Thursday, October 20, 2011

Browsing through home design and renovation sites online...

I came across several things which sort of jumped out at me. One was the conceit of a smug article on downsizing your home. I realize the average home is over 2000 square feet in the USA right now, but there I was, looking for articles on making my under-1000SF home more space-efficient and I was struck by the conceit of an article admonishing people to pare out the excess and how to live well in 1200 SF. I only WISH I had a whopping 1200 SF. The truth of it is, if you can swing a larger home in an area you'd like to live, why wouldn't you? It's certainly more comfortable, especially for a tchotchke queen like me. Meh.

Another pet-peeve is space-saving design and devices. I suppose these things are primarily designed for folk for whom space and not money is the premium, because a lot of these little gadgets and decorative flourishes would send my budget reeling, quite frankly. I suppose one thing that is frustrating is that like most published magazines, their sites are funded by companies who are selling design concepts and rely on you shelling out bucks to have a very proscribed look to your home. Unfortunately for me (or moreso for them as I'll not be shelling out my hard earned dosh on their products), the only thing I've an excess of is elbow grease and that is limited by the confines of my schedule.

There's much that remains to do on my home to make it presentable. I'm still in baby steps phase, but fortunately, I have friends who seem to have grasped my design direction and are wonderfully supportive and encouraging to that end, so I don't have to wait until it's "done" to have friends over to visit. I have to consider the value of my home on the market and how long I am (or am not) likely to live here, and the cold hard realities of how likely I am to see the cost of renovations back out of the home when I do sell it one day.

To be quite frank, if I felt I would be living here for 20 years, I would be spending probably about $30,000 (more than half what I spent on the house) on the kitchen renovation, and it would be well worth it to me, as a cook and entertainer. Living in the real world, though, when this house sells one day, my future buyer will most likely be a single professional who doesn't need multiple bathrooms, or it will be bought by a small family with a very modest budget. I need to spend here accordingly, because those buyers are not going to be able to afford my long-term taste.

I'm currently vexing over the floor situation. The house was a Sears kit home from the early 30s. The flooring throughout is fir and in varying states of condition. The kitchen has an awkward step up ont decking of 3/4" plywood with shoddy (and torn in places) vinyl over it. I'm marinating ideas of how to address the overall situation in a way that doesn't have a huge outlay of cash. The simplest idea seems to me to pull out the vinyl and replace it with yet more vinyl. I wonder what host of horrors the floor is under that decking? Yes, sounds like a holiday for someone who espouses the Elbow Grease school of renovation, but the problem with that type of challenge is that peeling back old layers often reveals greater problems that require more money than elbow grease. So-- do I put down more vinyl? Or linoleum tiles? or just some cheap laminate flooring in the kitchen that will show traffic wear patterns in just a few years? Or do I just man-up and pull up the vinyl and decking and face the music of whatever is under there? I'm having a hard time deciding.

What would you do?

12 comments:

Miguel said...

Let sleeping dogs lie. Kitchen and bathroom flooring hide the inevitable rot of years of traffic and water. Unless the kitchen sink suddenly drops to the basement (think Tom Hanks bathtub scene in The Money Pit) just lay new flooring over the old one if you can get away with it.

mausergirl said...

Don't laugh ... paper.

www.yankeemagazine.com/issues/2009-01/home/flooring

ZerCool said...

Peel it up. Put down new underlayment at a minimum and subfloor if required. Seal and level appropriately.

Vinyl tile is inexpensive, durable, and looks very good (IMHO).

I did my half-bath with it this past spring and would gladly do it again.

I'd be happy to toss you some pointers if you decide to go that route.

Tolewyn said...

If we hadn't alreaqdy pulled some up and found that the previous diy idjit had used particle board vs ply wood, I would say leave it. However, since we've already pulled out about 1/2 a ton of bad ideas, I would say it needs to come up and be re-done.

Farm.Dad said...

Pull it down to the studs , re-floor with real tile to match height . I can say that since its not my time and $$ LOL. but seriously with the issues there , it wouldn't be all that much more expensive .

Farmmom said...

With my experience with Renovations, if it were left to me I would pull the floor and go back with real tile. I have done several floors with the vinyl tile and it seems to last 3 to 5 yrs before it starts peeling. Over all on flooring my opinion is to do a good job to begin with and it will pay in the long run.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

Nothing says 'Phlegmmy' like brightly-colored, decorative vinyl, IMHO. http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/433145433/colorful_soft_home_decorative_vinyl_flooring.html When it comes time to sell the house, put down a floating laminate right over the top.

Peter said...

You can't afford to leave sleeping problems unaddressed. If you sell the place, and the new owner rips up the vinyl and finds long-standing damage underneath, guess who he's going to sue?

I'm afraid you don't really have much choice but to go down as far as you have to, and fix it all.

Anonymous said...

Pull it up, rip it out and put down ceramic tile. If I can do it by myself then anybody can.
AC

Roscoe said...

Back when our second child was born, I saw workers installing wood patterned linoleum in empty rooms of the maternity ward at the hospital as part of an effort to create a more "homey" feel without installing real wood.

Sorry -- I didn't get the name of the product or the manufacturer, but it looked great installed. I assume that the hospital and architect/designer did their homework for a product that would wear well.

In FL, floors are concrete slabs, and something we always wanted to try on our porch was stamped concrete made to resemble weathered wood just like they do in Frontierland at Disney World (didya think that was real?). We never got around to that before we left, however.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, avoid using laminate anywhere that will get water/liquid on it. If water gets between the seams it can swell the laminate and start popping the seams and the only way to fix it is to rip those pieces out and replace. My parents are currently dealing with this situation in their kitchen with laminate that is only 5 years old.

Also, as someone who loves kitchens as entertaining areas and has a no shoes in the house policy, pick a flooring with a light texture. Smooth slippery flooring is horribly annoying as I'm standing there talking to someone, shift my weight to the other foot, and suddenly one foot is sliding away from the other one. Fun when kitchen-floor surfing, but annoying and potentially dangerous when the sliding is unexpected.

Douglas2 said...

+1 on the real linoleum, a period-appropriate feature for a house such as yours. Then remember to do frequent use of mop-n-glo.

My experience with installing real tile in real houses has always seemed to involve strengthening the floor so that I would have "deflection" within the spec of the tile/backboard/mortar suppliers. I've done it not-to-spec, and always had popping or cracked tiles as a result