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New Home Improvement Project!

April 13th, 2017 at 04:25 pm

As you may know, I just had central air installed here. It was a long time coming. I've suffered in the dog days of summer for 20 years!

Even though I am under-employed, I decided to proceed with one more major home improvement project for this year, partly because if I DO find a f/t job, it will suddenly make my time very limited and I don't feel comfortable having workmen in my home when I'm not here.

(A similar situation developed 8 years ago when i was having my screened porch converted to a sun room. The work had already started and then i lost my job, but i just proceeded according to plan and everything worked out fine.)

So my new home improvement is this. For years, I longed for a wall of built-in bookshelves in my dining room on either side of a double hung window.

I love built-ins in general and I grew up in a house in New Jersey where the bedrooms had built in dresser drawers! Very cool.

In my dining room, there's a bump-out at one end of the wall that covers heating ductwork, and it come out about 14" from the wall. I think the bookshelves will work well running along the rest of that wall and be flush with the 14" deep bump-out. I will also put a loveseat under the window with some kind of cabinet underneath for added storage. However, cabinets are sort of predictable.

After my mother passed, I gained a ton of art but also various knick-knacks which I am fond of but which I can't display now due to lack of space. And I'm overflowing with books.

So several months ago, I called Billy, the guy i use as a handyman and who lives here in town, and left a message. He never called back and I assumed he was too busy with his regular work to fit me in. I called him becus carpentry is his specialty and he is very affordable, charging just $200 for a full day of work.

I went to Angie's List and identified 3 companies that could probably do a good job, but I was worried about cost. As I read the reviews, I couldn't find a single job that was under $10,000 and I really wasn't prepared to spend that much on this.

So right before I planned to call these other outfits to come out for an estimate, I called Billy again, and this time he called me back and said he could do it.

He came over today and spent an hour and a half talking with me about the job; I showed him photos of what I had in mind, we discussed different details, prices, materials and he showed me his album which includes bookshelves very similar to what I want, plus I noticed instead of a cabinet below the window, he had done a pull-out drawer for another customer which looked very good and is a little different.

He thinks he can start last week of April. He estimates 4-5 days of work plus materials, so we're looking at about $1,000 for labor and maybe another $800 for materials. All told, I would consider this pretty affordable and I suspect this is FAR cheaper than what I'd pay elsewhere, even though I didn't get a chance to call another place for a quote.

He works a bit slowly but is fairly methodical and knows what he's doing. This will be the biggest project he's done for me yet. I'm excited!!

The shelves will look something like this:

Except that instead of going around a doorway, the shelving will be on either side of a window, with the bench/cabinet below.

Here's the wall as it looks now:

At the left end of wall is the bump out I mentioned that encloses ductwork going to the second floor. So the shelves would be flush with the edge of that bump out and be about 14" deep. The length of the shelves on either side of the window will not be the same, so it won't be perfectly symmetrical, which I'd prefer, but it will still look good. There will be 2 vertical lengths of shelves on the left and 3 on the right of the window, which is a bit wider space.

I have to clear out space in my garage so he can store the materials and also clear out my dining room. It's mainly a lot of art and 3 pieces of furniture to move: the dining room table, a lightweight credenza and my mother's sewing machine. I will need to find a new location for the sewing machine, possibly just keeping it in the dining room but moving it slightly right to the adjacent wall. Might be a bit crowded. Will have to see.

Oh boy. I LOVE built-in shelves and will have no trouble filling them up. I will paint the whole thing white since all the trim around here is already painted.

I'm excited. Smile

You may think it a bit premature for me to be moving forward with this when I'm not earning a regular income, but my main reason again is that I don't expect it to be super expensive and now is when I have time to hang around and be here when the work is being done. If I waited until I was fully employed again, I'd have to wait til I had some vacation time. Billy may not always be available as his new employer is keeping him pretty busy, so I'm glad he's willing to fit me into his busy schedule.

I turned in a $600 writing assignment this past Sunday and just got the next one tonight, so will have to put my bookshelf plans aside for now and focus on the job. I'll have it done by next weekend.

4 Responses to “New Home Improvement Project!”

  1. Bluebird Says:

    I think that's a fabulous idea! Very reasonably priced, too! It's nice to have the extra space to store things properly. It's important to be happy in your home!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    I think it's wonderful! Great price and I know you have funds, so won't be going into debt, despite the lower income.

  3. My English Castle Says:

    Oooh, I love it. Built-in bookshelves rock.

  4. Dido Says:

    Exciting! Nice to be able to do it while you have the time--and even if you are underemployed, you have the money to do it. No need to think/act poor even if your current employment isn't what you would wish. And extra storage is great. It's the one thing I dislike about living in a hundred year old house.

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