Living Room Photos:
Original (1)   |   "Remodeled" (1)
Original (2)   |   "Remodeled" (2)
During
YARRRRR!(d):
Early Spring   |   Front Yard
Hyacinth   |   Smells like Coffee?!?
Lotsa Lilacs   |   Tulip Tiptoe
Flower Bed   |   Azaleas
Pink Tree   |   Rhododendron
Floors -n- Doors!:
Original (1)   |   "Remodeled" (1)
Original (2)   |   "Remodeled" (2)
Trim!:
Dining Room   |   Dining Room (detail)
Living Room   |   Living Room (detail)
Bedroom 1   |   Bedroom 2
Amy's Home Journal
One woman's quest to transform her first house from "Sh*t Hole-y" to "Holy Sh*t!"
STUFF I'VE DONE SO FAR PAIN-O-METER
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GORY DETAILS
Install Dishwasher (and other related afterthought projects) -----[+]--------------- This task wasn't too crap an experience. Took about 3 days (there was no dishwasher at all before so it was a fresh install). Of course, I couldn't *just* add a dishwasher all by it's lonely self. O' unctious nay! So, after talking with my easygoing handyman/contractor, I was convinced that... well, after all, "while we're in there" we might as well replace the sink and put in a garbage disposal too. So we did. A one day job turned into three, but it was money well spent. I got some new electrical plugs and plumbing as a bonus. Eventually, I'll even be able to put in one of those spiffy hot water dispensers.

Note: this project marks the beginning of my migration towards stainless steel appliances. It's one of them ultra quiet dishwashers too, but I'll reserve ultimate judgement on the LG LDS5811ST until I've had it a few months. For now though: Swellanky!

Lesson Learned:
PERMITS, SHMERMITS.
ALSO, BEWARE OF USING THE PHRASE: "WHILE WE'RE IN THERE" WHEN TALKING TO YOUR CONTRACTOR. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH CONTRACTOR-ESE FOR "SCOPE CREEP".
Install Picture Rail --[+]------------------ Suprisingly easy! Makes me want to buy my own compound miter saw. Maybe I will, after I get the sawzall, leaf blower, table saw, dishwasher, and counter-depth refrigerator!

Lesson Learned:
DON'T GET USED TO THINGS WORKING OUT, BECAUSE IT PROBABLY WON'T NEXT TIME AND YOU'RE JUST SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR DISSAPPOINTMENT.
Refinish hardwood/softwood floors --------------------[+] Holy. Hell. This sucked. Took nearly 2 months to complete fully.

The first step - ripping up the carpet - was easy in terms of time, but not in terms of offense to olfactory systems. The task of actually carrying the filthy berber out of the house involved rolling it up, and hoisting it onto my narrow, bourgeois shoulders. This inevitably brought my delicate, elfin face in direct contact with 10+ years of pure grode. Effing yuk. Also, some blood was shed taking up the tacking strip. Tetanus anyone?

The flooring contractors, while skilled, were also hilariously unreliable. Some floors were in an unfinished state for nearly a month, while the flooring I had installed took about 7 weeks to arrive. Snowstorms on the east coast were blamed. I remain dubious of the explanation, but pleased with the end result (and price).

Lesson Learned:
BUY A HOUSE THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE FLOORS REFINISHED
Paint ----------------[+]--- Not technically completed. I still have about 50 paint cans strewn across the various storage areas of my house. I chose to repaint nearly everything, and don't really regret that decision, but I do regret re-painting several rooms over and over.

Lesson Learned:
HAVE A PLAN.
NOTE: PLAN SHOULD NOT INCLUDE BEHR "MOONLIGHT LILAC" UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Stripped paint off of fireplace ----[+]------------ Once I surrendered myself to the almighty power of Jasco, this task was quickly completed. On the downside, I seem to have forgotten where I left my car.

Lesson Learned:
JASCO
Fixed leaky kitchen sink ----------[+]------ Not technically difficult because I didn't personally lift a dainty finger, but trying to get my home warranty people to actually move on it was comical. The "plumber" that was initially assigned to me had no idea what was going on, and was most certainly not even a plumber by trade, rather a new hire of some nebulous "services" company. He poked tentatively at the spot where water was gushing down in the basement, and declared "yeah, looks like there's a leak". I had to look at my watch to make sure it wasn't 4:20.

It took them another 12 days to even call me back to set an appointment to really get it fixed. This appointment was rescheduled 3 times over the next 2 weeks. Of course, they wouldn't tell me that they couldn't make it until I had already taken the time off from work and was sitting at home waiting for them. Usually, the call would come about an hour after their scheduled arrival.

I casually mentioned this to Randy, the realtor who got me into this place. I guess he must have pulled a few strings, because within 2 days of HIS phone call, a real plumber was out here. Thanks, American Home Warranty!

Bastards.

Lesson Learned:
GO CRYING TO THE REALTOR WHEN STUFF BREAKS
New Lawn ---[+]------------- We brought 5 yards of dirt into the backyard to shore up the two uneven grassy areas. Grass seed was strewn also. It's starting to fill in now, several weeks later. Amusingly, it appears to be coming up in patches - precisely the look I was hoping to eliminate. Sweet.

Lesson Learned:
NONE YET. IF THIS TURNS OUT PATCHY I AM GOING TO BE SUPER ANGRY
UPDATE: YEP, THAT'S PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.
New Interior Doors ---[+]------------- Suprisingly easy with the right tools. I had most of the right tools, luckily, and probably more importantly - my doors are standard size.

Lesson Learned:
IF (door)
   THEN (router + table saw)
   ELSE (forget it)
END IF
Chimney Sweep [+]---------------- British Brush - highly recommended, and in fact, British. Accent guaranteed! Surely the most charming way known to man to get your wood-burning chimney cleaned.
STUFF TO DO
(MORE OR LESS)
PAIN-O-METER
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(PROJECTED)
GORY DETAILS
(AS IMAGINED)
Yard -------------[+]--- In my mind's eye, I envision Butchart Gardens in my backyard. In reality, I suspect it'll be more like a Walmart Waterloo
STATUS: WELL, STUFF DOES APPEAR TO BE GROWING IN THE YARD. I GUESS THAT'S SOMETHING?
Electrical Stuff ----------[$]------ The [$] denotes the belief that probably more money than effort will be expended in this task, yet as I have been exceptionally lazy in completing my freelance work, money is effort in and of itself.

I want to add some exterior outlets, re-work some interior switches, and add capacity for a bathroom fan/heat lamp and a kitchen dishwasher. Also, while they're in there I want to wire some other stuff to pleasing locations, like cable tv connections, and speakers and stuff. Also, I want to put in some motion lights so I can be cruelly awakened every time a raccoon violates the inner sanctum of my backyard.
STATUS: partially DONE!
Install Dishwasher -----------[+]----- There'll be several steps involved with this task. Electrical first, then plumbing, then carpenter. I've never trusted the Carpenters. Why do birds suddenly appear? GOOD QUESTION! That one lady was anorexic and died and that's sad.
STATUS: DONE!
Fix da Toilet ---[+]------------- It flushes funny and I don't like it
STATUS: DONE! SORTA! WHATEVER I DID DIDN'T MAKE A LICK OF DIFFERENCE!
Drain water heater ------[+]---------- My spider sense is tingling! And it's telling me that there's at least 6 nasty inches of built up sludge in there.
STATUS: DONE! and time to do it again...
New Tub/Shower ----------------[+] This task will surely suck. I've only got one bathroom, so I'll probably be forced to wash my hair in the sink and shower at the mercy of friends.

Anyway, I hate the shower enclosure that I've got. It is almond in color and fiberglass in construct. The tub is also too shallow to accomodate a human adult, much less one human adult plus two furious cats.

Bottom line: Bathroom bathing fixture, you gotta go. You're cramping my style and you're fugly.
STATUS: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! NOT EVEN EFFING CLOSE TO DONE!
Kitchen Upgrade ----------------[+] So...here's the scoop. My kitchen is functional, and it's layout is actually of great utility in a single person household, but it's obvious that it was done on the cheap. We're talking Home Depot fire sale cheap. Apparently, laminate countertops in 1986 meant running a painted piece of plywood through the same laminating machine that gave our high school student ID cards that classy gloss finish. Apart from the dishwasher, the appliances are of the lowest possible grade, as are the cabinets, flooring, and lighting.

I plan to change all this, of course, and make this as excellent a cooking area as is possible given the space I am confined to. I think I'm up to the challenge!
STATUS: PLEASE LOAN ME FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. K THX.