Fix-It Friday: Our Home Improvement Wish List

Fix-It Friday is an occasional series that details the projects I’ve done around the house. Check out some past posts here and here.

Now that the weather is warming up, Mr Saver’s and my thoughts are turning to home improvement. There are so many things we want to do, the list is getting pretty darned long. We have a lot of indoor and outdoor projects and purchases on our minds, but we’re still waiting for our sizeable tax refund before we do anything major.

Creating a patio and buying a patio set. We currently don’t have anywhere to lounge around in the warm weather. There’s only a stoop. We don’t have a porch, deck or a cemented area where we can set up a patio set, which is something else we’d like to get this year. Perhaps we can get a small set for under $200 to “get us through” the summer, since I don’t see a patio happening this year. I do wonder if we can build a patio ourselves.

Finishing the upstairs bedroom. This project has been going on since October, mainly because we’ve been lazy about it. My dad and brother have been doing a majority of the work, but we need to set up a day and time for sheetrocking. Everything is ready for the drywall, so we’ll be on our way to finishing the room if we can get around to doing that in the next few weeks.

Putting up fencing. Right now, the backyards on our side of the street are open and continuous — you can run right through to the end of the block in the yards, if you wanted to. So there isn’t much of a precedent for fences. The rear of our small yard backs up to another yard, but there’s only messy greenery and a huge, sprawling holly tree serving as a dividing line at this point. I think one neighbor may be interested in fencing, but not sure about the elderly couples on the other side and behind us. While I have no problem with the neighbors, I’m thinking ahead about children running around in the yard. And, of course, I highly value my privacy.

Renovating the bathrooms. We have two bathrooms that have seen better days. The first-floor full bath is passable, so it’s not something we need to fix right away, but I could do without the pink fixtures and the gray and pink tiles. Upstairs is another full bathroom with a stand-up shower rather than a bath, and it’s a knotty-pine disaster (this time, with peach fixtures). We can rip everything out, but there’s a walk-in closet that is set into the bathroom area that’s killing our space. It’s so cramped, we’d need a contractor and a plumber to come in to move fixtures around and knock the walk-in closet down to a smaller closet to reclaim the space.

Installing a digital thermostat. I bought one a few months ago, but didn’t want to attempt to install it myself while we still needed heat. Just in case I screwed it up. But I think I can manage this one now.

Putting up a ceiling fan in the kitchen. I wrote about buying the wrong ceiling fan for our kitchen, so I need to return it and buy one that better matches our cabinets. The fixture up there now is one of those circular fluorescent-light models, and it doesn’t throw off nearly enough light for my needs.

Getting new kitchen countertops. This one isn’t a do-it-yourself project. We’ll need someone to rip down the old Formica countertops and install pretty new granite ones. I’d like a tiled backsplash, but I’m thinking I can do that myself, thanks to the pre-formed tile sheets sold at home improvement stores now.

Replacing interior doors. I painted the poorly stained golden-oak trim throughout the first floor, but the matching doors are still up. I’d rather have white doors, and I don’t think it would be too hard to do as long as I can buy the doors to size. It’s just putting them back up on the hinges — right? My dad thinks it would be too much white, but I have to disagree. The walls are cream, so I think there’d be enough contrast — especially if we decide to paint certain rooms in new colors.

I think this is a pretty heady list, and I know we won’t get to the bigger projects this year (patio, interior doors, fencing). But we hope to at least get the upstairs room finished and the new countertops done this spring. That would be wonderful!

Do you have any home improvement projects you’re ready to tackle now that spring is here?

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13 comments to Fix-It Friday: Our Home Improvement Wish List

  • I really enjoyed reading your blog.
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  • Mom

    You can install the digital thermostat for sure Nicole. I put one in my house before the Winter. Piece of cake. Two wires, and presto! I had one of those old Honeywells. What a difference!

  • I’ve mentioned by basement now and then. Subfloor is in. Partition walls and framing around foundation.
    I’ve been encouraged by my wife and daughter to get some help, so today, two electrician friends came by and we started the wiring. One more full day, and I’m on to the drywall.
    Aiming to be all done by the end of summer.

    • Nicole

      @Joe: Glad to know we’re not the only ones with an “unfinished project.” Good luck!

  • Home improvements are so satisfying. They’re a great way to occupy some spare time and can be kind of fun to do. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate – good luck!

    • Nicole

      @Mike: I love doing these kinds of projects — except I don’t tend to have the spare time I need. Paying gigs have been taking precedence, but in the end, that money will fund the projects.

  • Don’t sell yourself short. You can do every one of those things yourself. Moving plumbing, no problem, drywall is no problem (though finishing it takes a little practice) The deck you could build yourself.

    Check craigslist for the patio furniture. You never know!

    • Nicole

      @LeanLifeCoach: I wholly agree that these things can be done. We’re doing the drywall with help from my dad and brother, and perhaps we’ll do a paver patio ourselves, too. But moving plumbing? That might be my limit!

  • Dan

    Don’t forget we have about 3 sheets of drywall (two full, two halves) you can have! I think I said they’re 1/2 inch, but I don’t remember. I’ll check again.

    When you get around to a patio, pavers would be the way to go. It’ll look nice and increase the home value, IMO. I also think that Target’s patio sets aren’t half bad.

    • Nicole

      @Dan: Thanks, I forgot about the drywall. It’s getting it back to the house that will be an issue! I think we’re going to get the 30-odd sheets delivered to the house to make things easier.

      Love pavers for a patio and I’ll check out Target — thanks!

  • Wow, quite a list of projects you have. Take some time to spell the flowers and let the grass run through your toes! It is 80+ here which is amazing for this time of year.

    One thing you may want to consider is adjusting your withholdings so you don’t have so much coming back. No need to loan the government money all year long. Put it in YOUR savings account.

    Good luck with the projects!

    • Nicole

      @BibleDebt: I *have* stopped to smell the flowers — and now I need to get going a bit. =)

      We had a large refund this year only because of the first-time homebuyer’s credit, which accounted for most of what we got back. Plus, we deducted half a year of mortgage interest and property taxes (both are really high here in NJ). That, combined with the 1099s I get for freelance work, leaves it hard to gauge just how much we’ll get back each year. We’ll see what a “normal” year of home ownership does for our taxes next year, and if the refund is too much, we’ll adjust our withholding accordingly.

  • […] at Rain-Day Saver posted another installment in her Fix-It Friday Series: Our Home Improvement Wish List. She has a remarkable to-do list. Projects that will save her family a nice chunk of change and […]