Archive for the ‘the truth of renovation’ Category









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our sewer line is being replaced! OMG Portland makes you do this if your sewer joins another’s and if you want to either sell your house or add a second bathroom, and at the tune of $6000 or so you are obliged to do it

side view near house

another side view

mud and holes and pipes

john staring down the deep hole

our lovely back yard

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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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House Renovation 101 “the awful truth”

House renovation, often done as a necessity, does not have to be the headache that homeowners like us endured. In the United States there are over 285,000 original Victorians alone, not counting any older homes built after that period. The house that needs a complete renovation can create lots of stress and drive one to sheer insanity that leaves little time for enjoyment of the actual process.
We all live in a house, or an apartment, and often need to revise the living layout, such as it is, and often invest much time and energy in rethinking it and restructuring it. Familiarity with events that might occur during such a reconstruction will help the homeowner better understand the road ahead and help them examine their own possible responses. The first step is to know the extent of the renovation and then how to achieve it, step by step.

How to do a Home Renovation?

We all understand the concept of deconstruction and rebuilding, and we may have experienced it first hand. Renovation, is a long process, with possible symptoms of unpleasantness, lethargy, sadness, agitation, irritation and ultimately (haha) suicidal/homicidal thoughts. There are many ways to deal with these emotions, but you have to have a master plan. One way to do it is to get three general contractors to look over your project and give you estimates, which will be exorbitant, and another way to do it is to act as your own general contractor and hire each subcontractor separately. One way to better understand this is to imagine that the renovating process can take twice as long if you are your own general contractor, especially if you are hiring people from Craigslist, the phone book or Angie’s list. If you do hire one of these people, expect to frequently have to deal with lack of respect, misunderstandings and other unpleasant feelings. You may feel like they are in charge of your project, not you.

What is the best way to renovate an older house?

If you have some money in savings and can get more from a second mortgage, go for it. The most important fact to remember is that housing always appreciates, you will always get your money back, especially if you hold on to it for a few years. As a real estate agent in New Jersey, where I lived for five years in a 1914 Four Square Sears Catalog Home I renovated with my husband and subcontractors, I saw real estate shoot through the roof. Making a profit is always possible but also a different thing all together. It’s impossible to renovate unless you have the drive and the stamina. If you live in the house during the process it is even more difficult. Your initial ideas may seem either undoable or even impossible to achieve. You may also think it will cost too much and you will never get your money back. No matter what the project, or the extent of it, there is always the possibility of complete chaos and dissatisfaction with it. Renovation, it turns out, is simply not what people look forward to, unless they are truly desperate (off-kilter).

The hysteria behind renovating

Renovating old homes has become more and more popular, as can be seen in numerous home magazines on the market. There is no question that house renovation as a whole has increased significantly. There’s a reason for this. New homes are too expensive and people would rather buy an old home and fix it up, one step at a time. But for many people renovation is not only a choice it is a must. In other words, if a person buys a house with a wet basement, they will definitely become instant renovators. In fact, they can become very serious about rehauling much of the plumbing and all of the bathrooms. But unless the homeowner has funds and the desire and time, there is no chance they will delve into any serious time consuming renovation.

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