How to renovate during a recession? Open thread

avatarSunday shout out: What tips and advice can you share with other readers who want to continue their projects during these economic times? Projects to prioritize… ways to economize… DIY or save for the pro’s?…(fill in the blank)…how are you keeping your projects moving along?

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Comments

  1. says

    We received lots of discouragement on the topic of putting new arborite on top of old arborite on our laundry sink vanity. As a result, we got the cabinet maker who made our bathroom vanity to make a new top (complete with new arborite) that sits on top of the former laundry sink vanity. It looks fabulous and it isn’t obvious to the naked eye that the vanity actually has 2 counter-tops (the original and the new counter-top).

  2. Anita says

    Ok, I’m sure some of you are going to hate this but I have to say it…. I purchased a house in Merced last summer to fix up and have fun with, sell, rent I’m not sure yet. It’s a very non-descript 1980s 1400sf single story house. Appeared to have been rented for years. Kitchen cabinets cheap (very cheap) and painted ugly white, countertop a prefab fake butcher block style with multiple burns. (ok, here comes the part you won’t like… IKEA)
    Yes, I ended up at Ikea and purchased for an unbelievably low price a formica countertop in a steel gray color (the other side is white, they all are a ‘reversible’ style with 2 color choices) and it has a brushed metal (fake) edge on it. Considering it was less than $100 for a 96″ countertop it is a heck of a deal and looks quite nice. We installed it ourselves (first time) and it was really easy. They have it in about 5 or 6 more styles of formica . I also purchased a 48″ size of the same thing for the master bath (I think it was $59) and it is quite retro-fun also.

    • says

      Anita, no apologies required! I don’t have anything against Ikea at all! I don’t write about it, because I live in the boonies and the closest one is probably 4 hours away. I am sure there is plenty of stuff there that would be great for our homes. Hmmm. I will add this to my list to research at some point. I am a bit overloaded right now. I have, like, 30 sets of reader home submissions/photos to sort through. Thanks for the tip on good priced countertops at Ikea!

    • beatrice jarrett says

      Hi Anita, Don’t apologize about IKEA! They have a lot of style for not a lot of bucks. I found a 1950’s style drainboard sink ( in stainless steel) for $200.00 at IKEA. I ultimately went with a used white porcelain sink I found at Habitat for Humanity, but had decided to use the IKEA sink until I just happened to run across the one at H for H.

  3. Robert says

    Wall(s) needs two coats of paint?

    Use a cheap version for first coat then use your good paint for final coat.

    Robert

  4. bethjt says

    I have noticed a lot of local (Houston) suppliers taking advantage of Craig’s list and Ebay to sell fixtures. There are lighting fixtures, counter tops, plumbing fixtures, etc. available as well as all kinds of services. You must be a careful buyer (no refunds) but it can really pay!

  5. beatrice jarrett says

    Here’s how i’ve done a renovation of my 1950’s kitchen on an almost non-existent budget (i’m actually pretty proud of my “cheap” ways of getting what I wanted & yes, I brag about all my “finds” a lot!).Got kitchen cabinets free on craigslist ( they’re only 6 months old; new house owners were doing an upgrade); got my awesome 1952 Tappan range on craigslist for $100.00 & spent $215.00 to convert it from propane to gas. Got an amazing commercial size Vent-a-Hood (which, BTW, retails new for $1,968.00!) at Habitat for Humanity for $128.00; works perfectly! Got big, cast iron commercial pot rack ( It was new; all hooks etc. still in shrink-wrap) at Salvation Army for $60.00 ( retails for $400.00). Got a great light fixture from craigslist; it’s six mini-pendants with halogen flying-saucer shapes, for $50.00. Put down VC tiles ( at 79 cents for a 12 X 12 tile buffed & waxed it myself. Found an awesome art-deco 50’s dinette set at Salvation Army for $49.00 & put $150.00 into re-upholstering chairs & laminate sheet for table ( BTW, if you like the Formica “cracked ice” laminate but can’t afford the crazy expense of it, I found Wilsonart Maroochy Brush ( only comes in buttercup yellow, though), which is very similar to the cracked ice. I paid $77.40 at Lowes for a 36″ X 144″ sheet. Also comes in 60″ X 144″ sheet for $129.00. Found seven cases of buttercup yellow tiles at Habitat for Humanity for $10.00 a case, then splurged & ordered hand painted Talevera tiles from Mexico, for the border & accents. I’m on the home-stretch now & will post pics. when my kitchen is 100% DONE. It’s been fun & maddening & inconvenient but i’m so thrilled with the results.

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