March 6, 2015

2015 Already?!

I can't believe the last blog post for the Manor was in December. The Master bathroom refresh is complete and the rough-edge shelves are awesome. We are enjoying the clutter-free arrangement and lighter color in the small space! There's nothing like freshly painted bathroom baseboards!

I have been thinking about our home-renovation philosophy and always having a project going. We have a master plan that involves a porch conversion, and a few more large scale landscaping projects that I'm chomping at the bit to get done. House/garden projects are my favorite creative outlet, but lately I've felt a the need to dial back the big $$$ projects. There are two reasons: the first is that it's probably foolish to spend all one's money on home improvements, and more importantly: it's also unwise to invest so much into an asset that isn't really appreciating. Comparable houses in the neighborhood are selling for way less than we bought our house.

I'm fine with being a little upside down or flat in value. We didn't buy the house as an investment really, but rather a place to live. But it seems silly to pour every spare dollar into a house that has flat (at best!) value 7 years after purchase.

Part of launching the blog was to keep track of the improvements to the property, to see how far we've come, and to loosely keep track of the time and money we've put in. And it's been a lot. The roof, kitchen, fence, front landscaping, front door, patio, insulation, security system, exterior paint - we're talking thousands of dollars over the years (not to mention the blood sweat & tears!)

Most years, we have a plan for what projects we're saving up for. For 2015, we're switching gears. We're maintaining everything, doing a little garden work, but not spending the moolah. We can continue with the upgrades that don't cost anything and keep them more in line with what the neighborhood and markets will support.

Ongoing posts will consist of less hammer and nail kind of stuff, and more posts of things like: flower arrangements (yes, I'm a sucker for those!), garden edibles, plants that I dug up from one part of the yard and replanted in another (a favorite free hobby), and hopefully clutter clearing projects.

December 29, 2014

Master Bathroom Refresh

With a few days off around the holidays, the gaybors found it hard to sit still. A staycation is just an opportunity to complete some house projects!

About the "Master Bathroom": it's tiny. There are no windows, despite having an outside facing wall. This area used to be the woodstove in the kitchen area, but the guy we bought the house from turned it into a 2nd bathroom, probably for resale value. I'm grateful for the 2nd bathroom and having one right by the main bedroom. The tiles are beautiful and there are nice custom cabinets above the toilet. But not enough storage or surfaces to place everyday items. At least once a week, I hear my wife cursing in the bathroom as something crashes to the ground because all we have is a tiny 3" deep x 20" wide shelf.

We painted the bathroom a few years ago a lovely Restoration Hardware navy blue. But it turned out too dark, and all my feng shui research says that blue and water-associated colors are to be avoided in the bathroom. Makes sense.

So we washed the walls, painted it Travertine (my favorite neutral paint color and also our kitchen color). It took two coats. I thought it might take more. But we got nice Valspar paint that supposedly had primer built in (a weird concept, but it covered really nicely).

In addition, we are putting in new art (a botanical print instead of an ocean scene), new (orange!) towels, and the biggest improvement - new custom redwood shelves above the toilet.

These are from a raw slab that came from Almquist Lumber. We had them make a couple cuts, then sanded and stained. The next post will be about how the installation went!