of them flanking the door.
And those gargantuan bushes! Yeesh, is there a house back there, somewhere?
Yeah, those need to go. In fact all of the front landscaping needs a little upgrade, so we’ll tackle that this summer, too.
Our window ghost is also in the project queue, but that’s another job that needs to be handled professionally, as that entire huge window (and the two side windows flanking it) need to be replaced with custom glass. No way in hell I’m attempting that myself!
Well, I guess that about covers it for our near-term projects. Seems overwhelming, I know, but we’ll get through it one project at a time.
Stay tuned and stay safe!
The Navage Patch Short Term Goals 2020 Checklist
- Install radon mitigation system
- Bring power and light to the basement
- Install hardwood floors on the first floor
- Stain the staircase posts and handrails
- Kitchen remodel
- Install kitchen backsplash
- Build workbenches
- Build dog feeding station
- Build floating shelves
- Paint interior walls (and bedroom ceilings)
- Change living room fan
- Change foyer chandelier
- Baris’s room setup & related projects
- Office setup & related projects
- Change front door lantern and install a second one
- Paint front door
- Remove big shrubs near front door
- Replace the ghost window
1 That’s my one gratuitous “y’all” for y’all.