Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Home Improvement

We finally finished up a series of home improvement projects that have been in the idea phase for about a year and the implementation phase for about four months.  We live in a colonial that was built in 1994 so the house is fairly modern.  The previous owners put flooring in about 50% of the main level and remodeled the master en suite bath.

Our recent projects were in the kitchen and living room.  The kitchen had become a source of consternation primarily due to the sink.  It was an enamel coated iron sink that while attractive did not lend itself to staying clean.  Water would pool around the edges and the caulking was constantly getting moldy despite the very low humidity.  The answer was an under mount sink.  To get there we started with professionally installed granite counter tops.  Everything looked great except for the unfinished wall where the laminate counter tops were removed.  This meant a back splash.  We decided to go with professionally installed ceramic tile.

The living room project was straight forward.  The carpet was a sore spot since we moved in.  The purchase price was slightly lower as all of the carpeting in the house should have been replaced.  We put this off for a number of years.  The carpet had been steam cleaned three times and despite being “clean,” looked pretty dirty.  When pricing new carpeting we went ahead and made the leap to hardwood flooring.  The room was about 400 square feet.  It was not an overwhelming project, but a very nice upgrade to the home.

The big challenge was figuring out exactly what we wanted.  We got multiple bids, but they were not always apples to apples.  We primarily worked towards a competitive price with companies we felt comfortable with and then dialed in the materials.  In the future, I will be more apt to consult with an interior designer.  While my wife and I have mainstream tastes, we are not the most decisive people on the planet.  Having a designer select slabs, stain color and tile color would have saved us a lot of headache and only increased our costs 5-10%.

The smaller challenge was coordinating the installation crews.  We did not have a general contractor and instead were scheduling plumbers, counter top installers, flooring installers and tile installers.  This was a logistical challenge as my wife and I have busy schedules that don't always lend themselves to installers schedules

In the end, I love the results and am ready to take another 3 year break from home improvement.

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