• Virginia Tolles

More on Restoring an Old House

Real Estate Listing Photograph

My husband and I are attempting to purchase a house that was built in 1968. To me, since I was born in 1948, that is not an old house, but when I do the math and realize that 52 years have passed since that house was built, I have to admit that it is old.

Perhaps, one of the reasons that it doesn't feel old is that it was inspired by Colonial design. Even so, according to the home inspection, the fireplace needs a new flue and damper, the air conditioning condenser needs a new platform on which to rest, two windows need to be replaced, three rafters have bowed or cracked and must be replaced, and a French drain needs to be installed to help carry rain water away from the house.

Then, of course, redecorating is needed. The kitchen cabinets, while of good sturdy, stick-built stock, need a good cleaning and re-painting. The counter top needs to be replaced. The kitchen floor needs to be replaced. The appliances need to be replaced. The carpeting needs to be replaced with hardwood to match other hardwood flooring in the house. (public domain)

Can you see the costs adding up? Hopefully, the sellers will agree to pay for the repairs that the home inspection revealed. If not, then we will have to pass. As soon-to-be retirees, we cannot hope to foot that bill. As it is, we are looking for inexpensive ways to handle the redecorating issues.

I've found a wood laminate that would blend nicely with the existing hardwood (as long as they are in different rooms, which they would be). I've found a laminate counter top that pays nice homage to Calcutta marble. I've even found affordable stainless steel appliances. Think we should spend more? Why should we? We'll only live in the house for about 15 years before we pass on. By then, someone else will want something different -- just as we want something different from what the owners did in 1968.

I do not understand people who spend large sums for nearly new houses and then spend almost as much money redecorating them. If we wanted to spend a little more, we could find beautiful reclaimed granite or marble, gorgeous cabinets, and other decorative details from those nearly new houses. Why, they're hardly out of their boxes!

If you have an upcoming redecorating or renovation project, why not consider recycling some of those uber-upscale discards. You just might save a few dollars, you'll definitely save some fine items from going to the junk yard, and you'll absolutely love the results.


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