Saturday, July 7, 2007

Is "Ceiling White" Really "White"??

One of the guys at Sherwin Williams needs to quit and go to work for Home Depot. I've never had reason to watch these guys before to make sure they didn't screw up, but I guess there is a first time for everything. Typically, "Ceiling White" has a very light tint of blue to it. This donkey didn't get the memo and I didn't watch to make sure he added the tint. I used about 3/4 of a gallon without tint on my daughter's bedroom ceiling and didn't notice until I opened another can purchased for my son's room (which had the tint added). Not a huge problem, since they're separate rooms and I was able to mix the two together before starting my son's room. Lesson learned: trust, but verify. His walls are textured, primed, and the ceiling is painted. Next up were the walls which were painted Celery by Sherwin Williams. An accent wall was done in Ryegrass. He's psyched to see it done, as am I. Tomorrow, he sleeps in his "new" room.

One gallon of paint was just enough to finish the three lighter "Celery" walls, while a quart of the darker green was plenty when rolled on the remaining wall. I was surprised at how smoothly it rolled - almost smooth enough to make me think twice about spraying smaller rooms. Naaah, the sprayer is still easier and provides a better finish.

You Think You've Got it Bad? (Part 4)

Technically, the condo was built as a 1 bedroom, 1 den, 1-3/4 bathroom. Before my dad bought it to use as a rental, the PO closed off a wall and turned the "den" into a 2nd bedroom. This is really the way I think the place should have been laid out, as it flowed well and the design made sense. Another technicality, it wasn't a "true" 2 bedroom place while he had it because the 2nd bedroom didn't have a closet. We added one to make it official. Bi-fold doors used to keep the design consistent.

The master bath wasn't huge, but it was made MUCH nicer than how we found it. We did have to gut a shower stall to the studs to replace all the tiling, floor pan, and drain which were rotted and hadn't been used in at least 5 years. The vanities and counter tops were replaced. We used a lighter granite tile than was used in the kitchen. New sink, new faucet, new mirror, new electrical outlets, etc., etc., etc.

A closet door was added to the hall closet. Oh, there wasn't a door there to begin with. Who knows why it was removed... Actually, all four closets had missing doors.

From inside the master bedroom, you have access to the hallway (left door) or walk-thru closet and master bath (right door). Everything you see in this picture was either replaced, painted, or changed. In fact, the only things we kept from the condo we started with were the kitchen faucet, the electronic thermostat, the toilets (although they needed a MAJOR scrubbing), and the tiling in the 2nd bathroom. Everything else got updated.

Was it all worth it? Sort-of. My buddy and I didn't get rich by any means doing this work - maybe $6,500 each for our labor. We did end up with some very useful tools out of the project, and learned a lot at the same time. We had originally guessed that we could do the job for $5-6,000 in materials plus appliances. We ended up at $11,000 total, which includes about $1,300 for appliances. We went overboard on a number of areas like the granite tile countertops (about $2,000 for tile, grout, mastic, and plywood for the base) and doors (all doors being replaced added about $1,000), but those extra costs were worth it. We could have done the job for the original estimate, but the resulting condo would have been nowhere as nice as it turned out and it wouldn't have commanded the price we got.

The average selling price for condos in this complex was about $95-105,000. We listed at $124,900 and ended up selling for about $119,000 - almost exactly what we expected it to sell for. It sold during the Spring and was on the market for a month. The buyer's home inspector only found the sliding door to the balcony as a problem, as the seals were shot and it didn't seal properly. We took off $1,200 and let the buyer take care of that himself.

While this unit was for sale, there were 2-3 others in the complex for sale. We looked at them and were very comfortable with our asking price. We had potential buyers look at all of them as well, and without exception this was the stand-out. The final sell price was the highest price paid for any of those units to date, by almost $15,000. If the work had not been done, we estimate the place would have generated interest only from people looking to flip the property, and the selling price would have been under $80,000.00 since it was almost unlivable.

You Think You've Got it Bad? (Part 3)

Sorry about the crappy picture quality, the camera I was using was having "issues".

In this "After" picture of the kitchen, you can see how we got creative on the entrance to the kitchen. It's a small galley kitchen and felt very small, so we opened up the entrance a bit on the sides and top. Overall, the sides were opened about 6" each and the top was raised about 4". This made the kitchen feel much larger when you're in it. We had to relocate the electrical switches, which was the worst part of the job. Well worth the effort, and I'm glad I didn't listen to my dad who said not to bother. Come to think of it, I didn't listen to him on this project much at all. He lives 3 hours away and wasn't there to stop me - sucks to be him.

The faucet in the kitchen was the only item which wasn't replaced or changed. Well, we chipped a layer of crud off it, but it's still the same faucet. New sink, new granite tile countertops, painted cabinets, new flooring, new lights, new doors, new crown molding, new outlets & switches, new baseboard heaters, etc, etc ,etc.

From inside the kitchen, the wider opening gives you a much better view to where the dining table would be. New 6-panel doors were installed everywhere (except the main entrance door which we couldn't replace due to condo regulations). Matching bi-fold doors were added to the closets. The flooring here is a Pergo-style laminate which covers the front entrance, hallway, kitchen, and dining area. Much better than 40 year old linoleum and shit-brown carpet.

Since the kitchen was small, we didn't want to take up any unnecessary room for a microwave. we raised the cabinet above the stove to add a microwave. Crown molding across the tops of the cabinets tie the look in with the rest of the place where we added it as well. All appliances were new and matching. They also weren't coated with gunk like the old ones which we threw out. Plain black cabinet hardware stands out against the white cabinets. We did learn something important about painting cabinets - using a roller sucks. We rolled on two layers of primer and still couldn't get what we liked for a finish. When we got the sprayer, we tried it and it worked perfectly with one coat.

The hallway looks much nicer without the brown carpet. All trim was painted white to match the cabinets. The walls were all painted Kilem Beige by Sherwin Williams. Ceilings were painted ceiling white. All electrical outlets and baseboard heaters were white. It was a very good color combination, and very neutral.

You Think You've Got it Bad? (Part 2)

Put a bullet in my head, I was actually pumped to get going when this picture was taken. Must have been the cat piss fumes. All this crap was shoved into the garage and the PO carted it away. We weren't delicate with the stuff, as anger and disgust became the emotions of the day. I threw out the gloves I used to pull up the carpet. They ended up with what I assume to be a layer of cat piss on 'em. They stunk and felt oily.

Another view of all the crap.

The kitchen cabinets were solid and in decent shape. Looking back, we should have ripped them out and replaced them. We ended up pulling off the hardware, de-greasing them (that was fun...), sanding them, and painting them. WAY too much work - replacing them would have saved a LOT of time.

You Think You Got it Bad (Part 1)

I was reading another home renovation blog this morning: The Dread House and it gave me flashbacks to a renovation I did a year or two ago. A friend of mine and I got a chance to renovate the place on the owner's dime - we just put all our labor and design ideas into it and then got paid once it sold. Typically a risky proposition, but the place was owned by my dad so I wasn't too worried about getting shafted on the deal. No, he didn't live there - it was a property he owned and rented. The people living there were there for about 10 years and put NO effort into keeping it in good shape, as you'll see from the "Before" pictures.

Like any good House of Horrors, you have no idea what hides behind each door. From the outside, the place is a somewhat generic looking condo (top right of the building). Well maintained exterior, although a little dated.

Step on in and visit Satan's Garage Sale. All this crap was waiting for us on day one of the renovation, the day we wanted to remove the cat piss stained carpet and other misc items which were getting replaced, including the bathroom vanities, counter tops, etc. Here, my buddy and his wife (who was VERY lucky to suffer from cat allergies so she couldn't stay and help) survey the mess.

The carpet is skid-mark brown, almost the same shade as the carpet in my current house. I hated it in the condo, I hate it in my house.

I still haven't figured out who's cleaning supplies these were. The PO sure never used them. Cigarette burns on the cultured marble vanity tops - classy.