Home Improvements for March 2009

Dresser from IkeaWe’ve been making some home improvements this month. In the past couple weeks we replaced most of our door knobs, installed new door hinges and added two new night stands to our master bedroom.

The door knobs in the house are complete junk. When we first moved in, we had 2 doors that had a sticky feeling when trying to open them. When I finally took the door knobs apart to see what the problem was, I had myself a pile of plastic pieces from inside the door. From observation, I think we were lucky the door knobs even worked. When I replaced the door knobs, we purchased new nickle plated ones that had a very modern look. We purchased the house brand sold at Lowes which use metal (rather than plastic) mechanical parts inside. 2 years later, 10 of our doors still have old worn gold plated door knobs. So this month we replaced 6 more of the door handles, leaving 4 more left to do next month.

20090331211737Since we had our baby in January, we’re both finding that our squeaky door hinges are very annoying when either of us wake up in the middle of the night. So last weekend we got new nickle plated hinges to match our nickle plated door knobs. When I first started installing the new hinges, I did it by hand. After 2 doors, a light bulb went off and I grabbed the cordless drill. The process of replacing the hinges went from taking just over an hour a door to about 10 minutes a door. I’m almost done, I need 6 more hinges and 2 door stops to complete the project.

Last are the new night stands. Our master bedroom is rather wide, mainly because we have a queen size bed. At Ikea night stands are pretty small and also low to the ground. So we ended up getting their smallest dresser to use as our night stands. They’re at the perfect height for our bed and fill our space perfectly. If we ever get a King size bed these night stands may be a problem but for now they’re great!

We love the nickle finish and we’re eventually going to replace everything that has a gold finish with the nickle finish. Luckily, the door hinges, knobs and other finishing items are the same price as the gold plated ones. We’re certainly not using bronze or chrome!


New Fence For the Dog Maybe?

We had someone come out and measure our yard this past weekend to see how much a new fence for the yard would cost. There are a lot of home improvements I would like to make to our home but the fence, oddly enough, is becoming 1# on the list. My sister told me about her fence quote, so I’m a little nervous. I priced out the materials, that part of the job isn’t that expensive.

Ty wearing PodCamp Ohio BlingWe currently walk Ty 2+ times a day and walk him around the yard 1+ times a day. Both Heather and I are starting to feel like we’re holding him back on the leash though. He can really run if you let him. So a fenced in yard will really help him out.

I’ve been thinking about a lot of home improvements we can make. The HGTV improvement shows really put ideas in your head, one week I want to re-do the kitchen, the next week I want to redo the bathrooms. In reality, we really don’t have any pressing home improvements to make. But it is fun to think about them.

Here’s my dream list:

  • Ceiling lights for the 2 smaller bedrooms and in deep closet over the stairs.
  • Finish the basement – This is one that we may want to do once we have kids.
  • Redo the deck – The decking on the deck is in pretty bad shape. luckily the under framing is in good shape, this should be a project we can do this year, if we have the funds of course.
  • 1/2 bath – The sink drain needs some TLC. I got the replacement drain last weekend, I just have to find the time to replace it. We also purchased a new faucet for that sink.
  • Master bath – The master shower needs some TLC, and the 2 sink counter us ugly.
  • Garage – Insulate, drywall, add electrical outlets on west wall and add shelving.

I can always dream right? What sorts of home improvements do you want to do to your home and why?


Home Improvements Update

I’ve been doing a variety of small home improvements over the past few months. Okay, you got me, I didn’t install the new dishwasher, but I did let the guy in!

Computer Desk Completed!
Home Made DeskBack in November, I made my own computer desk from white laminated lumber from Home Depot. My original intent was to buy regular lumber with specific dimensions. When I arrived, the salesman showed me the laminated lumber, which had the benefit of having a finished edge, something I was worried about where the keyboard would be resting.

So, the story. I had measurements all figured out from a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 5/8″ lumber. The laminated wood was not sold in that size. The biggest size was 8′ x 30″, which is the pefect depth for the desk, but meant I would not have enough material on the sides. I made a decision to have the 8′ length cut into one 4′ long section and two 2′ long sections. I also purchased a 4′ x 10″ sheet to use as a vertical support for the top of the desk. I walked out the store spending less than $30. So I got home, put the desk together, and it looked great. (see photo)

Just like a little kid, I rushed the desk up the stairs, cleared a spot for it in the office and started setting up the computer. I got everything situated on the desk, fired up the computer, lined up the keyboard then came to the quickest realization that something was wrong. Yes, something was really wrong! I couldn’t place my feed under the desk, the table was so low my knee was pressinng against the table top! So I looked at my design work, and discovered that I originally planned on the sides of the desk being 30″, but now they were 24″ from my last minute change at the home improvement store.

Caster WheelSo the first month, I lifted the desk up about 3″ with some blocks of wood, which was all it needed. A week went by, and finally one of the blocks popped out from under the desk and man did I have a bad day. First I went to both Home Depot and Lowes to see if I could find caster wheels or small desk legs to try to raise the desk up slightly. No such luck. Finally, the day ended with a trip to Bestbuy and an investment in a $80 computer desk.

So last week, I was at Home Depot picking up supplies for the kitty litter gate and guess what I found, caster wheels for the desk! I’ve installed the wheels and the home made desk now has a 29″ clearance for leg/knee room!

Kitchen Faucet
Kitchen FaucetHeather and I picked out a new Kitchen faucet in February. It’s a Delta, made in U.S.A. and has a chrome finish. Our main goal was to find a nice looking one handle faucet.

It took a month before I finally made the time to install it. Installation was easy. The salesman did not tell me I should use a special silicone to seal the faucet against the sink. Hopefully I’ll get that taken care of this Easter weekend.

Kitty Litter Gate
This is sad to say, but our dog will get into our cat’s kitty litter box. We’ve come up with a lot of creative locations for the litter box so Ty can’t get to it. But recently we decided to keep the litter box in the bathroom. We have a double sized vanity with one sink, so the other side has a nice opening for a trash can, laundry basket or in our case, kitty litter box.

Kitty Litter GateSo last weekend I created a gate using outdoor lattice. When I went into Home Depot, I was planning on purchasing wood lattice. To my luck, they sell vinyl with framing trim that’s easy to cut to size! Plus, the vinyl was easy to roll and pack into my car. Putting the gate together was pretty easy, as you can see it’s not too complicated.

Once we put it in place, we were worried the cat wouldn’t like the gate or worse, would not fit through the opening. Luckily, the cat slips through the opening like it’s her special door and the litter box is getting plenty of use!

Dish Washer
Last month we bought a new dishwasher. It’s working pretty well and we’re pretty happy with it, but it does have one engineering flaw. I’m going to wait till we’ve had the dishwasher for 2 full months before giving it a complete review, but expect a blog post in the near future on the subject.