Monday

are we crazy?

I am trying to convince Jon that we can renovate our kitchen and master bathroom all by ourselves. Well, maybe with some help from friends and family on the really hard parts.

In the case of the kitchen, all we need to do is pull out the nasty old cabinets, sink and countertops, and replace them with new cabinets, sink and countertops in the exact same configuration, then repaint the whole room.

The bathroom needs to be gutted, so we would have to learn a lot of new skills, but I'll bet we could of most of it ourselves....

Am I insane?

Doing ot ourselves as we can afford it as opposed to hiring someone to do it for us will mean the difference between living with a nasty old kitchen and bathroom for a year or two or years.

25 comments:

cathy said...

If you are at all able to hire a professional instead of living in filth like you have never seen, do it. Even if you have professionals break the job down into multiple smaller projects, your mental health will be much better. I have an old essay from my archives about home renovation projects (http://domesticpsychology.com/blog/2004/07/24/109069594805013319/). It is frightening how many of those projects are still incomplete.

cathy said...

That link didn't work. The link should point you here.

katie allison granju said...

Cathy- Jon already knows that NOTHING makes me more insane than half-finished projects. I could never stand it if little pieces of this home project and that were started and then left undone around our house, particularly while I am pregnant and growing more frantic by the month about getting clean, organized and ready for the baby :-) I can deal with something taking a while to finish if I feel confident that progress is being made and a goal is there for completion.

Anonymous said...

I would advise against the kitchen because you may need it more than you know with the new baby and need for family meals, etc. Bathrooms are doable as long as you have one you're NOT working on to use during the interim.

Katie S. said...

I know pregancy kicks this thing in our heads that we want everything to be perfect before the baby arrives. God knows one does not have time to do things once he/she arrives.

BUT!

Since you have an old house I would have a lead inspectator test the house before you do anything! Even tile has lead so breaking it up in the bathroom can create lead dust which is harmful to a fetus.
Can cause reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, damaged red blood cell production, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems.
In addition, asbestos could be present in floor tiles. This can also be tested before you start work, if you can get to the layer.

As you probably know that a pregnant person should not be exposed to toxins in general, like paint, glue etc. Its probably o.k. to use some of the low VOC paints while you are out of the house.

Some people might think I am super sensative but all I care about is the health of the fetus and newborn. Once the child is around 6 years old you don;t have to worry near as much.

Can you wait 6 years...

Anonymous said...

Doing it yourselves 'as you can afford it' is a recipe for disaster. Save up the money as you can afford it and then hire professionals. In the meantime, live with what you've got. As long as 'nasty' doesn't mean someone's health is in danger, you can live with it until you can afford someone else to come in and do it.

Hire professionals, hire professionals, hire professionals. This mantra has saved my marriage more than once.

jon said...

As you probably know that a pregnant person should not be exposed to toxins in general, like paint, glue etc. Its probably o.k. to use some of the low VOC paints while you are out of the house.

I think that's why she's wanting to do it now.

;-)

Anonymous said...

Don't even consider it. Do small pieces as you can afford to have someone like Larry/aka Eldon do it. Mama

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen "The Money Pit"??? One word: DON'T.

Kelly O said...

Doing it yourself means living with a nasty, *half-finished* kitchen and bathroom for a year or two. I'm feeling you; I'm a DIY girl myself. In the case of home renovations, though, good intentions are sweet but ultimately futile.

Seriously, banish such thoughts and hire professionals.

Anonymous said...

Do you have the tools and the skills? We (meaning my husband) redid our kitchen/bath but my husband used to do carpentry work for a living in his twenties and if you don't have the tools it can be an expensive gig. He has had to bail out a few of his friends who have gotten in over their heads especially in regards to not having the right tools or dealing with the plumbing, electricity issues.

Anonymous said...

You are crazy. Hire someone. Remodeling kitchens and baths are the hardest things to do and they are very important. Aside from being hell to live around when they are in a stqate of repair, they also add the most value to your house so you want it done professionally. If you want a life and want to stay happily married, hire a professional. The bath is not as bad as the kitchen if you have another bathroom. But nothing is worse than eating out all the time and having to wash dishes, etc. in the bathroom sink.

Anonymous said...

The inspector idea, very good advice, especially since you have an older house. And I agree with all who said hire a professional. Go to Home Depot..they did a lovely job remodeling our kitchen. They were efficient and fast and I think, resonably priced. They will do as much or as little as you want. They have tons of choices and you can get almost everything you need to do the job, right there. And I don't work there or know anybody who does, or own stock in HD. :)

Mary C said...

my friend who does work for Home Depot did it herself! Slate flooring- tile backsplash- bathroom cabinets- the works. SHE just reads all she can online and goes for it- she does have a handy hubby but not sure how much he did on projects. Research and see if you can find enough to give the confidence and "knowhow" to do some small projects first.....on the other hand -Pam H has a handy hubby and she had to wash dishes in a bathroom for months and shower outdoors - ;-)

dewi said...

Insane.

Anonymous said...

I say go for it. As long as you're not attempting any major plumbing changes, it's NOT hard to replace cabinets and countertops.

Have you checked out ikea.com? I replaced my lower cabinets with freestanding ones from ikea, and switched to shelves on the top instead of cabinets, with glass tile on the wall.

firstimpressionist said...

I would compromise and do the demolition portion yourselves. Tear out the bathroom and rip out the flooring yourself and then hire the professional to put in the new stuff. Make sure you get the contractor lined up before you start destroying though.

My sister and brother in law did that and saved about 1500.00 on their bathroom renovation.

Also, be sure and visit Knox Rail Salvage or Halls Salvage and look for bargains. They have plenty of brand new cabinetry/tubs/counters/sinks/flooring
at much better prices than retail.

You'll save some money that way and you won't have the headache and delays of figuring out everything as you go.

You guys have plenty enough on your plates already than to take on several such immense projects.

mamalife said...

That you would even consider such an undertaking is proof to me that pregnancy hormones do cause insanity!

georgia said...

After redoing three houses and in the middle of a fourth-it can be done. But, the big question is do you really want to do it?

Some things to consider would be getting both rooms to a point and then having a professional come n to do the electrical and plumbing portions of hook up.
The cost will be lower if you can get both rooms done the same day- by your professionals. These kinds of things can give you the compromise of working on your home without the worries in the middle of the night of "Did I hook that up right?"

What we usually do is figure out what we want to do to the room(s), make a listing and put it in sequential order. Then figure out what part we want to do versus what part we need a professional to do. (For my personal sanity, prior problems and insurance reasons, I don't let Rick do heavy electrical and plumbing.) Then figure what you can do at one time...like ordering new bath and kitchen fixtures, get the tile preordered, figure out flooring.
From personal experience, I've found the fixtures never come in when they say they will. The last time we redid a kitchen, I had the sinks in hand before we started tearing the old sink out. A week of no running water because the new sink hasn't shown up is no fun.

You can decide if the offset of money for the redo will be worth the effort, angst, frustration and ultimate satisfaction of redoing the rooms.


(I have had good success with painting yucky kitchen cabinets and adding new pulls w/o having to rip the existing cabinets off the wall. If you are ok with the kitchen configuration, consider either painting the cabinets or purchasng new doors and pulls.)

uumomma said...

yes you are

Anonymous said...

Yup, insane.

Les Jones said...

Crazy.

Old houses often have weird plumbing or electricity. The walls may not be plumb and the corners may not be square, which causes problems with cabinets.

Add jobs and kids to the mix, and it sounds like lots of headache. Also, aren't you pregnant? Get some rest.

Anonymous said...

I have renovated 2 different kitchens.My first was in my 100 yr old house.We did it ourselves.The configuration was not changed,but it took alot longer than we thought it would.My husband worked full time and this was another full time job. It went ok until we pulled out the sink etc.and realized that the plumbing was mixed and had to be changed.(Once you start messing around with old plumbing you can wind up with a domino effect of leaks)I just had my current kitchen done.(Everything from Wolf double ovens ,warming drawer, wine cooler and miles of granite)We doubled the size by knocking down a wall.It is beautiful,but it took about a year and a half and the highly recommended,"professional"team took forever,continually made costly mistakes and left some finish work undone.It is NOT a simple endeavor any way you do it.There are always unforseen problems,and it can be your worst nightmare!I understand that you want a new kitchen but I really think that you should wait until after your baby is born (at the very least!)The thought of getting to go out for dinner every night may sound appealing,but it gets extremely old,and you will more than likely gain unwanted weight! My husband and I have a solid 20 year marriage,but I was actually considering leaving him as a result of the crazy amount of stress!If I may,I would suggest forgetting the renovations the first year or so and making a really nice room for the baby instead.(which will allow you and Jon to focus on the little one and totally enjoy this time in your lives instead of adding unnecessary stress)Good luck with whatever you decide to do! JCB

Anonymous said...

This New Yorker cartoon comes to mind.

Two men wearing robes, clearly from ancient Rome, are taking a stroll. One says to the other, "My contractor told me it would only take a day."

I vote NO!

Laura Linger said...

Professionals. Definitely.

That way, if something goes wrong, you have legal recourse and can hold that person financially liable. DIY provides you with no such guarantees.

Seriously. Professionals. Definitely.

And you are pregnant, for heaven's sake! Take it easy! You deserve it!