There are just a mountain of projects, big and small, that we want to do to your home. This pages talks about some of the projects and our thoughts behind the choices. Of course we will not be able to do everything at once but by cataloging it here, we can better get our hands around these tasks and begin to plan/budget for them.
One of our goals when we picked our options was to minimize the projects we would have to do after the fact. I didn't see the point in having a home built to your specifications and it still being the equivalent of a fixer upper. Not that it would need repair but the number of DIY projects could have been quite extensive. We wanted to have very few "must haves" to accomplish shortly after moving in and ease into the DIY world.
This list is fluid and will grow/shrink as we go. Some of these we will hire out and others we will tackle on our own. We will attempt to she some light on our decisions either way.
Install Blinds (COMPLETE...We ended up Going with Home Depot and the the 2.5" Decorators Choice):
Probably our #1 Priority after moving in. With two teenage daughters, we will have to get this done within days of moving in. Although this is a simply DIY project, for $118 (Home Depot) to $210 (Lowes), I'm all about letting the Pro's tackle this one. Either store sends a Pro out to measure, then custom cut your blinds and install them. Once the house has been sheet rocked, I'm going to have them come in and measure for blinds. Hopefully we can get the installers out while we are moving in...depending on closing date.
We have 22 Windows in the house we are going to put blinds on. They range in size from 30" to 36" wide and from 64" to 72" long. Not sure which vendor we are going to end up with but there are some prices below.
Allen Roth - White Faux Wood 2 1/2" Slat
Baseline Price: 36" x 72" - $32.37
Installation/Measuring Price: $99 (up to 10 Windows, then $9 a window there after)
|Allen Roth (At Lowes)|
Home Depot (I also get a 10% Discount Here Everyday)
Home Decorators Collection - White Faux Premium Wood 2 1/2" Slat
Baseline Price: 36" x 72" - $53.67
Installation/Measuring Service: $118
I'm really leaning toward these. They will accent all our moldings better and look much richer. Not quite the expensive custom blinds but the next best thing.
|Decorators Collection - Premium (Home Depot)|
Home Decorators Collection - White Faux Wood 2" Slat
Baseline Price: 36" x 64" - $32.37
Installation/Measuring Service: $118
|Decorators Collection (Home Depot)|
Seal Granite (COMPLETE):
Kitchen and Butler Pantry:
We used a product called 511 Sealer. It was the only Granite/Stone sealer that was FDA approved. You wipe it on with a rag or squeegee and then wipe it off. We ended up applying 2 coats. Basically what we did was added a coat at night before we went to sleep.
Seal Tile Grout (COMPLETE):
We used an aerosol product and it was fairly easy to install. It gets all over the tile and takes like 24 hours to dry/cure.
Install Sprinkler System (COMPLETE - Sort of):
Interim Irrigation. The sod requires 3 weeks to take. So you really need to water it pretty regularly for the first 3 weeks. RH provided us with a temporary system for the first week (2 weeks total. 1 before we closed and 1 after) and then the company that was providing it wanted $100 a week for us to keep it. So we needed to put in something fairly quickly. We purchased 4 zone timers from Home Depot and a bunch of hoses, soaking hoses and sprinklers. It works similar to the system below but with hoses running all over your lawn. you have to remember to move them every other day or they will leave yellow lines in your grass.
Still looking at the system below for a long term fix.
Our front yard will have sod and will be installed during the hottest time of the year. We are going to need to water the heck out of this grass to keep it from dying. Another RH builder near us wrote about a system called Lawn Belt. It's a DIY product that hooks up to your regular hose bibs. There are battery operated timers that attach to the faucets and allow you to add up to 4 zones per bib (or 3 Zones and 1 manual hose hook up).
So this item may become something we will need to do fairly soon after closing/moving in. Note: You can purchase these timers at Lowes or Home Depot and hook them up to regular garden hoses with some sort of watering attachment. This is a lower tech way to achieve the same results and may be a temporary solution for us. It is certainly not as clean and will not guarantee either even coverage or that I am watering what I want to water but it may prevent my grass from dying.
The website has lots of great information on the system but basically it is made up of diamond shaped extruded plastic that is resistant to cracking due to freezing temperatures and is flexible (bends) to your yard.
There is no trenching required, no elbows and fittings to glue, etc. You attach the sprinkler heads with pipe clamps and use a everyday spade shovel to install the system. This system will work very well in my front yard because it seems to install well for already established yards.
In the back, where they seed and straw, I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. Sometime down the road I hope to have most of the back yard covered in concrete, pavers, planter boxes and natural areas. Maybe a small amount of grass but mostly a MUD FREE ZONE. We will have a big beautiful park next door if we want grass...and the best part is that someone else mows it.
Install Garage Door Openers (COMPLETE):
We had these installed a few days after we moved in. I'll make a post about this but know that most RH have taller doors than other homes and require extension kits. Also, the installation price you pay Sears does not include ceiling brackets and other misc material the contractor will try to gouge you for.
(I get a 10-15% Discount here too but waiting for sales is usually a better value)
Not as important as the two above but a quality of life item. This is another item where the cost to have it professionally installed and warrantied is just a good value. In the end, I will get two of these units professionally installed for less than just one through RH. RH's is a cheep chain driven system (very loud) and costs twice as much as Craftsman's top of the line.
|Craftsman AssureLink Belt Driven Garage Door Opener|
Install Water Softener, and Whole House Filtration System (System Purchased, Haven't Installed Yet. It is out of the box sitting where it will be installed):
I talk a little about why we chose this unit on the Other Appliances and Electronics page. We have really hard water in our area and it really tears up our families skin and our fixtures and appliances. Hopefully this will help us out. Sears will install this as well but I think the installation would be fairly straight forward and quick. Items that are going to take hours to do, I'd prefer to farm out (if the price is right). We will have so many moving pieces as it is, I don't want to be consumed with a bunch of tasks I will not be able to complete in a reasonable amount of time. We did get the rough-in for this, so I'm hoping it is just a matter of connecting the hoses to the pipes, plugging it in and adding salt.
Kenmore Elite Hybrid Water Softener
|Hybrid Water Softener/Whole Home Filter|
Install Sump Pump Back-up (System Purchased. Sitting Next to Sump Pump but Not Installed):
This just makes sense. It's insurance you can afford. I'm still looking at various models and features. As we get further into the build I might talk to the PM about how much water accumulation we have and how large of a pump we might need.
|Watch Dog Back Up Sump Pump|
Install Dehumidifier w/Water Drain (COMPLETE):
This Kenmore Model was Recalled and they were replacing it with anew model. Unfortunately the supply had not reached the stores. We ended up getting a similar GE model from Home Depot. It's probably the same one Sears sells under the Kenmore name. Also, we just got a regular 6' garden hose and it works fine. The one below was very flimsy and kinked easily.
This is one of those 5 minute jobs. We are just going to put it in the basement near the drain for the furnace and water heater. I am curious about whether or not we would want to run one of these periodically in other areas of the house. The house is supposed to lose many gallons of water over the first 3-5 years.
Kenmore Elite 70-pint Dehumidifier
|70-pint per day Dehumidifier|
|12' Hose for Dehumidifier|
Add Security, Fire, Water & Carbon Monoxide Monitoring & Light Access:
We opted to not go with Guardian. See Guardian=Fail post for more information. My insurance company has a special deal with ADT and we will add this service shortly after moving in. The insurance savings doesn't offset the cost of monitoring but the peace of mind in protecting our family and home from Murphy does.
I would like to make the study a more formal space. The I really like the paneling and chair rail detail below. This space will already have double crown moldings and this will really create a classic space.
|Like the Paneling and Chair Rail Detail|
I have seen crown molding in the Master and tend to like it. We have darker furniture and would like to bring in some lighter colors to create contrast. The bright crown and lighter wall colors will create nice contrast and a classic look.
I would like to add some crown molding over the doorways/entryways, door casings and paneling in this space. We will have crown molding all the way at the top of the room but unless you are looking up, you will miss the detail. I would like to add some wood work closer to eye level. Again, with darker floors, and furnishings, the white crown will really pop.
|I Like the Molding Above the Door|
|Crown Molding Above Formal Living Room|
|Crown Above Dining & Living Room|
Picture Window Moldings on walls in Foyer for Art or Color Contrast. Not sure which to do but would like to do some sort of decorative accents here. See Foyer picture above. There are bare walls above the Formal Dining and Living rooms. Would like to showcase something in this space.
5th Bedroom (Currently In Work) - First Priority
This bed room is actually where the floor plans (Found Here) call for the Exercise Room. We had an egress window put into this space and are going to frame in a closet that will initially be part of the storage area.
Work Shop/Storage - Second Priority
The electrical service panel is located in the media room, so I would prefer to have the rest of the unfinished spaces built out before this one so we can more easily run wiring. Also, we have a bunch of stuff in our garage that needs to come down stairs so we can get the garage done (i.e. Epoxy Floor, Cabinets, etc.).
Not planning too much for this space other than trying to brighten it up by sheet rocking the walls and ceiling, adding more lights and sealing the floors. I'm sure we will come up with some sort of work bench and storage solution.
Exercise Room - Third Priority
Still have to work out how/where this is going to go. On the back side of our finished area is a long room with lots of obstacles. Furnace/Air Handler, Water Heater, Water Softener, Dehumidifier, Sump Pump, Floor Drains, Water Shut Off Valve, Sewage Clean Outs, Cable and Telephone Box, etc. Oh, and lets not forget a large steel column in the middle of the room. It would be nice if this was all in one location but it is spread out all over the place. So some how, we need to figure out how to maximize this space into an Exercise Room, Storage Area and Work shop for the Winter when it is too cold to be in the garage....and still have access to all the junk above.
Media Room - Fourth Priority
Right now we have a big screen TV mounted in the finished portion of the basement. While this is convenient because we have all the gaming consoles hooked up to it...it will not be convenient when we finish my oldest daughters bedroom that is just off this space. We insulated the walls in between but sound travels under/through the door. Surprisingly not much but it could be distracting. The location of the media room will be on the opposite end of the bedroom and should not allow noise to spill in.
Irish Pub and Wine Cellar - Fifth Priority
This will be the best project of them all. More details to come.
We have some ideas. I'll try to post a picture from CAD as soon as I get it refined. We went back and forth on the Composite versus Wood but the price is just too hard to justify.
This may coincide with the pool installation.
Install Pool and Hardscaping :
In ground pool. Fiberglass vs concrete? Salt water vs Chlorine? Not sure how many seasons we will go before doing this project...Depends on how many years it takes to do the other stuff.
Stamped Concrete/Pavers and Planters to surround pool.
Nice to have. Pool House with restroom, changing room, storage closet for misc. items and outdoor bar.
Doing research on these but there are a few good companies out there. Barrier Reef pools is an Australian company that has been taking over the market here in the US for fiberglass pools. These type of pools were very popular in Australia before they came here and they have the years of experience for this type of product.
|Barrier Reef Pools Water Feature|
Some before pool, and others after.
Front Yard Landscaping:
Retaining walls, sitting area and sidewalk to street. Accent lighting for corners of house and other landscape features.
Replace Front Door:
Mahogany stained wood door with 3/4 light front door and frosted glass. 14" Sidelights and 14" Transom Light.
|Pella Ambassador Door|
Cabinets, Shelving and Gear Hanging System in Garage:
Craftsman, Gladiator or Kobalt
Need to get basement finished before we can start on this.
Also, we are thinking about building a small deck off the door leading into the garage. Our laundry room is up 3 steps and doesn't have enough room to be a mud room. So we are thinking about building a little one in the garage. It would have pony walls and not be a real room but be sheet rocked and have indoor/outdoor carpet with benches and shoe storage. Possibly a coat rack on the wall. Stay tuned, as the plan is refined.
|Gladiator Garage Systems|
Tray Ceiling Rope Lighting (COMPLETE):
Under Cabinet Lighting (COMPLETE):
Under Kitchen Cabinets
On top of Kitchen Cabinets and Glass Cabinet
Under Butler Pantry Cabinets
Kitchen Sink and Faucet:
Replace kitchen sink and faucet. Granite sink and oil rubbed bronze faucet.
Install Pendant Lights above kitchen island.
Drawer and cupboard organization (i.e. Pull Out Wire Racks for Pots, Pans and Trash Cans)
Laundry Room Upgrade:
Washer and Dryer Platform (Will replace existing stands to lower Washer and Dryer and allow for a counter for folding but keep them up enough to reduce having to bend down too much when switching clothes)
Install Counter Over Washer and Dryer for folding
Install Under cabinet Lighting over Counter (COMPLETE)
Kitchen Back Splash:
Not sure what to do here yet.
Redo Master Bathroom:
Replace All Tile
Tile all Bathroom Floors (Except Powder Room):
Bathroom 2 (In Bedroom 2)
Bathroom 3 (Jack and Jill)
Bathroom 4 (Basement)