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Open thread: What made you happy about your house this summer?

HAPPINESS IS… a cozy house. What has made you happy about your home this summer, dear readers? Me: Outside, my perennials are getting well established and sending me lots of colorful blooms. Inside, we had the kitchen floor polished so it’s nice and shiny. Best of all, my brother and his kids came to visit, and we spent a lot of time at the nearby lake. How about you? Are you glad you chose the home you did? Is your home happy you chose it?

  1. Alison Marie says:

    I have grass instead of dirt in my backyard finally, all thanks to my wonderful BF’s encouragement & assistance. It made dinners outside with friends on the 60’s metal and plastic wicker chairs (bought at a swap meet b/c they perfectly match the blue paint on the doors to my house) even more enjoyable. I have a tiny little pie-shaped lot, *and* I was away a lot of the summer, so I treasured every minute out in the yard.

  2. sumac sue says:

    Atomic Bowler Dave, you are oh so right on the cost estimating regarding home improvements. And if the job does come in close to budget — guess what, there is always another one waiting in the wings. Now our water heater has conked out. The plumber is back today, hooking up the new one.

  3. Julie says:

    I was happy to escape to our vintage cabin in the mountains! Love the original kitchen, complete with sheet linoleum in green and yellow “tile” patterns; a fascinating plastic laminate counter that has little green leaf patterns throughout; and dark, “wood-grained”, tall, solid, laminate covered cabinets with ornate metal pulls/handles and black edges. Because this home does not get constant use, these kitchen elements have remained in good condition!

  4. atomicbowler-dave says:

    Well, here’s a gem I got drilled into me as an apprentice-on-way-to-journeyman years ago:

    (Personally, I find it very true, and it never fails me on estimates for other people…only myself when I ignore it!)

    Take the MAXIMUM number of labor hours you think it will realistically, POSSIBLY take to do the job. Got it? Great!

    Now double it. No, make yourself. Look ridiculous? Great! Keep the number.

    Now add 10 percent. Seriously.

    You’ll be pretty much dead-on every time, or it will turn out to be a pleasant surprise and you will be a hero. No joke!

    Dave

  5. sumac sue says:

    Missouri Michael, this story will make you know you are not alone. A plumber is in our crawl space this very minute. He is hooking up a line so we can have a gas cooking stove (our end-of-summer project). He, and we, thought it would be a pretty simple job. Of course not. Existing pipe is not the right size, etc. etc. What we have budgeted for this plumbing job and a new stove probably will all go toward the plumbing job. We will have to wait a few months to get the stove! Oh well. We got to a point where we said OK, we aren’t crazy about this house. So, do we move, do we stay and put up with what we don’t like, or do we do the things that will make us happy here? We have decided to do the latter course of action. We will eventually have our gas stove, and we will be so much happier in the kitchen. Perhaps this is what it takes to come to love your house.

  6. Maria Stahl says:

    While I’m thinking of it, my parents’ original-owner 1957 ranch home in Roseville, MN, is getting to be too much for them. They think they could never sell it, but I think someone would adore it. It has the original built-ins in the kitchen, including the vintage brushed steel wall oven and range hood, and the flying saucer style kitchen ceiling light. Three bedrooms, full basement, double attached garage and a big lot with the back yard fenced. If anyone is looking for something like this, please email me and I can put you in touch with my folks. I’d like to have them move closer to me.

  7. Maria Stahl says:

    Pam, sorry, I just checked back for the first time since Sept. 8th. 🙂 We bought our geothermal system through a local HVAC contractor, but it’s a ClimateMaster (http://residential.climatemaster.com/) (made in Oklahoma by LSB Industries). Our 1-1/2 story concrete block house with lots of windows required a 4-ton system. Ours is a closed loop system, meaning we have wells in the back yard with a system of circulating pipes that send fluid out of the basement, down through each of the wells in turn, then back into the house, into the heat exchange unit that either pulls heat out of the fluid (winter) or puts it back in again (summer). Then the conditioned air is circulated through our existing ductwork.

    The only power it uses is the electricity to keep the fluid pumping and the fans for the forced air. It’s very clean, and way cheaper to run than our old oil furnace, plus we got a/c out of the deal. The whole system, including the unit, some added duct work, and the well drilling, cost us about $18,000, $3000 of which was offset by a federal tax credit and another $3300 of which was rebated to us by the power company. We estimate our break even point is between 5 and 6 years. Plus, as I find myself unable to restrain myself from saying yet again, WE HAD AIR CONDITIONING THIS SUMMER. 🙂 It was awesome.

    In a perfect world, I would be able to put up a couple of windmills to provide power to run the geothermal system, but that is unrealistic. But it’s fun to think about.

  8. FrankiesWife says:

    Oooh, I love my Tiki Lagoon. My husband built every square inch of my 1950’s polynesian environment. The house was built in 1949, so a few years ago, we put in a 1950’s blueprint pool to match the house. I live on an acre and my pool environment covers about 1/4 of it. Palms, vines, bamboo, vintage pool slide, two covered structures completely decked out in vintage hawaiiana. We regulary have guests who so enjoy themselves here, they keep inviting themselves back, but we don’t mind, in fact, we love it. We just love sharing with everyone what we have been blessed with. And we also love to talk about how we created our awesomely cool locale that is “Tiki Lagoon”.

    Pam, I would love to see you do more on vintage pool environments, it’s such the rage right now!

  9. Kristy says:

    I’m loving our house this year – we put our new windows in just a few weeks ago, I still haven’t finished putting up the trim.

    By far my favorite house project was completely unexpected. I found a set of 1940 Heywood-Wakefield furniture on St Louis craigslist, and agreed to buy it, without even knowing the stuff was collectable! I’m in love! I had to go buy the vanity (the only piece the original bedroom set was missing) just to complete my set. The dining set is wonderful also, and it will work well with the midcentury kitchen I’ll get someday! I bought it from the children of the original owners, and they had me promise to love it for another 70 years =)

  10. Janet Gore says:

    We began year #2 in our 1961 ranch in late June. Leaking (no, pouring) windows were one of our biggest challenges. Replacing the windows was not an option, so we managed to design storm windows that work with the original Andersens. My hope is that when it rains, it will no longer pour!

    Water was also coming through the chimney bricks … that had to be sealed. Won’t know if the sealing worked until the next heavy rain … hopefully without water dripping from the ceiling!

    My husband has been in love with this house since he was a teenager (we’re now in our early 60s), so purchasing this was a dream come true … for him. The move was not something I wanted, but I think I’ve become as (if not more) attached to it than he.

    The house was in the same family since it was built, and some “strange” updates have been made, but most of the house remains “quirky”.

    So we began year #2 taking care of old plumbing (did lots of old electrical last year), and ridding ourselves of some “up dates” that didn’t seem “right”.

    We still have so much to do, but right now must call a halt to it … there’s always next year, and the year after that . . .

    Enjoy this site and everyone’s upbeat attitude!

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