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Discussion Starter #1
For me it was the kitchen in my previous home. It was a 1960s wonder. So broken down. DH and I didn't have the money to hire someone else to renovate it. So we did it ourselves.

We bought flooring on sale. DH made the countertop with an oak trim to it. I ended up scouring the craft stores and found a paint I could paint on tile. We couldn't afford the fancy tiles, but I could decorate the cheap ones! It was a cool product. It came off with cigarette lighter fluid. DH learned to set tiles and did the tiles in the house. I made a lampshade (stenciled on a basic white shade) over the table in the kitchen.

We found cheap interior fittings for our pantry at a local discount department store.

We bought a secondhand stove...and a new sink and taps.

So how desparate were we? We decided to repaint the kitchen cabinets rather than replace them. Oh...dear... The doors were off the cabinets for 1 year as DH sanded them down and gave them the deluxe paint job he thought they needed (they didn't). My boss, a sign painter, was shaking his head at DH's approach to the job. His wife redid their kitchen in one weekend...including repainting the cabinets! I was absolutely desparate! In the end those cabinets only got done because I went to work on them myself and DH couldn't stand that!

It was a long haul and oh so painful, but the results were stunning. We raised the value of our $60,000 CAD home to $96,000 CAD by the time we left.

What about you? When were you ever desparate and how did you handle the situation?
 

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I bought a house from 1948 when we were first married. It had been a renters house. The whole house was a decorating disaster. The kitchen floor was the worst. It had 7 layers of tile and three sub floors. The last layer of linoleum ran up the front of the cupboard. It was 2 1/2 inch difference between the hall oak floor and the kitchen. We removed it with a crowbar. It was like an archaelogical dig. The very first floor from 1948, A yellow number. We replaced the subfloor and kept it bare for 2 weeks while it settled. We'd walk around and around renailing nails and adding a few more. My husband put down stick tile and it looked great. Ceiling was higher too.lol:crackup:
 

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DH and I bought a double-wide mobile home in Salinas, CA in 2000 for 21K. Given that most 'pre-owned' double wides in the area were going for at LEAST 45K, you can imagine the shape it was in. One room had carpet that reeked of cat pee and with horrible stains that looked like one of the cats might have actually given birth in there. The master bedroom sub-floor was bowed and had to be completely replaced. The linoleum in the kitchen and the bathrooms were apparently the originals from the '70's. The skirting outside had to be completely replaced. We put in a great deal of manual labor and a bit less than 10K on that home and by the time we left, it was as nice inside as any of the ones that would have cost us double.

Of course we ultimately lost money on it, despite our lowball purchase as the market had crashed by that time and we had to pay the lot rent for a year while it sat on the market and then we got only 36K for it in the end. But as our first 'home', we loved it even though in retrospect, we probably should have continued to rent for the three years we spent in it.
 

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Hi Everybody,
All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly.
AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES."
 

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My sister and I decided to paint the cabinets in her kitchen. We used a crackle finish: 4 different steps!!! It turned out beautiful, but we sure felt like we got in over our heads!

I think she still hasn't hung one of the doors!
 

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My most desperate decorating solution....
Moved into an apartment w/a roommate, i had a chest freezer about the height of the counter tops, the only room for it in the apartment was where the kitchen table was supposed to go. So...we pulled up some barstools and used the freezer as the kitchen table
 

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My most desperate decorating situation is the apartment me and my roommate live in now.

It's about 10'x10' with white painted walls. There are 2 walls of maple cabinets/counterspace (it's wonderful for storage though) and white appliances,another wall with a door and a window and the other wall with the electric/power access panel (ugly ugly ugly). I've had a real tough time getting the kitchen to look homey and not so stark. We tried to hang a very colorful Mexican-style woven blanket to hide the access panel, but the apt. management didn't like it and we had to remove it so we have to look at the ugly thing now...UGH.

Anyway, I've managed to try to keep the counter top and table as clutter free as possible, keep plants on a little shelf unit near the window, a bowl of colorful fruit or flowers on the table and make the best of it.
 

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Our kitchen was a total diaster. The cabinets had at least 8 layers of paint and grime on them. Took forever to strip them and repaint. We replaced the countertop and found that the old countertop was secured with a gazillion nails. Took us 12 hours to put the new one in, including a trip to the hardware store to try and find a sink that would fit.
 

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Now HERE is a thread that I have something to say about!!!!
Our current home (18 years and currently for sale) was a nightmare.

Kitchen - NO wall cabinets, dented metal cabinets underneath, and one of those metal/porcelain sinks that is all one piece with the ridged countertop, fake brick paneling and linoleum which is used in every highway rest-stop bathroom I've ever been in.

Dining room - layer upon layer of old wallpaper, SEVEN colors of paint while stripping the trim (including NAVY BLUE), and a fake fireplace which, when removed it, revealed a hidden doorway to nowhere.

Bathroom - too hideous to describe, really

Fast forward 18 years - totally remodeled, top to bottom, inside out. Gorgeous, sunny, bright kitchen.

Of course now that it's perfect, we've put it up for sale.

PS There is not one level floor or 90 degree angle in the house (it's 85+ years old):couch:
 

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MaryCarney, I put 25 years into the mate to yours..also added 3 bedrooms and a bath...Then sold it and started over. think of all the fun you had while you was doing it.

I am starting over now and really enjoying the down size. and changeing the mistakes that I made the last time...
 

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Just out of curiosity -- does anyone buy houses with the intention of remodeling and reselling them? I don't necessarily mean a 'flip', but, you buy, you live in it for a couple of years and fix it up at the same time, then sell it, make a little and move to the next one.

My neighbour has done it for the last 10 or so years. They are now staying where they are because they've 'traded up' enough that they are happy where they are. She did all the work herself, and it was all cosmetic work -- no electrical or plumbing etc....

I've seen her do quite well. Her mortgage is very small because of doing this. [she works at a bank and looooves to watch her money work for her]

Anyone else do this?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We buy houses based on location first...then condition. Our goal is to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood we can afford...barring any structural damage. We don't want to deal with that. We're looking for cosmetically ugly.

We've only owned two houses, but so far the results have been good. The first one we stayed in 7 years and watched it go from $65K to bring in $96K when we sold it. This one we bought at $90K and it is now worth over $300K in 14 years. And we haven't finished fixing it up yet. I'd say we're getting our money's worth out of our homes.

DH burned out on the home renos, which is why this one isn't done yet. We've been hiring contractors to work on it bit by bit, as we can afford it. We refuse to take out loans to do upgrades on the house.
 

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Nice work, Peanut. I'm hoping to do that myself when we sell this house and buy again. This house is nice and solid and could use some cosmetic updating. I think it's a smart way to go about it -- ugliest house in the best neighbourhood.....definitely the right way to go!
 
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