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I’m not one for resolutions – I don’t make them, so I can’t break them.  I do, however, keep a running home improvement to-do list in my head, and I figured getting it down on paper (or .php) might help me visualize the extent of the projects – and the reality of completing them in the next 11+ months.

So herewith are my 2009 home improvement goals, in room/area order (score on already achieving my first goal of writing it down):

  1. make a home improvement binder that includes measurements for each room, including windows, closets, floors, etc.  Also include contact numbers for repairmen, hardware store, etc.  (note: this is separate from my magazine ‘inspiration’ binder –  alright, binders.)
  2. strategize about deck issue (ugh, long story)
  3. add post to top of driveway with better address signage
  4. mudroom – a place to sit/put on boots/store hats
  5. living room – couches?
  6. dining room – reupholster & reglue chairs
  7. dining room – table
  8. living room/loft – tv solution
  9. master – bed and mattress –  no more sleeping on the floor!
  10. master – paint
  11. upstairs bath – sconces
  12. upstairs bath – solution for storing towels, etc.
  13. upstairs hall – clean and line drawers of dresser
  14. upstairs bedroom(s) – replace trim
  15. upstairs bedroom(s) – paint
  16. basement bedroom – bed
  17. basement bedroom – paint
  18. all bedrooms – update window treatments (IKEA?)
  19. water heater – wait for it to die?  replace?
  20. gutters?  repair?
  21. document improvements more regularly, and more professionally (my photos err on the blurry side)

You’ll note that many of these goals are simply furnishing rooms.  It’s true; though we’ve had our place for almost a year, there are still rooms that are nearly empty.  The hand-me-downs have been great – but they only took us so far.  That, and, well, we’re looking forward to replacing some of the pieces we inherited with pieces we choose.  That came out wrong – I love my inherited furniture.  I just mean a girl can aspire to having actual dining chairs and table instead of folding chairs and folding table (remember: those Queen Anne chairs aren’t safe to sit in).

So I guess I’ll check back in around say…December to see how I did.  Works done, right?  I set my goals?  Kudos to me and now all the above will simply fall into place?


Here’s the (almost) finished result of the window project. Dad added the decorative trim around the window. We were stuck on how wide the trim should be – it needed to cover the framing, but the size we got meant he had to cut away part of the switch plate on the right to get it to fit. We’re really happy with the result. All that’s left is to paint.

To the right you can see a preview of Dad project 2: trim.

In my original post when I mentioned DIY projects we’ve completed thusfar, I didn’t only mean projects Anuj and I completed. There are some other folks who have already contributed a generous amount of sweat and inspiration to our 1975 not-so-blank canvas.

During one of our early walk-thrus before the house was even ours, I got the idea to add a window to the interior wall of the ‘office’ as a way to bring in more light. Currently occupying the wall was a massive, fugly linen cabinet-type-thing that looked like a closed murphy bed. Whether the window idea was a good one or not we didn’t know, but we did know we had to get rid of the cabinet.

Just before my Dad’s first visit to the house, we off-handedly asked if he could cut a hole in the wall and add a window. We even offered up Anuj as an apprentice to facilitate the job. He said no problem, not only would he do it that weekend, he just so happened to have an 80-year-old window sitting in his garage that he salvaged from a local church a while back. He didn’t know what he’d do with it, but he stored it anyway. Now here was the perfect opportunity to put it to use. This is my Dad.

So he and his wife Barbara arrived, devised a game plan, and promptly dispatched his new apprentice Anuj to tear down the fugly linen cabinet.

Anuj preps the wall

And then my Dad proceeded to drill a hole through the wall for the new (old) window.

You know how when you’re hanging pictures, you look for the stud ’cause it’s strong and basically holds your house together? Well, in order to get the hole where we wanted it, my Dad had to power saw through a couple of studs. This is very loud and very scary. Because when you’re downstairs scrubbing the refrigerator with your step-mother and the entire house starts shaking, you know this is not some simple DIY project. My Dad got the hole cut, and then had to re-frame the wall so the window had something to hold it in place. So he measured, cut and nailed in a couple of 2x4s we picked up at Home Depot (note: we hadn’t discovered the local lumberyard yet, which is now our first stop when we need wood. Home Depot is great, but my Dad assures us the wood is inferior. We find this advice fits well into our semi-speculative ‘corporations are evil’ position).

The window is placed

Positioning the window.

Dad puts the window in

Dad displaying the window (from inside the office) before it’s framed.

Two proud fathers

The job took longer than we thought. There was all the sawing, and reframing, and we still had to add the trim. The next day, Anuj’s parents arrived to ‘bless’ our new home. They couldn’t believe how hard my Dad was working and were convinced we were terrible, slave-driving children. We did feel a little terrible, ’cause it was a much bigger undertaking than we first imagined. But here’s the thing about my Dad: he likes doing projects. He’d much rather spend his weekend installing an interior window than chatting over a cup of tea. I did not inherit those genes. I prefer to hold that cup of tea and point out ‘you missed a spot’. My Dad is much more tolerant of these comments than Anuj is. For one thing, my Dad rarely misses a spot, so I tend to stay away from him when he’s working. But his apprentice – he’s still learning, isn’t he? So as the homeowner, it’s my responsibility to monitor the work. So when I find myself hanging around Anuj’s corner of operations mentally composing some constructive ‘feedback’, he’ll shoot me a dirty look and tell me to go find another refrigerator to scrub.

Part II of the window project to come tomorrow.

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Columbia county: CoCo To Do

Berkshire county: Rogovoy Report