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Best bag for the buck – home improvement

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 09:02 am
I’ve mentioned about crown molding and my half bath and have some more questions for those that are in the “know” or even those that like to give their 2 cents. We live in a condo " 2 bedrooms and 2 an a half baths with over 1,700 sq feet, built in 1998 with a modern look. We hope to upgrade a few things both for us and to sell next year.

We decided on crown molding with a price ticket of about $4,800. We will have wainscoting on the stairway with larger molding as they stairway is quite high. In addition, they will replace the mantel in the stairway as the current one is crap. Then we will have molding around the living/kitchen and dining - this is a large area.

Our next thoughts are to upgrade the bathrooms. I was thinking of having a pedestal sink, but after looking at pipes and the layout, thought it would be too expensive. So our next thoughts were to update the floor tiling and refinish the cabinets with new countertops and fixtures. We currently have red oak cabinets in all bathrooms. Hubby was thinking to have the cabinets in white (which I do not like, but if it is better resale " ok) and the master in cherry and maybe do some tiling around the shower to give it a custom look. Also, update the fixtures to nickel. Any thoughts? Is white still popular?

Another big item was to put in new carpet in the bedrooms " we are thinking of not Berber, but a close tight type carpet with a neutral color. The rest of our floors are wood except bathroom and kitchens. We have updated the kitchen already with granite, new tile and stainless steel appliances.

Any other thoughts to improve our look? We plan to spend about $20k.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 3,945 • Replies: 38

 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 09:16 am
@Linkat,
I would take the time to go to a place like Barnes & Noble and look through home and design magazines. That way you will see the most current looks and what will be pushed by the interior design people over the next few years. The high end designers still call the shots as to what will be pushed at the public. Granite is already being called "the avocado green of the housing collapse", but people still value it - the magazines will point you to the hottest, upcoming trends.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:22 am
@Linkat,
I occasionally watch some of the remodeling shows on HGTV; they often discuss which areas of the house give you the best return on your money.

Kitchens and bathrooms seem to be the best "investments", provided they're done well.

Light woods currently seem to be preferred over dark woods. Natural wood finish over painted. Lots of people order "semi-custom" cabinets online and assemble them on site; saves 20-40%.

Personally, I dislike granite counter tops; I find granite cold and unforgiving. (Knock over a glass on one of those and it will shatter every time. That's unacceptable to me, especially since you need really good lighting, and a high polish, to bring out the beauty of granite.)

Just replacing the faucets and whatnot can really improve the look of a bathroom.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:24 am
@Green Witch,
I'll agree with Green Witch and the visit to Barnes and Noble to browse and maybe pick up some magazines to get a clue of what is being pushed. Since you live in Boston, there is likely an architectural bookstore there - and I'm an old fan of browsing those kind of stores (plus I used to spend too much in them, another story). Hennessey & Ingalls in Santa Monica used to have all the latest re decor, architecture, art, photography, landscape - I could spend hours in there.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:32 am
@ossobuco,
I'm mixed on HGTV shows - I've seen some atrocious ones, but haven't watched lately.
Do you have a favorite, Drew Dad?
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:39 am
@ossobuco,
I recently discovered I could watch these on-line. I've had to stop watching the landscaping ones - I kept screaming "noooo!" at the computer.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:43 am
@Green Witch,
Right!!!
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:43 am
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:
Do you have a favorite, Drew Dad?

"Sweat Equity"

The have a tame real estate agent appraise it, do the work, then appraise it again. They talk about the budget, choices of how to apply the budget, etc.

I have no idea how accurate the appraisals are, but it's a good show.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:44 am
@Green Witch,
I've heard similar - about the granite - but when we were trying to sell just a while ago - eveyone kept saying, but they don't have granite (seemed to be the biggest comment). So we got granite. And it does look really good with our cabinets and floor tiling - we do have good lighting in the kitchen so it does so the colors well. And we were able to negotiate a good deal due to the economy.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:47 am
@Linkat,
It will only be a negative if you are trying to sell to gay guys or high enders - most people will rate it as a plus. I don't think it was a big mistake, but look for incoming trends with the work are now doing.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:47 am
@ossobuco,
I like alot of them. I've seen the staging one, and the various ones where they come in and do upgrades. Some of the recent ones I've like is the show where 3 people do an upgrade to a certain room or outdoors - they compare the 3 and determine which made the best decisions. I also like the one where the guy comes in and tells them they have waaay overpriced their home - real estate intervention or some sort of name.

Myself, I prefer the natural woods too - but my husband says he has seen lots of bathrooms in condos being white - I thought white was in 10 years ago - but if it is popular, I can stand it.
Green Witch
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 10:49 am
@Linkat,
I would keep the natural wood. If someone wants white they can easily paint. Not so easy to restore natural wood.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 12:47 pm
granite is red hot. I'm doing a bid on a kitchen remodel and the owners didn't want to hear about anything else.

Sounds like you're on the right track
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 12:51 pm
@panzade,
Thanks - I have heard that granite is on the way out too - but it seems from what I've heard that is more the extreme trendies that have to have what no body knows yet is hot. I do like the look of most granite and don't mind the "hardness" factor and I've dropped my nice crystal on it and fortunately it survived. I've also broken stuff on my nice tile flooring as well so anything hard can be a problem.

I will look into the "white" thing as I really do not like it personally - although I can see how it gives a nice clean look.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 01:05 pm
@Linkat,
I have a bias against red oak cabinets, left over from my anti seventies stuff bias.. I've wanted to refinish my present ones (lot of work, white or not). I thought of a white semi transparent "wipe" on them. Now that seems eighties cabinet repatriation to me, sort of swedish-izing. I also once redid old cheap cabinets with oil enamel paint (back when that existed) - that was for a "laundry room/cookbook room". It was quite jolly, their being a pleasant sort of greyed aqua in an apricot room.. but clearly a cheapo fix. The house did sell in one day though... (sad to me, since I loved it).

I ended up taking the doors off the top level of my present kitchen cabinets and being immediately happier. The doors had decades of crud on them, hard to remove without ruining the varnish, or at least for me it was.

I might consider, if I were you, Link, staining the cabinets a slightly darker color. But then I would decide not to, they are oak, not walnut, and I'm also biased against faux. So.. if I were you, I'd leave them. Plenty of people like red oak, and I doubt that is a deal breaker.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 02:38 pm
@ossobuco,
Thanks - we do have a refinishing guy coming over too - I wouldn't attempt myself. I just looked at some white stuff on line and some of it isn't bad. Unfortunately I won't be able to be there when he comes over so I'll have to trust hubby. Do you think these guys are typically honest? i.e. they will let us know what will work, what is more popular, etc?


We may also speak with an interior designor to get their take - not sure how much they'll charge.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 02:47 pm
@Linkat,
A white bathroom can look very nice if you got a good accent color with it.
Look here..
http://cptnrin.smugmug.com/photos/686600916_fpcBq-O-1.jpg
http://cptnrin.smugmug.com/photos/686600910_zooqR-O-1.jpg
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 02:53 pm
@CalamityJane,
I've had white cabinets and liked them, but those were from Ikea... not painted over oak, which comes back to GW's mention, that if the prospective owners don't want painted wood, it's not that easy to take off.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 03:21 pm
@ossobuco,
Will they be able to know? I don't know much about the remodeling stuff. We want to it look like - wow!
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 03:21 pm
@CalamityJane,
Now I do like that -
 

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