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Brittahyttaversary
australia, ocean
brittadotcom
One year ago today my offer was finally accepted on my house, escrow began & I started mentally remodeling, researching & buying things for when the house became officially mine on Dec 9th. Since I'm taking the holidays off from remodeling in favor of decorating for Christmas (hooray!), I think this is a good time for a recap. :)

I have gotten a lot done in the past year, but there is still plenty to do, most obviously the kitchen. I recapped the first Eight Months of Effort before, and since then it was mostly the backyard sprinkler system, brick work, vacation & Halloween, so this time I'll give my wish list of what I hope to do in 2007.


Inside projects

Finish the living room/hallway
Finish faux wood effect on already-painted beams
Finish spackling texture, then paint beige with faux stone effect on walls
Decide on ceiling between beams - wood plank effect or white, a la Tudor cottages?

Finish master bedroom
Paint beams with same antiquing treatment as living room
Spackle & paint walls with same faux stone effect as living room
Need some small wall shelves to be able to display more accessories

Mantel on fireplace?
I am sorely lacking in accessory display space in my living room vs. previous places. Having no fireplace mantel sure isn't helping, but I haven't found anything I like stylewise to go on my plain brick fireplace. I think I'll wait until the faux stone on the walls is done to see the overall look before deciding on mantels.

New bathroom vanities
What I find are either too plain to way too fancy for what I want. I might end up adding trim to enhance some stock vanity cabinets with a decent sink, but my bathrooms look nice enough otherwise now that these fake wood look pressboard cultured marble vanities are the "one of these things is not like the other" effect in both bathrooms.

New bathroom toilets?
The existing toilets work okay but are basic & darn near ugly. I can't even get the sticker off the guest bathroom tank! It would be nice to replace them to go along with new vanities, nice & pretty.

New shower doors?
The guest bathroom shower door is fussy & gets off the track really easily, so I'll investigate what it'll be to replace just the doors, since the tubs & tile surrounds are still in good enough shape I don't want to tackle those yet.

Figure out or replace sliding door key lock
The sellers had a key to unlock the sliding door from the patio, so you could use the back garage door & come into the house through the kitchen, but I could never get it to lock again after unlocking, so we installed a deadbolt instead. If I can make the keylock usable, I might not attempt to install a garage door in the kitchen remodel.

Finally refresh couch cushions?
My reupholstery job on my couch & love seat is 10 years old already, and it's still in good shape & I still like it & like the fabric, but the seat cushions are getting pretty mashed. I think a thorough cleaning would be enough for the fabric at least. We'll see if I earn enough free fabric points to get some good foam rubber to be stiff enough inside the seat cushions, since just loose stuffing won't hack it.

Kitchen remodel
New real solid cabinets all the way to ceiling for sure - wasted clutter space up top for now
Redesign counter space for maximum usability (kind of skinny now vs the kitchen space in general)
New fridge, but dishwasher & oven still fine for now
New sink? not sure, the faucet & disposal are new & match the existing stainless steel double sink well
...also including hidden cat litter box somehow in lower cabinetry off to the side, obviously quaratined from foodstuffs & cookware! Honestly the kitchen probably won't get started until 2008 because I'd rather do the giant project listed at the end in the spring to get the rebate, then it'll be going into party season starting with Halloween... We'll see!



Outside projects

Finish cracking out the back side pathway
Yes, what Cyd & I started last April is still not done. It's very close to the concrete being cracked & hauled to the back corner, and I have brick & sand left for my stepping stone plan. Brick stepping stones will blend with the patio around the corner but not look weird with the concrete patio breaking up the visual flow, plus stepping stones vs. a solid walkway will give me more room to plant along the fence. I'm thinking the vines will grow on the fence, but inbetween stepping stones I can have my herbs, like sage, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Try making a stacked stone wall out of concrete scraps for the backyard flowerbeds?
Yes, this might look like very cool or just look like crap, but I won't know until I try, and something must be done with all the old pathway concrete anyway...if the stacked wall doesn't work out, then I'll just have to get rid of the concrete some other way.

Brick walkway across the front yard, between driveway & front walkway
With a path across the front yard, it would be much easier to access the flowerbed & mow the front lawn, plus get from the garage to the front door, which is what I do all the time every day.

Replace concrete front walkway with brick?
I think it would look nice to continue with brick pathways from the street up to my front porch, then to the gate to meet up with the back walkway. This would tie in nicely with the pathway across the yard (see above) plus tie in with the brick chimney so prominent on the front of my house. I will need to by more brick & sand do to this, plus I'd need to be more timely, since the concrete would need to be cracked out first, and I can't leave the front of my house ugly & with no walkway for too long.

Refinish the concrete patios
I got the sparkly paint crud off the patios, revealing aqua painted cracked & pitted concrete, so I need to do something about these patios. I think the most feasible plan to do myself is to get the crack filler for the cracks & pitting, then I was recommended by the landscaping guys who helped me haul the brick to use Killz as a primer since it sticks to EVERYTHING, including concrete, and I can get the Killz tinted to a nice tan color that will blend with the walls & my canvas curtains. However if I redo my roof & include replacing the metal patio roof with real roof (see below), then I'll wait until after that's done.

Landscaping the backyard
Now that the basic hardscaping in the back is mostly done with the brick patio & walkway, I can actually start planting & rearranging! I had a hard time resisting buying plants last spring, but I restrained since I wanted to know where to put them before I bought anything really cool. I have to figure out how I can work vegetables into decorative planting, since there's no obvious place for a separate vegetable garden in this yard. That unfortunately probably means no pumpkins or corn for Halloween season...darn! ;)


...and the biggest & most expensive dream that requires copious research first

Home Solar System
solar home system panels on low-rise roof, connected to city grid to sell back unused power
air conditioning with existing ductwork (probably should replace 20-yr-old furnace at the same time)
(water heater is also at least 20 yrs old)
(probably new roof since within 5 yrs of needing new roof anyway)
(new skylights in new roof?)
(if new roof, might as well replace nasty metal patio roof with real roof?)

My gut expectation is probably $20K for all that, but I can get a $3/W rebate for the solar through June 30th, which should be a few thousand back, when the next year rebate plan will be less each year, so this would be a nice spring project if I can sell a bunch of company options at a good price to cover most of it. The AC wouldn't be used very often, but probably for summer parties, and there were a couple weeks I really needed it even to sleep at night. Having it able to run off my own power wouldn't make me feel guilty, plus even though I know that the payback over time is a long-term investment, I really like the idea of contributing in a positive way towards green energy, since even if I don't make my money back completely, I've invested in the future for the greater good.

This requires me gathering all my electrical bills over the past year, getting an appt for an energy audit & solar system estimate before I investigate anything else. If they tell me it's completely pointless due to the lack of insulation or the way my house is situated on my lot, then I guess I stop there. However, since my roof is so low-angle, I suspect I could put panels on the whole thing & even though they don't face south at the standard roof pitch angle, they should get decent sun exposure the majority of the day. Bonus with the low angle is that you wouldn't see any panels from ground level. Drawback is that it might overprice my house for the neighborhood vs. getting my money out of a future sale price, but see the last paragraph that I'm willing to take that as a financial loss since I think the positive contributions outweigh that concern.


So, I think all that will be keeping me busy for quite awhile yet...and that's just the house projects, not the parties, website work, video editing, or party book writing that I also want to do too! There have never been enough hours in the day for me, ever since I can remember...

Happy Friday everyone!

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Sounds like a great list of projects. :-)


With regard to the home improvements, based on prospective growth of your company is it worth it to sell the options now or take out a home equity loan, and be able to write off the interest expense for the loan on your taxes? You probably have a nice chunk o' equity based on the improvements you made. I'm sure you got a wee tad of equity due to housing prices anyway.

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