Thursday, June 3, 2010

This Old House

This week's Girl Talk Thursday topic is about Home Projects...Renovations, Requests for Help/Ideas

Did somebody say home projects?  Because my ears just pricked up, and maybe I even just started drooling a little.  You’d think that between working and raising three young boys (and let’s face it, a husband), I would jump at the chance on the weekends between soccer games, planning meals, grocery shopping, and cleaning the house to maybe…relax? (Nah.) Exercise? (hah!)

It seems that in those spare moments during the crazy boyfest that is my life, what I truly hunger for is…home improvement. Maybe it’s because our first house was a shithole (and I mean that as affectionately as possible).  Let's face it, a teacher and a law student amassing large student loan debt deciding to get married aren't exactly positioned to purchase their dream home.  In 2002, we bought a one-story Victorian 'fixer-upper' in an 'up-and-coming' neighborhood near downtown Denver.  Who needs a neighborhood coffee shop?  We had a neighborhood prostitute (an amenity that the realtor conveniently failed to mention).  To get an idea of what shape the house was in, our entire backyard was asphalt, thanks to a prior owner's 'home improvement'.  Aptly named--a shithole.

We knew that buying a house built in 1886 (with the original roof!) would necessitate a crash course in home improvement--we refinished and partially replaced hardwood floors, painted walls, exposed transom windows, plumbed and drywalled a shower, replaced countertops, laid tile, and built a deck and raised flower beds.  Because Sam's meager teacher salary represented our combined income, we qualified for a 1% loan through the Denver Urban Renewal Authority that funded our new roof (whew!), new double-paned windows, and lead abatement (standard for all households with young children, and since I was pregnant almost immediately after getting married we had a kid running around by now.  And since we are crazy, I was pregnant with the second).

We were all about living in the 'hood, but once you've got a couple kids of your own running around, broken glass on the sidewalk grates on your nerves a bit more.  And our 1100 sq ft. house with one teeny bathroom was seeming more cramped than quaint.  Four years ago, we moved just 7 streets over to a house with a bit more size.  This house is relatively new in comparison, built in 1905.  It was completely livable right from the start, but a hundred-year old home always needs a little sumpin' sumpin'.  Last summer we put in a new kitchen (blogged about often, but the recap is here) and we just finished a main floor powder room.

I have been known to wake Sam up early on a Saturday morning with some fabulous home improvement idea to improve our lives--we just started one last weekend, in fact.  Our backyard is somewhat of a dead zone since we spend so much time out front, so I want to create a secondary decked area in the back corner of our yard--something nice enough for the adult contingency to eventually use but for the foreseeable future it will be the fort/club/secret hideout area for the boys.  We spent last weekend's pre-planning phase trimming the plum tree and clearing out the white-trashiness extravaganza that had accumulated--notice there is no before before picture, because I am too mortified to show anyone what it looked like back there, but here is where we're starting from now.

We'll have to rebuild the back fence, too, since it is barely hanging on for dear life.  I'm keeping an eye on craigslist for free deck wood that someone wants to get rid of (pat on the back for eco- and wallet-friendliness).

For the record--Sam is a trooper, since he would theoretically like to spend his moments of free time on the weekends napping.  I think he knows that if we lived only by his methods we'd still have lawn chairs and cardboard boxes for furniture, so he musters up the worker bee mentality when necessary.  Stay tuned--I'm sure I'll have questions/ideas as we proceed, and if anyone in the Denver area is looking to remove their deck, I would be glad to take it off your hands. :)

1 comment:

  1. I thought of your kitchen as I posted about mine. You are way more motivated than I am. Our basement is a disaster. I was locked out of our half bath for a month because I was too lazy to call a locksmith. All our doors are too swollen to shut. And yet...