Friday, May 23, 2008


In these parlous economic times, it's nice to have few debts and my own home. But there are a number of major projects that need to be undertaken to preserve that home's value. Unfortunately, the economic downturn coupled with too much economic good fortune (and the consequent taxes) last year means that there's a lot less money available to fund those projects.

Here's what we need to have done, in roughly the order I would prioritize it. I go back and forth on the relative urgency of some of the projects, but basically I'd like to improve the outside of the house (structure and land), then the inside (decorating).
  1. Painting and wordwork repair. We have a brick house with some wood siding and trim. It's past time to scrape and repaint the flaking woodwork, and there are some places where there are rot and holes.
  2. Roofing. The roof was about 10 years old when we moved in almost 10 years ago. Although it's largely shaded, and there have been no leaks or other problems, it's probably time to get a new roof (and get rid of the epidemic of moss growing on the west side of the garage).
  3. New garage door opener and new front door. The front door isn't very secure, and the garage door opener is old and so cranky that we just don't use it.
  4. Landscaping the back yard. There's a gravel parking spot that was under an RV shelter when we moved in; that needs to be removed and replaced with a set of raised beds. The existing garden plot was always plagued with too much shade, and we've let it grow over with shrubs and small trees. We want to put in a play structure for the kids, too.
  5. Landscaping the front yard. Also known as "the unintentional xeriscape." I don't want a lot of grass to fertilize and mow, but we need to replace the rotted railroad ties that are right now doing a poor job keeping the largely bare ground from eroding into the street, and some easy-care plantings would do wonders for the house's appearance.
  6. Repair and reupholster dining room chairs, and replace sectional couch in the living room with easy chairs.
  7. Repainting the interior. In this order:
    1. Archer's room
    2. Front room
    3. Living room
    4. Kitchen
    5. Cady Gray's room
    6. Master bedroom
    7. Guest bedroom
    8. Entryway
    9. Hallway
  8. Refurbish the cabinets and countertops in the kitchen.
  9. New surface for kitchen floor.
  10. New carpets throughout the house.
The original thought was that we could do one project a year. It seems way too optimistic to think that we're going to be able to afford that -- but I'm also not sure some of these projects can wait ten years. It will be an interesting process of seeing what we can get done.

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