Home Improvements

We’ve made enough home improvements now to warrant a page detailing the projects and some easy references to posts regarding said improvements.


Before: Gray peeling paint, ugly red door, and some dying bushes in front.
Before: Original front door – red,leaking, very old.
After: New front door! 11/2009

Back yard:

Before: No improvements yet. (Neighbor cut down tree along back fence Summer 2010, so there’s a lot more sunlight now. The grass looks better, and we raised the mound of dirt around the tree to re-bury the roots. No pics.)


Before: Table and chairs (falling apart) came with the house.
Progress: Grill repainted by Prince Charming. 7/2010


Before: The original forest growing in the garden.
Progress: Dying rosebushes removed and replaced with hydrangea.
Progress: Tree pruned, lamb’s ear planted. Summer 2009

Front yard:

Before: Upon moving in, the front “garden” was a mound of years-old mulch that was decaying. It contained one bush and one hosta.
Progress: Started to add  ground cover. Summer 2009

Living room:

Before: The bench under the window and two lamps, the coffee table, and the couch came with the house. The wood floors look good, but need to be refinished.
Before: Those lamps and that chair also came with the house.
Progress: Family heirloom piano comes home. 6/2009
Progress: Made some pillows, hung some artwork.
Progress: Cleaned up, decorated a bit. The lamps and bench were given away on Craigslist. The space is currently being used as a temporary family room while the basement is under construction. 12/2010

Dining room:

Before: Hung up wine glass rack. No real decorations to speak of.
Before: Paint color TBD. The small unit by the closet door (on the left) is slated for removal once I find decent baskets (with lids). We have yet to find a good dining room table for this space, as it is small and a thoroughfare.
Progress: Took the chairs apart and re-glued them (they are no longer wobbly). Recovered. 9/2010


Before: Kitchen.
Before: Kitchen (opposite side).
Before: Breakfast nook.

Progress: Originally there was a very tiny dryer here. It was given away on Craigslist.

Progress: Drawer for cleaning supplies installed, shelves for baking sheets and microwave. 5/2009
Before: Originally the washer was here, but it was non-working. Trashed.
Progress: Wine fridge added. 5/2009
Before: Original dishwasher. It worked, but wasn’t anything special. Given away on Craigslist.
Progress: Purchased with credit card points, picked out to match the rest of the appliances, installed by Prince Charming. 5/2009
Before: Original sink. Not pictured: The leaky faucet and the rusted-in non-working garbage disposal. Trashed.
Progress: New Swanstone sink! Custom order (not ours, but a return) from Menards. Super deep and scratch/stain resistant. Lovely! Also added new faucet, new garbage disposal, and under-counter water filtration system. 5/2009

Master bedroom:

Before: Original paint color: burgundy (on wood paneling). Two windows pictured don’t work (don’t open). Floor is in excellent condition.
Progress: Painted! It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but it made a major difference. 8/2010
Progress: Nightstand finally repainted. 8/2010
Progress: New headboard (thank you, Craigslist). 8/2010

My office:

Before: Original paint. Blah.
Before: But, the room gets excellent light.
Progress: Painted! Soon after, I decide I don’t like it. Haven’t fixed that yet. 9/2009
Progress: Despite my dislike of the paint job, I made curtains to match. Or started them.
Progress: Custom-made (by us) cutting table. Fits my 36×72 cutting mat. Folds down against wall when not in use (if I ever clear out the space beneath it). The TV antenna has since been removed (and the pile on top of the table has grown). 12/2009
Progress: Finally hung some mini quilts up, while I ponder repainting.

Prince Charming’s office:

Before: Original walls: faux-textured wood paneling on top, real pine on bottom. Matches the hallways in the basement. Ugly as sin. Insufficient lighting, wood blinds on window that gets almost no light.
Progress: Stripped it down to the cement block.
Progress: New ceiling (Ceiling Max – love it!) and lighting (yes, it’s fluorescent, but it works great in this space). 9/2010
After: Drywall, paint, trim. 3/2010 Two new desks (via Craigslist). 11/2010

My bathroom:

Before: Original paint: blah, with water stains. Too much white tile. Dated, but functional. Mini-blind on window that faces the main street.
Progress: Frosted film applied to bottom half of window, new window covering made. 9/2009
Before: Old glass-door shower. Too narrow (always hitting my elbows on it) and leaked all over the place.
After: Replaced with curved rod. Very swank. Replaced shower head with rain-style. 6/2009
Progress: Prince Charming and his dad added a GFI outlet, since the only outlet in the room was on the light fixture above the vanity. No, we haven’t replaced the missing tile yet. 5/2009

Family room:

Before: Cheap wood paneling. Two built-ins (only one pictured) with hollow-core doors (quickly removed).
Before: Insufficient lighting, lots of black furniture and accessories. Very den-like.
Progress: Cleaned the plywood shelves and unpacked our books.
Progress: Library has been temporarily relocated… to the bathroom (seriously).
Progress: Pulled down two layers (yes, two) of wood paneling.
Progress: Stripped it down the the cinder block. Currently a WIP.

Guest bedroom:

Before: More wood paneling, but this time it’s real and less crappy. Still dark. The I-beam that supports the house runs through the middle of this room, so half of the room has a ceiling height of 6′. My old twin bed and a quilt I made were all we had for guests.
Progress: Old queen bed frame from master bedroom brought down, mattress from Craigslist frame (master bedroom), hung artwork. 8/2010
Progress: Added a little sitting area. 8/2010

Basement bathroom:

Before: Most awkward bathroom ever. And ugly. White peeling paint, but this small part of the vanity has bright turquoise paint. There’s potential here… kind of.
Before: Again, awkwardness. Just to the right of the vanity and stall shower… the toilet and another sink/vanity. New toilet installed (old one had cracked). 5/2009
Progress: Hung some artwork. Added frosted film to the window. 8/2010

Last updated 12/2010.