Well Worth It
My husband I have just purchased our first home. Nothing big, just a small two bedroom house, in the country, surrounded by trees. While the house is a great condition for its age, it did need minor repairs. Not anything big, but a lot of little finishing details that the previous owner never did or kept up on. We thought about having a professional come in and do the work...heck, that would be the easiest solution. However, when money is tight and things have to get done, sometimes the best way is to do it yourself! Plus it was a fun journey that my husband and I did together. Neither one of us had been experience in any sort of home repairs or improvements.
We are lucky enough to have many friends that specialize in some aspect of home construction. We know someone who does just about everything. We consulted our friends as to the best course of actions for each project we were going to undertake. We did some research about materials and different options that we had and we made a detailed plan as to what we needed to get accomplished, materials, time to finish, etc. This allowed us to stay organized with our project.
A Few Do It Yourself Guides
Domino: The Book of Decorating cracks the code to creating a beautiful home, bringing together inspiring rooms, how-to advice and insiders' secrets from today's premier tastemakers in an indispensable style manual. The editors take readers room by room, tapping the best ideas from domino magazine and culling insights from their own experiences. With an eye to making design accessible and exciting, this book demystifies the decorating process and provides the tools for making spaces that are personal, functional and fabulous.
The indispensable bible for keeping a home in tip-top shape, it is the time- and money-saver every homeowner needs. It functions as a repair manual, an evaluation guide, a compendium of household hints, an emergency reference, and a homeowner's encyclopedia. Over 3,000 illustrations.
This super-handy manual, first published in 1973, has received a major upgrade. Seventeen chapters' worth of fixer-upper opportunities are enhanced with more than 3,000 photos and illustrations that would look equally at home in an upscale home decorating catalogue. The first few chapters cover hand and power tools, fasteners and adhesives, and are enough to incite hardware envy among even dwellers of tiny apartments
We started with the living room. The carpet was only a year old, however we want to customize the house to fit our style so we decided to rip the carpet up and lay new down. When we ripped up the carpet we discovered old, gross-looking tiles underneath that were becoming cracked and chipped. Some even appeared to have water damage. It was best for the floor and our new carpet if they were removed. Thus, we started the process of ripping up the tiles. Note to self: be prepared to find more repairs that are needed when you start to fix what you thought was wrong.
Who knows how long these tiles had been there. It took about three days to remove a 13'x13' floor of tiles. When we were done, we were both sore, frustrated, and wondering what the heck we had gotten ourselves into. The floor underneath is concrete so luckily there was no damage but slight molding from the tiles. We bleached the floor 3x with straight bleach and then sealed it with concrete sealer. We used a shop-vac to suck up the excess liquid from the floor...if you do not have one of these, I highly recommend them to anyone.
Laying the carpet was not too difficult of a task for us, as we had a friend that was more than willing to help us out with is as long as we got the materials. He did it for a living so we hit the jackpot! Now, if you have never laid carpet, or seen it being installed, you do not realize that it is a tough job to do. And I do recommend consulting someone about the process before you begin if you want to do it right. Our task was even a little harder due to the fact that the tack strips had to go into concrete. I think we broke 4 drill bits! And then even more when we had to put the trim around the bottom. The carpet was done successfully and it looks beautiful and professional! We saved about $100 or more by doing it ourselves.
We gave the entire inside a fresh coat of paint. We chose mostly white to brighten the small spaces and open them up. A slash of color here and there gave the house a more personal feel. We didn't use the expensive paint, nor the expensive tools, just the stuff to get the job done. Painting is messy and it takes a lot of time to get it looking neat. I did not realize how time consuming it can really be, especially when we had to do the whole house. We took it room by room, day by day until it was done. The kitchen was the worst because I had to remove all of the hinges to paint the cupboards. Painting the hinges was easy...black spray paint! This is not something that I want to do for a few years! Hopefully my children are kind to the walls.
The dining room needed the most work. The previous owner had ripped the paneling down off of the wall, realized there was nothing behind it, and then left it like that. There was also a huge hole in the other wall. We contemplated about the paneling for a few days, unsure about how to approach it. We had never had to hang drywall before, but the paneling was ugly and needed to be replaced anyway. I have to admit that I didn't do much during the hanging of the drywall, however I did mud the seams and fixed the hole in the other wall. I had a really fun time doing this and my husband laughed because I managed to get it everywhere. The job got done though and thanks to him, we have beautiful trim work around the window and the floor. The entire project probably cost around $50 plus a little time, effort, and laughter.
The whole experience was worth all of the time and effort that we put into it. We were able to find areas where we could save the most money, but we did it with style. The house really feels like it is ours now. I look around and smile because I know that we did it together. Our children are going to grow up there and it is a place that will always be locked into our memories. Choosing to do the work ourselves turned out to be a roller-coaster of ups and downs, but a ride that was well worth it.
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