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    Thread: First House

    1. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      08-26-2011 09:56 AM #1
      Hello All,
      this is my first post in the Home Improvement forum and I'm quite pleased to be doing so!
      It's been about 5 weeks or so now since we moved in to our first home. We were looking for homes in the 150-180K range but we didn't find much at that price. We just happened to be driving around on a Sunday looking for open houses and stumbled upon what would eventually become our new house. It was up for 209K and had already been dropped from 219K. It's a 1100sqft raised bungalow, with garage and walk out basement. It's got over 112ft of frontage, which for the city and area its in, is pretty unheard of.

      The house was standing vacant because the owners had moved into a retirement/nursing home, which meant their kids were dealing with the sale of the house. We came in pretty low with all the appliances etc. included and they came back only a couple grand higher. All said and done, we got the place for approx 190K. Winning!!

      Anyways, the reason it went so cheap is due to the place being quite dated. It needs new flooring/carpets, new kitchen, new bathrooms and paint. The roof was done in '07 and the AC is brand new '11. 2 Beds up, one down. descent size kitchen, two bathrooms, one up with tub and one down with shower. Huge rec room (24x16) with wood burning fireplace insert, and last but not least, a nice extra long garage. The house was built in 1976 by a well known Mennonite builder in the area who is still building houses today. Basically, that means the house will stand for a long long time to come.

      So far, I've made a few mild improvements which include:
      New A/C unit
      Ripped out a few overgrown bushes in the back yard (to make room for the BBQ)
      Gas line for BBQ
      Satellite Dish and ran the cable for it (they were an old dutch couple that didn't watch tv)

      Immediate future plans include:
      Gutting the back yard of the rest of the over grown bushes, garden, etc.
      New Fence across side of back yard (old one blew over in a recent wind storm)
      Hardwood flooring in Living & Dinning Room
      Carpet in upstairs bedrooms
      R&R Kitchen

      Down the Road Plans:
      R&R both bathrooms
      R&R Rec room (including a wet bar)
      Pour new concrete patio in backyard

      on to the pics:
      DSC03092

      DSC03094

      DSC03096

      DSC03113

      DSC03310

      DSC03308

      DSC03293

      So as you can see, lots of updating required, but its got potential like crazy. The house across the street, which is not as large and doesn't have a garage, sold for 237K this past spring. So I figure I'll be able to make a tidy profit here eventually.

      I"ll post up some pics of the updates soon.
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    2. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      08-26-2011 10:03 AM #2
      It's so money!

      Gas Line for BBQ

      Never again will I run out of gas for the BBQ
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      08-26-2011 10:25 AM #3
      We've got a natural gas grill hook-up; it's awesome.

      Congrats on the new place! Post pics as you make updates.

    4. Senior Member Hostile's Avatar
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      08-26-2011 11:51 AM #4
      Congratulations!

      Why did you put in a new A/C unit if it was just replaced?

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      08-26-2011 03:53 PM #5
      congrats on the house and as someone else said the NG hook up for the grill is the only way to go. Had it at my old house and will be doing it next spring when I finally get a grill for the new place.

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      08-26-2011 09:17 PM #6
      The NG hookup is pretty cool, never seen that.
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    7. 08-27-2011 01:20 PM #7
      House looks well cared for.

      I actually removed my nat gas hook up this summer. So I would have more freedom of where to put the grill

    8. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      08-29-2011 08:41 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Hostile View Post
      Congratulations!

      Why did you put in a new A/C unit if it was just replaced?
      Thanks for all the kind comments

      Apologies for the confusion, the orig. A/C unit was kung-fu'kd so I had it replaced the day after we moved in. When we orig. looked at the house they told us the unit was working but when we had the house inspection done, we found that it was toast. So we had them cut a cheque for the replacement. So technically they paid for it, but I had my guy do the R&R.

      So far, the BBQ hook up is pretty mint. I have an 8' lead on it so we'll be able to move the BBQ around once the new concrete poured.

      Cheers!
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    9. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      04-24-2012 12:42 PM #9
      Time for an update!
      I've done a few things to the house since my last post, both in and out-doors.
      First things first, I did some major pruning of the over grown hedges/trees at the front of the house.
      Busy afternoon in the front garden...
      As you can see... it really makes the house look bigger.

      Next, While the wife was away in the UK for a couple days, I tore out the ugly (though useful) book shelf thing in the living room and replaced it with a wall. Why? you may ask... Well, mainly because the wife hated it and because we wanted to hang our TV on that wall.
      Here are some of the progress pics.
      (before)
      IMG_1228
      (shelf gone)
      IMG_1236
      (wall up)
      IMG_1252

      Finished the first coat of mud and then left it be until the major reno started.

      About 3 weeks later, the wife then went back to the UK for 2 weeks so I took the opportunity to tackle a bit more of the upstairs.

      I must premise though, this is my first ever attempt at home renovation. I don't consider myself to be completely green though. I've helped friends with menial tasks here and there over the years, but this definitely eclipses anything I'd attempted to this point.

      Carpet tear out time! Good bye 30+ year old shag!!
      IMG_1463
      IMG_1467
      The dust and crap was horrendous! Luckily my day job has me working in a fab shop so I was able to pilfer a couple decent dust masks and eye protection. Then it was time to yank out all the staples and trim/nails etc. and properly screw the floor down with 2 1/4" screws every foot or so, in between the existing nails. (This is a must if you don't want a squeaky floor)

      Once that was done, it was paint time. Wifey picked a colour, I got one as close as i could find... and presto-change-o!
      IMG_1487
      IMG_1488
      Flooring install, commence!
      Getting that first row was a bit time consuming, specially with the two floor vents I had to contend with. But once they were out of the way, it was smooth sailing. I had a little help from a couple friends, but they were more handy with drinking my beer and eating the pizza!
      We finished off the living room, 97.5% of the dining room and then about 65% of the hallway by the time we called it a night. The pieces we had left were basically ones that would require a table saw. Up to this point, I was using my dad's 25 yr old Craftsman Chop-Saw and my newly purchased B&D Circ-Saw. We were doing rip cuts with the circ-saw but it was taking so much time to set up and get a quality cut, i just couldn't be bothered. I ended up going out and buying a cheapy Ryobi table saw for $129 from everyone's favorite DIY store.
      Finally finished the last few pieces this past Sunday and I'm very happy with the results.
      (first rows)
      IMG_1490
      (living room and hallway progress)
      IMG_1492
      (living room done)
      IMG_1493
      (hallway to bathroom)
      Picture 042
      (dining room)
      Picture 043

      And finally, a picture of the living room (sans-trim)

      IMG_1539

      Don't worry, those curtains are going to be discarded as well.

      Anyway, that's all for now. Pretty please with myself

      Next project is finish the trim and the entrance hallway, then on to the rebuilding a nice new fence so we don't look like hobo's any more!

      Cheers!
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    10. Member jerseygli's Avatar
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      04-24-2012 07:34 PM #10
      floors are glorious

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      04-24-2012 10:37 PM #11
      Great progress! It's starting to look much more modern already. Being from Toronto, it sounds like you got a really good deal on that house!
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    12. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 01:10 AM #12
      Are those the original 1976 windows? On a typical 1976 split level in New England, the original windows are pretty low end and well beyond their useful life. Most owners have installed replacement windows since the heat savings from lowE/argon-filled glass pays for the project pretty quickly. It also lets you get rid of the heavy insulated drapes. Did your "well known Mennonite builder" use better windows?

    13. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 08:46 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
      Are those the original 1976 windows? On a typical 1976 split level in New England, the original windows are pretty low end and well beyond their useful life. Most owners have installed replacement windows since the heat savings from lowE/argon-filled glass pays for the project pretty quickly. It also lets you get rid of the heavy insulated drapes. Did your "well known Mennonite builder" use better windows?
      I believe they are orig., yes. I've had the house quoted for total R&R (Including all exterior doors) and I'm somewhere in the region of $10-$12K. As far as the windows paying for itself quickly, do the math there. My top end heating bill in the dead of winter is about $150/month. So if i replace the windows and expect a 50% reduction in my heating bill... it would take over 12 years to recoup the costs. And really, I don't even know how much of a reduction i will see... if its 25% I'm over 20 years to recoup... so who knows?

      Nonetheless, I'll only be doing a couple at a time for now. They are tatty looking and the ones at ground level should be replaced, if for no other reason then security. Same goes with the doors too.

      ****

      Thanks for all the comments, everyone!
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    14. Member VW1.8Tsunami's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 10:49 AM #14
      Love the floors. Got any pics of where the floor and stairs meet?
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    15. Senior Member spockcat's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 11:13 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by vdubguru View Post
      Typically when you change from one type of flooring to another at a doorway it is good to use a threshold. And the best threshold is one that is the same height as the flooring if possible.


    16. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 02:27 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by VW1.8Tsunami View Post
      Love the floors. Got any pics of where the floor and stairs meet?
      ah! funny you should ask! haven't gotten that quite sorted yet. I'm going to be getting the stairs re-covered soon so I'm waiting until that's done to sort that bit.... not looking forward to it though!
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    17. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 02:28 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by spockcat View Post
      Typically when you change from one type of flooring to another at a doorway it is good to use a threshold. And the best threshold is one that is the same height as the flooring if possible.

      I have transitions on order for all the doorways. You can get them direct from Armstrong (maker of the flooring). You can't really see it in those pics, but I left a gap for just that.

      Good eye!
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      04-25-2012 03:32 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by vdubguru View Post
      ah! funny you should ask! haven't gotten that quite sorted yet. I'm going to be getting the stairs re-covered soon so I'm waiting until that's done to sort that bit.... not looking forward to it though!
      Haha EVERYONE I've talked to has said stairs are a major PITA. I have a feeling mine will be in a similar state for a little while.
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      04-25-2012 04:29 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by vdubguru View Post
      As far as the windows paying for itself quickly, do the math there. My top end heating bill in the dead of winter is about $150/month.
      Natural gas. Canada. Right.

      The numbers are quite different in Vermont where your options are oil or propane.

    20. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      04-26-2012 09:03 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
      Natural gas. Canada. Right.

      The numbers are quite different in Vermont where your options are oil or propane.


      And that's with a 20 year old furnace. Once I replace that, I'll see some serious savings!
      You have to take into account that it's 1,100 sqft bungalow - pretty easy to heat/cool.

      Cheers!
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      04-26-2012 04:04 PM #21
      Nice progress
      Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?

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      05-10-2012 09:08 AM #22
      Looking really good so far! LOVE the floors and wall color.

      I definitely see potential in the home. What are your plans for the room (downstairs?) with all of the wood plank walls? Are you going to remove the wood or paint over it? (I'm curious because I recently fell in love with a home that is FILLED with wood walls).

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      05-10-2012 01:07 PM #23
      Paint over natural wood makes me cry (except for trim) My father had these beautiful walnut cabinets in his kitchen. It was probably the only high-end detail in the whole house. His second wife painted them white
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    24. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      05-11-2012 07:37 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Egilbe View Post
      Paint over natural wood makes me cry (except for trim) My father had these beautiful walnut cabinets in his kitchen. It was probably the only high-end detail in the whole house. His second wife painted them white
      Normally i would agree with you... however, these cupboards are just so trashed. the pictures don't really tell the whole story. At any rate, we've not painted them yet and due to both time and money constraints - it's not happening anytime soon, lol. I have a hard time with spending money on something that is going to get thrown away in the near future.
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    25. Member vdubguru's Avatar
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      05-11-2012 07:43 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjunkie View Post
      Looking really good so far! LOVE the floors and wall color.

      I definitely see potential in the home. What are your plans for the room (downstairs?) with all of the wood plank walls? Are you going to remove the wood or paint over it? (I'm curious because I recently fell in love with a home that is FILLED with wood walls).
      Thanks for the compliments!

      Yes, its going to be easy to make our money back on this place when we decide to move on. I'm really not too sure about the down stairs yet. I haven't given it much thought yet. I've seen the paint over the wood paneling done before and I don't disagree that it looks pretty alright. But, there is just something about it that looks half finished. I guess it all come down to available funds at the time. I've even heard of people that fill the gaps in the paneling to make it looks smooth, but I'd be afraid it would be damaged if someone where to lean up against the wall and there was any flex. Not to mention, for all the time spent, it would probably be more worth while to just re-drywall.
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      05-11-2012 08:34 AM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by vdubguru View Post
      Normally i would agree with you... however, these cupboards are just so trashed. the pictures don't really tell the whole story. At any rate, we've not painted them yet and due to both time and money constraints - it's not happening anytime soon, lol. I have a hard time with spending money on something that is going to get thrown away in the near future.

      What are the cabinets; dark stained pine? You will be lucky if a coat of white paint even helps them. They look really bad and dated now.

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      05-11-2012 08:54 AM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by vdubguru View Post
      Thanks for the compliments!

      Yes, its going to be easy to make our money back on this place when we decide to move on. I'm really not too sure about the down stairs yet. I haven't given it much thought yet. I've seen the paint over the wood paneling done before and I don't disagree that it looks pretty alright. But, there is just something about it that looks half finished. I guess it all come down to available funds at the time. I've even heard of people that fill the gaps in the paneling to make it looks smooth, but I'd be afraid it would be damaged if someone where to lean up against the wall and there was any flex. Not to mention, for all the time spent, it would probably be more worth while to just re-drywall.
      Yeah, it's hard to say what would look best. I think the painted wood can look kind of cottage-y, but I know not everyone likes that look.

      I found this blog that has before and afters photos of someone who painted over their wood. Thought you might want to see it.

      http://willowdecor.blogspot.com/2010...ach-house.html

      Sample:

      Last edited by firefighterjunkie; 05-11-2012 at 09:07 AM.

    28. Member Sizzla's Avatar
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      05-11-2012 09:56 AM #28
      Congrats!

      Enjoy your new home!!

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