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A suggestion was made for me to start a separate thread regarding our latest adventure, so here it is. This thread will be a mix of DIY, contractor work, demolition, frugal remodeling, and whatever else finds its way in.

The short part: We've been looking for a retirement home for several yrs now, and not finding what we wanted. But last month, we finally found it. It's not everything we wanted, but ticked so many boxes we couldn't ignore it, even though we tried. After many sleepless nights and several tours of the property, we finally decided to jump 3 weeks later. But at the same time we were meeting with our Realtor, someone else was writing a proposal at another realtor's office. The sellers accepted their offer, and ours was held as a backup. But Realtor told us from the start it was possible the deal might unravel. It didn't seem like that would happen in our case. We were disappointed, but tried to put it out of our minds. Two weeks of uncertainty and disappointment dragged by. But Wednesday Realtor called, saying the deal had fallen apart and did we want to consider buying the property now. Yes, please! We dashed into town and signed paperwork to update our purchase agreement and resubmit it. Realtor also told us the other buyer had kindly offered to sell us his home inspection half price, thus saving us two weeks and hundreds of dollars. We were also told the house may need radon mitigation. Oh, joy. Yesterday we got the call our offer had been accepted with no counters. It's a done deal now. They agreed to our price and included the lawn mower and 6 industrial floor mats we asked for, and they threw in a church pew we had asked for in the first offer, but deleted in the second. Very nice of them.

Today we picked up the inspection report. There were a couple new issues that would have been upsetting, but it was all stuff we're planning to change anyway so it doesn't matter. The windows all need replacement, but it was on our to-do list, as was completely updating the wiring. After research, we're comfortable with the radon situation and the cost of the remediation. Most of what was in the inspection we had already seen.

Our little church needs a lot of work, but it has many things going for it, too. Due to a frozen drain line last spring resulting in a flooded basement, all the carpet needs to be removed from the basement, so that will be a big priority. We're hoping that will get rid of the mildew smell.

We don't have many pics showing whole rooms, but here are some shots. We're looking forward to closing next month so we can start the rip and tear.

Basement, showing some of the carpet that needs to go and the missing Sheetrock from water damage. I plan to put a shop in this room once the carpet is out.

Wood Flooring Floor Wood stain Hardwood


New 9x9 pantry! It will house two freezers and the overflow fridge, along with the usual pantry stuff. I plan to use the spare pew we were given to build a large storage for this room. I will have to learn to work with hardwood.

Window Handwriting Lighting Wood Easel


Behold! Our new parking lot! 😂😂 We will be removing the door on the end and replacing it with a window for Husby's office.

Sky Plant Window Building House


One of my favorite things, a 6x6 walk-in closet that will be in my sewing room.
Shelf Wood Shelving Closet Flooring

Window Shelf Shelving Wood Gas

Wood Fixture Floor Flooring Hardwood


The giant economy sized 16x18 foyer/mud room with fancy shmancy double doors leading to a nice 16x16 covered deck . I plan to add massive storage cabinets on either side.

Property Window Wood Flooring Interior design

Fixture Wood Flooring Floor Tile flooring


This huge 25x43 room will be split into office, sewing room, kitchen, and living room. We get the fun of removing that raised floor up at the front. And all the lovely carpet, too.
Property Furniture Interior design Flooring Hall
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, we will, very much. But this new house is a long term project and we don't expect to move for 3-5 yrs or more. It's not unusual here for people to own a lake place and a house in town. Or for people to own a summer place in the north and winter place in the south, so having 2 houses doesn't seem unique to us. This will allow us to do a leisurely move and get the new place fixed up so we don't have to work on projects with all our stuff in the way. We also have a place to have rummage sales now, so that will help us get rid of extra stuff starting next spring.
 

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It looks like you have quite a lot to work with and quite a lot to do. I look forward to hearing your plans and seeing your ideas happen.
 

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We spent so much time convincing ourselves it wasn't going to happen (me) and we didn't care if it didn't happen (him) that when Realtor called, it did not seem real. Yesterday it finally sunk in we are really getting the place. Now we're getting excited. Husby had been so upset because SOP for pending sales is to continue to take backup offers. We thought that meant someone could swoop in and steal the place out from under us by offering more money, but no. The contract is signed and the only ones who can stop the sale now without consequences
is us. That's why we're not going to quibble over the cost of the radon remediation. If we asked the sellers for a credit to pay part or all of it, that would undo our signed contract and allow the sellers to reject the entire contract. Realtor said she's unaware of any other interest in the property, but of course can't guarentee it. Since we so recently lost the place temporarily because of an unknown buyer swooping in at literally the same time we were wrting an offer, we're not willing to risk it. It'll cost us extra, but there are offsets so we don't feel too bad. The sellers paid for a brand new shiny 200 amp, $4,000 breaker panel just 2 yrs ago, so we will not have that expense, making room in the budget for radon remediation. I think knowing our signed contract protects us has allowed us to be happy and not worry so much. Let the planning begin!

The parking lot pic includes the street in front of the house, so it's a little misleading. It's only one car length deep and holds maybe 10 cars, so it's more like an overgrown driveway. We haven't decided yet where to put the garage, but the parking lot may become an actual driveway. That's another thing recently done that we don't have to pay for, putting down asphalt. The house doesn't look like much, but it has so many large and small details we wanted and simply could not ignore. It's selling for $40K below their original list price they started with in June, in a market where houses have been selling within days. Their price drops finally got it down into a range where we can afford both houses, and had to go for it. Another huge selling point is it's only 42 yrs old. That's practically brand new in our market. There are few ranch houses here and most are small. This is best of both worlds for us, 2,000 sf above grade but only 1,000 sf of basement to contend with, one of our unicorn wish-fors we didn't expect to find. The place is full of those. Big walk-in closet for sewing room. Generous main floor laundry area. Big mud room. Big pantry. Wide open spaces for open floor plan. Living room big enough for the treadmill and bike. Office space for Husby, plus a narrow but long bedroom with, I hope, enough space for my big L desk. Lots of little things like that.

The new place will be a downsize for us. We have more room in the current house and cabin. That's not counting the oversize double garage we have, compared to no garage. That will get interesting when we sell this place and have nowhere to go with the garage stuff till we build a garage. I suspect we will need to get used to snowblowers living in the foyer for a while! It will help that we plan to move most of my shop into the basement. I'm so excited about that! No more paint projects in the living room or on my sewing table. Unbelievable!

I'm finding it much easier to make decisions about what to get rid of, now that I know where we're going. It's a relief to know I can overcome my hoarder tendencies after all, and it really has been more about what we might need in the future than just not wanting to part with things. Some decisions will be more difficult than others, of course, as always.

My basement shop will include a kitchen! And we're going to add a half bath since we will have a plumber there next spring repairing the sump pump and sewer line (sellers' expense, another offset of $10K we don't have to spend.) The concrete is already torn up for that job so I hope we can get the new bathroom put in nearby where that work is. Will have to talk to the plumber when the time comes. We hadn't thought much about adding a basement bath but it makes sense to do it when this other job is done. It shouldn't cost much for materials and much of the plumbing labor is already done. We can DIY a lot of the rest. It will definitely be more convenient to have it. The basement kitchen will be mostly storage for things like canning jars and the usual basementy stuff, but I am going to add a laundry tub if I cant get one upstairs. I've missed having one.

Another unicorn item the house has is the entry points are lower to the ground than usual, two steps at the back entrance, which currently has no steps. What it does have is another unicorn, a four foot wide concrete ramp. We wanted a ramp of some kind but never expected to have one so nice. There's also a large elaborate ramp on the front, which we will be removing but not till after we move in. The back ramp leads to the covered deck, which is only about knee high. We can back our vehicles right up to it to unload stuff, drop things onto the deck, and wheel stuff in easily through the double doors. We'll save a bundle because of not having to hire movers for all but the big stuff. Moving into this place will be a breeze for everyone and everything involved.

This is the soon to be bedroom, formerly church office, that was flooded last spring. The floor is brand new, which we won't have to pay for. The bed goes on the wall in the top pic. The bottom pic is the other end of the 9x19 room where I'm hoping my desk will fit. If it does, we plan to remove that white space that used to be a doorway and put in a window, since there should already be a header in there. Easy and cheap, no contractor needed. And I can paint the new trim in my shop! This bedroom, like every place in the house, needs wiring which we will hire done, a wall knocked out to enlarge the closet, and 2 or 3 windows replaced plus the new window by my desk. We will add ceiling fans, probably two. This is one of the rooms needing the least work, so we want to get it done as soon as possible so we have a space to move things into.
Brown Furniture Wood Interior design Clock

Furniture Wood Interior design Flooring Floor


I have so many lists to make, I don't know where to start!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yea, Koala Bear Care! 😂😂😂 I hate this bathroom, but we've decided not to rip out walls if it can be avoided. So our full bath (ladies' room) and the half bath (men's room) will remain next to each other. Weird, but works best for us and there's a huge cost savings. The two rooms form an L, and the laundry room will go in the corner of the L. We'll update the full bath by replacing the tub with a walk-in shower, updating walls, replacing the window with something above the shower if possible, and changing the cracked wall sink to a nice vanity. The half bath is okay, just needs new DIY window, added storage in the form of a medicine cabinet, fan, sink/vanity, and cabinet above the toilet.Both baths are tiled, but the laundry area is carpeted, so if we removed all the walls to make one big room, we would either have to chisel out the tile or put down more. Neither is very appealing. It would be easier to rip up the carpet and put down a nice floating floor in the laundry. And I think one wall is load bearing which means spending more contractor dollars for a beam, also not appealing.

Wood Floor Door Fixture Shower curtain

Brown Toilet seat Property Toilet Purple


I need to make a list so we can set priorities. I want to do this one room at a time instead of allowing the new house to become the Land of 10,000 UFOs like our lake house is. I'm sure there will be some overlap due to various reasons, but we need to keep it under control
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, it is. Scary, too. Lots coming at us at once. Four days ago we were making plans to haul trash and finish the light for the parcel box, you know, boring, simple stuff. Now we're in the whirlwind. 🌪🌪🌪
 

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Wondering why a church would have a bathtub, was this a remodeled house? Did you say this was on a busy street? I guess you'll have to install fencing for the dogs. I'm sure your head is whirling with plans.
 

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It was a remodeled house, built in 1980, became a church in 1990, I think. The minister lived there but moved out a few yrs ago. That's why no one knew the basement was flooding. It's in a residential neighborhood 3 blocks from a busy street, not far from our first house here which is on the busy street. Yes, we will need a dog fence. We have wolves and coyotes here. Yes, the ideas are growing like weeds and some are worth about as much. I'm going with the flow for now but in a day or so will sit down and start making lists. We need a packing list for starters. The day of closing we'll put the van seats in the town house and the hauling will begin with lots of implements of destruction, which we need to have packed and ready. We probably won't have the carpet cutter by then, so will have to figure out where else to start, probably removing trim from the great room carpet. This is all the stuff lists will help us keep track of. We also need to go through the entire place room by room and generate very detailed lists for the electricians, and then separate DIY to-do's for each room and yet another list for any contractors needed.

Martha, the men's room sink is a nicer color and seems in better condition. We plan to put a vanity in instead and use the sink in the basement. Nope, no urinals to contend with, luckily. Just a nice, modern style toilet.
Brown Mirror Tap Sink Bathroom sink


We drove by the place today and I took a pic of our deck. We're gonna love it.
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I would screen in the deck, but maybe you’re not as much of a wimp as I am about biting and stinging insects. When the day comes that I can no longer drive I want to screen my carport. It has afternoon shade my little porch doesn’t. It seems the dog fence should be a top priority so your supervisors can come with you to supervise.
 

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DC you’re like me - I’m picturing those two doggy snouts pressed up against the glass. “Let us out! We can’t supervise adequately from here!” Hahaha.

i also love a screened in deck.

SD you’ll probably find once you move in and settle down some there will be other things you’ll find that will fine tune all your ideas and pull it all together.
 

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That is a good sized porch. Seems about as big as mine, lots of space to enjoy. Lots of room for planting and landscaping. Is that your fuel tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We have a screen porch and never use it. Dumb, I know. The cats loved it though. They had a cat door I made that fit into the patio door, so they could go in and out whenever they wanted. Had to take the lock off though because Fat Cady learned how to slide the little lock over and lock Jack and Chester out. 🤣🤣🤣 It would be major construction to screen the deck because no part of the roof or its supports touches the deck. We will be putting rails on it though. Gotta have double gates everywhere for our Hairy Houdinis. However, there is another set of double doors on the parking lot side of the house. It's partially enclosed and has a small window in it now. It's maybe 8x10, 10x10, something like that. I think the church added it for a waiting area in inclement weather, for people waiting for rides after service or Sunday school, whatever. Some year when everything else is done 🤣🤣🤣 I want to make that over into a 3-season porch. It wouldn't take much since so much is already enclosed. It's big enough for a few chairs or a patio table beside the doors and would be a nice little bonus room. But of course right now it's a low priority.
Brown Door Building Wood House


A carport would make a great screen room!

We discussed room sizes and furniture placement for 3 hrs and I think we finally figured out the guest room and Husby's office. Now we know what might fit in the guest room, depending on where the furnace vents are. We're surer about the office because we have actual walls which we've measured IRL and we know where there's a vent. We're hoping there's only one. If so, the plan should work. Now he has a target to help with what to get rid of and what he has room for. He also knows he has to sell a 2 drawer file cabinet and buy another 4 drawer for his sports memorabilia he won't get rid of. He has to make his own priorities, but that's all the space there is.

Yes, the snoopervisors will be with us on days it's safe for them to be in the work zone. Their food and water dishes and old floor pads are already on the packing list I have barely started. We have cables we use to tie them when camping and can use those temporarily. We have a portable fence we used with the moho that we can set up in the foyer to make the back doors double gated. Their safety comes first. They're going to love the great room. The zoomies will be epic!

I know we will have to live in the space a while to get it the way we want, but gotta start somewhere. We plan to make cutouts from cardboard of all our furniture so we can easily place them in different positions to give us a good idea how everything will work out. It's a theory. We'll snap some chalk lines on the floor to try out wall placements, too.

Yes, that's our tank, for now. Can't change companies in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Figured out I can gain more space in the sewing room closet if I ditch the window, so I'm going to. Sometime. I rate that a medium priority, to be worked on only after walls are erected for the sewing room. I generally hate dark rooms, but I hate faded fabrics even more. I need rod space to hang fabric more than I need a window, plus then we won't have to buy and install a new window. I hope I can keep that closet but haven't measured my sewing room furniture yet to lay it out on the floor plan I drew. Maybe tomorrow.

I think we've decided to get the wiring done in stages, starting with the master BR, foyer, office, and pantry. Those are the rooms closest to being done and we need some areas where we can put things as we move them in. Don't want to move stuff in till wiring is done, since electricians will need to access every wall. This will also allow us to split up the bill into smaller chunks. It appears somewhere along the line most of the outlets were swapped to allow 3-prong cords to be plugged in, without actually rewiring to ground the outlets. Basically, nothing is grounded, so everything has to be updated. And of course we'll need to add things like ceiling fans, dedicated circuits for large appliances, etc.

We mostly like our present kitchen, so will be more or less duplicating it, with more counter space and correcting some minor problems, mainly the stove and fridge being across from each other with only 3 feet between. The island and sink face each other and are only 3 ft apart, too, so will move the island 5 feet away in the new house. It was okay before retirement, but now Husby and I are often in each other's way. It's become a problem. I was planning cookbook shelves on the LR side of the new island, but then Husby said he's always wanted a bar to sit at. Okay then. We were talking about a bay window in the kitchen but I think bookshelves under a regular window or two would make more sense and cost a lot less. Then I could have a nice shelf for plants on top the bookcase, too. (East windows.) The pantry also has an east window, and if there is room, I want to put 2 or 3 AeroGardens there. They do well with the AG lights, but they like some extra natural light, too.

The floor plan is coming together much quicker than anticipated, now that we decided not to move the half bath. I hope what looks good on paper will work out in reality. Too soon to tell, but there are always snags of course. I'm just itching to get the keys and move past preliminary planning into the nitty gritty. Also to find out how bad pulling up all that carpet will be.

So many details, but I'm starting to envision the final result.
 

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SD - that a good plan to open out the kitchen more. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but we never know what the future holds. If there is ever a wheelchair in the cards you will need the maneuvering room. I kept that in mind with this house. All my doorways are 36”. It cut into my already limited wall space, but I’m glad I did. Now when I’m sitting on the walker I sometimes zoom into another room. Backwards. That extra width probably keeps my house standing. 🤣🤣
 
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