Monday, April 10, 2017

Home Sweet Home #AtoZChallenge

I'm participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge again this year. Today's post is brought to you by the letter H.


Our house was built in the late 70s and has only had some upgrades done in the last decade or so.  Most of these were done by Justin's parents and (now ex) brother-in-law.  After we bought the house, we discovered a million and one big and little projects that we want to do or have done, but money has always been the big deterrent.  Right around the time I got pregnant with Sawyer, Justin and I decided to do a cash back refinance on our house to get some much needed upgrades finished.

Due to the lovely situation w/ my previous employer shutting down, the refinance took a long time.  It wasn't until February that we finally had the money in the bank.  Justin got in touch with a couple different contractors to bid on replacing all 13 windows in our house, both exterior doors, both sliding glass doors, and insulation in the attic.  Our biggest motivation for choosing this particular updating project was the $704 electric bill we had received the month prior.  Our electricity in the winter always runs in the $300-$500 range per month and we knew it had everything to do w/ the insulation (or lack thereof) and old windows.  There were also huge gaps in the exterior doors that weren't helping matters.  It was pretty much a no-brainer to choose this as our big remodel.

After 2 weeks of hard work by the contractor and his crew, all 13 windows, 2 sliders, 2 exterior doors, and insulation were done.  He said we had roughly 4 inches or less of insulation in the attic when we should have about 36 inches.  That is where 80% of our heat was escaping, so he took care of that while waiting for our windows to arrive.  Although we didn't expect to see a difference in our power bill so quickly, this month's bill was a full $170 less than the month before all the upgrades began!  That includes the 2 weeks that the contractors were working on our windows and doors and about a week when our front door had a makeshift cover w/ huge gaps over an area where the contractor had a worker fabricating a decorative little side window.  Imagine the difference we'll see next winter!!

Since we came in slightly under budget on everything else, we decided to ask the contractor to tile our laundry room floor.  The entryway we use the most leads directly into the laundry room, so it made sense to give it a little love.  Also, the tile is the same that was used on the kitchen floor when my in laws re-did that 5 or 6 years ago.  They bought enough to do the laundry room, but never got around to it, so the boxes of tile are just taking up space in the garage.  Neither Justin nor I have the tools, skills, or time to DIY that particular task, so this week begins the laundry room makeover.  (I'm hoping it will be all done in time to use that as my "L" post.)

There are still a ton of different things we want to modernize/upgrade to make our house more home-y.  Since I have been nesting lately, I'm going to talk more about those projects in my "N" post.  Just know that there are quite a few projects left to do; several of which I plan to complete before my son is born in June.  Those are mostly small design and organizational projects I've been needing to do since we bought the house 3 years ago.  I figure I should work on some of it while the motivation is strong and we have a teensy bit of disposable income.  Once Sawyer is born, both of those will become distant memories and I know it will be years before I can accomplish anything more than feeding/changing/child rearing.  

We weren't smart enough to take good before pictures of everything, but we did get a few and we found some photos in our archives that show certain areas of the house as they were before the contractor worked his magic.  So without further ado, here are the progress photos.

Our front door, laundry room windows, and carport door before

Our front door, laundry room windows, and carport door after

A closer look at the front door. It was 42" before, but we had him bring it down to a standard 36"

The window looking into our family/game room before
The window looking into our family/game room after
I don't have before pictures, but this is the slider looking into the living room. It used to open on the opposite side and had half a concrete step. Now it's got a full step made w/ deck material and opens on the left side.
This is the slider looking into the dining room. It also only had half a concrete step, but the contractor made a full step to match the other slider.  Also, both sliders now have functioning screens. No more flies in summer!!
Those gold/yellow funky windows were next to mine and Justin's bed.  They were AWFUL!!

Here is what our new bedside windows look like.  They open, they have screens, and they actually let in some light!!

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