Archive for February, 2010

We installed new double pane airtight Marvin windows

Marvin Windows in wood

We recycled the steel we took off (the siding)

Steel siding

We repaired the original wood siding and stripped and repainted by hand

We used non toxic paint inside

We bought the highest effeciency appliances we could afford


Bosch and Wolf

We bought a dual flush toilet

We installed a new high efficiency gas furnace

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To save thousands of dollars, which you really need these days, and much pain and aggravation, from our personal experience, here are the top ten renovation tips for renovating an old home on a tight budget:

1) TIP:Old Wood: Problem: We did not want to pull up the original old fir floors and it was damaged

Solution: We kept it, sanded it, refinished it  and the damaged parts we filled in with wood putty

2) TIP: it took 2 hours at the showroom for me to make a decision about Marmoleum choices, after having brought multiple samples home for a week to try and design a look with them.  If you have a friend who is an artist bring them along, it will help to bounce ideas back and forth.


3) TIP:  Never give your contractor keys to the house.  If you are in the house and they come in they might find you in your underwear or in the shower.  Some of them have no boundaries and do not respect the schedule you might have given.  Set strict guidelines about working hours.  You don’t want 6:30am surprises or workers hanging around past your bedtime.

4) TIP: Get a copy of each contractors drivers license.  This might prevent theft.

5) TIP:  Keep your eye on your contractor as he works.  He is not interested in making perfect rectangles in your wall unless you draw them yourself.  Also ask him to repair any damage he might cause ahead of the fact.  There is always damage and they always refuse to repair it, saying it was not in the contract.

6) TIP:  Watch your workers carefully!  They will take shortcuts and not pay attention to detail!

7) TIP:  Always ask for references of previous clients, phone numbers included.  Call them and go see the work if possible or ask to see pictures

8) TIP: Make sure all delivered materials are opened and checked ASAP by yourself and the contractor who will be doing the work.  Often the pieces that are missing delay the whole project

9) TIP: sometimes getting permits, even if not required by the city, prevents bad construction from a contractor

10) TIP: Get a street container or put everything in storage.  We had too much stuff and it all had to be moved around constantly.  It all got very dusty and had me cleaning nonstop.

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Strolling the neighborhood, with John and Fellini, I bring my Canon digital to snap a few photos of buds in bloom and am pleasantly surprised when I find aplenty!  Although chilly, the air holds promise, the best season in Portland in our opinion, when the burst of newly born energy curses through the branches and the earth explodes in green shoots with little purple, yellow and white heads!  We are out of darkness, now we know for sure!

I am cleaning the garden, planting fruit trees and waiting for my tulips to display their lovely egg shaped heads!

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