Home Improvement

Love The Home You’re With

We’ve often been accused of loving our house more than some of our family members, but in today’s soft real estate market, many people who are less than enamored with their home and itching to sell are feeling the squeeze to stick it out until the market improves. And a recent article in Money magazine caught our attention by pointing out how futile it can be to loath your current home in this “spectacularly lousy time to put your place on the market.”

The article went on to encourage people to embrace their current home and make specific changes to create their dream home instead of attempting to sell their home with sale prices down nearly 18% over the past year. It also points out that a lot of people are tackling home improvement projects in hopes of selling their home anyway, so they might as well put the money and time into making the house work for them in the meantime instead of slapping something together in hopes of a sale. Quick fixes can be far less fruitful in the short term and the long term. So if you’re looking for more space, they supplied some pretty fantastic tips to make your current home feel bigger and more open:

Remove any unnecessary doors. Many older homes suffer from an overabundance of doors (between the kitchen and dining room for example), and by removing them you’ll allow for more light to bounce around and create a more spacious feel.

Go ahead, tear down a wall. The article points out that 40% of home-owners want only a half wall separating the kitchen from the family room and another 38% want no wall at all. If you wanted a more open floor plan in your next house, why not create one in your current home instead of packing up and moving? Here’s a progress shot from back in September when we dramatically widened two of our doorways (which was well worth the effort and minimal expense).

Convert wasted space into living space. There may be no need to add to your current floor plan, just finish your basement or another underused area. In our home we converted an unused formal dining room into a third bedroom and moved the dining table into our spacious living room for a layout that works much harder for the way we live.

Add an outdoor room. Experts say that in the past few years there’s been a surge of interest in creating outdoor living space. And it doesn’t take much to change your existing porches, patios, and decks into “outdoor rooms”. To provide a sense of enclosure, add a few hedges, a fence, or even a stone wall. And for shade you can consider a retractable awning or a vine covered pergola. Enclosing your porch and turning it into a sunroom may cost around 10 grand, but stealing more living space for your family could be just the thing that turns your current home into your dream home.

The lesson? If you can’t be with the one you love (that mansion down the road), then love the one you’re with. And if you have any more ideas to convert your ho-hum-home-for-now into your hubba-hubba-dream-home, feel free to chime in!



How To Change A Door Knob & Add A Door Knocker

We’ve been waiting for a good reason to update the hardware on our front door, and knowing it was about to be on camera was the kick-in-the-keister we needed to finally tackle the project. Thankfully some dead hydrangeas that we recently returned to Lowe’s put $80 back in our pockets to cover the $50 project cost and then some. So we’ll take you through the process and show you how to switch out your front door hardware with ease.

The existing brass doorknob set clashed like crazy with our almost-black oil-rubbed bronze porch lights and black shutters, plus the old deadbolt required a key to lock it from the inside… so annoying. So I was more than happy to move them off of our door and into our trash can:

Next was the relatively easy task of slipping in the new oil-rubbed bronze doorknob and deadbolt. The only hitch there was that the existing hole for the knob was slightly too small for the new hardware. But a makeshift chisel (i.e. flathead screwdriver + hammer) allowed me to carve out a larger hole in no time. Oh yeah, and the other little problem was that some red paint peeled off with the old brass hardware… oops.

First we took a simple “paint over” approach to the peeling problem after some light sanding, but we quickly realized that we could still see the ridge between the new and existing coats. So, Sherry upped her game and slapped on some spackle, which would later be sanded and painted over for a seamless finish.

A few coats of Valspar’s Fabulous Red later and our door was as good as new (and now coordinates with the rest of our front porch). Here it is in its “drying” phase:

Oh, and did you notice the bull-ring knocker we added in the process? We had to track it down at a specialty hardware store here in Richmond (called Pleasant’s Hardware), but it was well worth the hunt- and the $23 price tag. And despite it being called “antique bronze” instead of oil-rubbed, it’s the exact same color as our new Quickset doorknob and deadbolt.