It has been a little over a year since we moved into our forever home. We purchased our house with full knowledge that a 40 year old home would bring with it a good many things that need to be addressed. We are trying to prioritize and go down the list one step at a time. The positives far out-weighed these issues though – a large wooded lot, a well-built, custom home, a friendly neighborhood with lots of pride of ownership.
Our first project was fencing the back yard for our dog. Our back yard goes quite far down to a creek, so there was no need for privacy fencing. My only request was that we use black fencing instead of galvanized steel. All told, that came in at $2600.
We noticed the water heater was leaking a little, so our plumber took a look at it and found that we needed a new pressure reduction valve. Evidently, as more homes are built in our county, the water service just turns up the pressure to accommodate, and without a pressure reduction valve, the PSI is crazy high. That repair came in at $325.
The garage door in our basement did not have a lock on it and one of the garage door openers in the main garage did not work. The repairman also added safety cables to the doors to keep the springs from snapping down and hurting someone. Everything came in at $650.
We moved in knowing that the HVAC systems were on borrowed time. The downstairs unit was installed in 1988 and the upstairs unit was installed in 1993. Sure enough, once it was warm enough to try the AC, we found that the downstairs did not cool. We replaced the condenser, as well as had the systems serviced. Before the year was over, we also replaced the starter in the downstairs furnace and the control board on the upstairs furnace. All HVAC work came in at $3500.
In August, a pop-up storm with strong winds dropped a poplar tree onto the roof over the garage. It took with it our power lines and cable lines that run above ground to the house. To have the power lines reattached to the house and replace the gutter that the tree crunched came in at $625.
Smaller projects included painting all of the bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, the kitchen and the den. I also painted the front door and our bathroom vanity cabinets and stained the deck. My sister showed me how to replace cracked glass panes in two windows, so now I know how to remove glazing and reglaze the windows.
Light fixtures in the foyer, stairwells, dining room and our bedroom closet were all replaced. Bradley replaced the weather stripping at the bottom of the door leading to the garage. He also changed out the kitchen faucet for me. We replaced the very old shower heads in the two spare bathrooms as well as the pulls on the vanity cabinets and added a few towel rings and a toilet paper holder.
We have pulled out a lot of invasive shrubs and small obstructive trees along the driveway and in front of the porch. My mom has planted a lot of flowering plants and native plants along the driveway. Above is a picture of one of the Hellebores she put in that has already bloomed this year despite being transplanted recently. In a seemingly never-ending battle, I was able to kill back the english ivy along the left side of the house to about 10-15 feet.
As we look forward into 2015, we have decided to have a half dozen trees removed – a few sweet gums that are in decline and a few pine trees that are the culprits behind our buckling driveway. In addition, we will be having the electrical panel replaced, at which time they will trace all of the lines and label everything for us. We will also get them to help us with a light in the stairwell that Bradley could never get to work and I would like to have an outlet added in our foyer that I can use for a lamp, our Christmas tree, or something I’m sure I haven’t even thought of yet.
I have plans to add more shrubs to the bed at the front porch. Once nicer weather moves in, I will be painting the shutters navy. Finally, if it’s in the cards financially, we hope to have the top third of our driveway removed and repoured and maybe bump out the top part to make the turn into the driveway less severe.