Home projects and holdups

Home projects and holdups

When we bought our house, there were some obvious upgrades that we wanted to make.  I jotted down a short-term list, 1 year list, and 5 year list shortly after we moved in.  We’ve completed a few of the short-term projects…well, mostly Lo, and we started looking into the bigger projects so we could budget accordingly.

Our main need is a garage.  There isn’t one at all.  It’s possible that the master bedroom was a garage at some point, but that means they must have added the basement under the master after that?  Either way, we need the master, so we either need to have an attached garage built in front of the master, or a detached garage built next to it.  Obviously, attached is preferred, but requires more work and expense.  Since we were going to be meeting with contractors, we decided to price a second story addition on top of the master bedroom to add an upstairs master.  It would be easier for us for as long as we have young kids, and the other master could be used as a guest room and/or den in the meantime.  We honestly had/have no idea what to expect this to cost.  It’d only be about 300 sq. feet addition and wouldn’t necessarily require plumbing changes- plus there is an easy way to connect it to the current upstairs.  Obviously it requires roofing replacement on that section of the house, so we knew it wouldn’t be cheap, but how bad could it be?

We’d like to have a garage by the end of the year, but we are struggling to find good contractors out here.  In Columbus, they are a dime a dozen and are responsive – plus I could get a ton of referrals from friends.  But out here, not so much.  Columbus contractors won’t come out this far, and we don’t know many people in this area to make recommendations.  We’ve had about 4-5 come out and have only received 1 “real” quote so far.  It was about double what we were expecting.  Another contractor ballparked a figure for us during the first meeting, and it was laughable.  The upper end for the addition was more than we paid for the entire house and property.  There was supposed to be an Amish man coming out in August, but he didn’t make it out and we haven’t heard back.  While we’ll still get a quote for the addition, we are all but forgetting that pipe dream based on the other quotes.  It’s not necessary, and it’s certainly not worth taking out a loan to do it.  Update from when I first wrote this: We are leaning towards doing a pole barn type garage at this point because it’s likely going to have to be detached anyway.  It’ll still be close to the house, and we’ll have a covered walkway from the door outside the master bedroom, so it won’t be too bad.

Assuming we can get the garage built at a reasonable price (and not the ballpark $50-$60k figure we were given), we have some other projects that we’ll decide on instead of doing the addition.  Our list is expensive, but we’ll do what we can, when we can.

  • Replacing the 9 old windows (though its actually more than that because some count as multiple windows).  We got another laughable quote of $17,000 from Larmco.  Yes, $17k.  The whole sales pitch/salesman was shady…wouldn’t give a price for specific windows – just a random “package price” for the whole project, which he wrote down on a business card instead of giving us an actual quote.  Zen Windows gave me exact prices for the various levels of windows (about $500-$700 per) and seem like they have a quality product, honest company, and great reviews, so we’ll probably go with them.  It’s likely we’ll do 3-4 at a time, instead of dropping $5k+ on all of them at once.
  • Extending the backyard fence to wrap around to the front of the house and side patio.  I didn’t fully price out fencing, but if we continue the chainlink in the back and nice fencing around the front, we may be able to keep that around $3k (that’s a very loose guess).
  • Rebuilding the back porch and/or adding a small patio area in the backyard.  I have no idea of the cost for this – it depends on what we decide on, and we wouldn’t even think about this until next year.  While we are having the concrete poured for the garage, maybe we’ll have them pour a patio area in the back…or replace the concrete under the front patio, but who knows.

Projects that we want to do regardless of the construction decisions:

  • Planting a row of trees along the road to block some of the road noise.  There are a few spaces along the property line that could be filled in for more privacy with some sort of smaller pine trees.  I’d like to plant 5 this fall, and then 5 more in the spring.  We also have 2 mostly dead trees in the front yard that will need cut down within a year.  We’ve already paid for the trees from a guy I used to play volleyball with, so we just have to pick them up and plant them.
  • Adding a bathroom vent to the main bath.  There’s no vent and the window is painted shut, so it get stuffy and steamy in there like crazy.  We are going to have mold issues if we don’t do something.  I got one quote so far and we may just go with it, since it’s a legit company that we’ve heard of before (considering how it’s hard to find people around here to do work)  I’d like to redecorate that bathroom, but that needs to wait until then for the painting.
  • We need to get the nursery area done.  It’s currently the little nook outside the upstairs bathroom, but if we put a door on it, it’ll work great for a small nursery.  We thought “we” had a little drywall repair to do from a roof leak we had repaired, but when my sister’s fam was here for Jenson’s bday party, she informed me it was actually painted wallpaper peeling off that we needed to take down, and that the drywall was probably fine.  So that’s going to be fun – and it needs to happen soon.  And oh- the painted wallpaper is also on the ceiling.


  • Redoing the stairwell rails.  The rails on the stairs were too far apart to be safe for kids anyway, but we also had to knock two of them out to get the beds upstairs when we moved, so it needs fixed.  Jenson is good about the stairs and we aren’t too worried about him (until he starts walking down on his own), but we have to think about if the new baby isn’t as good as Jenson (and we might as well bank on that, because Jenson’s a pretty good kid).
  • Replacing the exterior doors.  The back door is probably fine for now because it’s pretty tight, plus there’s a storm door on that one.  The two front doors (I never know what to call these…there’s the real front door, and then there’s the other door in the front that leads to the small entryway outside of the bedroom) – but anyway, they both need replaced.  They are old wooden doors and they are NOT airtight.

There are more projects on our radar (aren’t there always), but most are just redecorating or refinishing things and should cost less than $100-$200.  My parents own a house that is well over 100 years old…my sister owns a house that is over 100 years old…so I sort of knew what we were getting into owning a house that’s 65 years old.  Basically, you are never finished.

Leave a Reply