Progress Report: Fixer Upper Week 20

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Did you notice anything different about the front of the house?  The shutters are gone!  Here’s what it looked like last week:

house

Besides removing the shutters on the front of the house, David also re-attached some of the trim that was falling down.  And we spent some time scraping the front:

paint scraping

paint scraping

paint scraping

We also got an estimate on removing the dead tree out front – $650.  It hurts but we have to do it.  We were crossing our fingers that it wasn’t dead but so far we haven’t seen any evidence that it’s alive.

dead tree

Because it’s spring and we’d like to go ahead and landscape the front yard, our plan is to get all the prep work done on the front so we can add the plants.  So when the weather’s nice, that’s what our priority is.

But we aren’t going to abandon the inside.  We did a few small things this week:

1.       We finally ordered a new toilet seat for the bathroom.  White toilet seats are cheap and readily available but gray toilet seats are more expensive and have to be ordered.  So we ordered one from Home Depot for $60.  Ouch!  We’re crossing our fingers that it will be a close enough match to work.  Our other options are black or white but we really want to stick with gray.

Here’s the current seat:

toilet seat

Here’s what we ordered:

toilet seat

2.       We had a couple of warm days last week and tried out the air conditioning.  Just as we suspected, it doesn’t work.  So we have a heating and cooling friend coming by this week to see what’s up.  We’re expecting to replace both the furnace and a/c.

The current plan is:

1.       Continue working on the outside, specifically getting the front ready to paint.

2.       Landscape the front, especially the area directly in front of the house.

3.       Begin removing paneling in the living room and dining room.

4.       Install the second garage door opener.

5.       Choose a paint color for the outside.

Check back next week to see our progress.


Previous Progress Reports are available here.
Other Remodeling/Home Décor articles are available here.


Comments

  1. I wondered if you were going to leave the shutters, now i know ;) I also wondered if you were going to leave the balcony over the garage. ??? It’s got to be painful doing all the heavy work/process of scraping etc, but I know the house will look amazing when it’s done! Hang in there.
    650 seems rather high for tree removal. We had 5 dead trees removed and it wasn’t that high! I can’t remember the name of the company because I no longer have the records for our homeowners assoc. (I was treasurer) but that seems like a high price tag to me.

    • We are going to leave the balcony but it will need to be re-built. David wanted to get rid of it but everybody seems to like it so we’ll do what we can to make it look better. If we remove it, we’ll have to do something with that section of the house. We don’t want a big blank wall with no windows.

      Did you get a special deal on the trees since it was a homes association and they were doing 5? This one is pretty big.

  2. About the tree: Are you sure it is dead?

    Many trees do not push leaves until later in spring or even into early summer. Did the tree guy who gave you the estimate check the tree to see if it is alive?
    About the estimate: the $650 for cut down and removal is not too steep, particularly if there are overhead power lines around the area or other obstacles, and if the tree is particularly tall or of very hard wood (like locust). Also, if you choose to have the stump and roots ground out (versus flush-cutting the tree), this costs more and increases the overall price. FYI, I am a Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist, and I particularly love trees.

    • We didn’t get to talk to the tree guy – he was looking at some stuff for our neighbor and our neighbor had him look at our tree, too.

      We aren’t 100% certain it’s dead but we’ve broken off a few branches and they’re really dry and brittle. We have no idea what kind of tree it is. Do you have any guesses from the photo? I guess we should try to find out so we can see when that type of tree leafs out. We would love it if it was alive – not just to save the $650 but because it’s a nice, big tree and the only one in the middle of the front yard.

      • If you can reach any branches that are hanging down, take a penknife and *gently* scratch off the surface of the bark. If there is a layer of green underneath, then it’s alive. NOTE: do NOT do this on the trunk of the tree!!

        Based on the shape of the tree in the picture in this post, and of the tree directly across the street, this might be an American Elm, a popular street tree (before the advent of a disease that wiped out almost all of them). It’s hard to be sure unless you have close-up photos. If you have any other pictures of it, particularly close-ups of the trunk and branches, I’ll look at them if you want to email them. Otherwise, contact your local county Agricultural Extension Office or a tree specialist like Bartlett Tree Service to see if they can give you a free estimate/assessment of the health of your tree.

  3. You’re going to go ahead and remove the paneling? I really think that your paneling looks quite nice, but I know this is more of a business decision for you guys.
    Josh LaPorte recently posted…Back into one planner, in my Van der Spek binderMy Profile

    • We are. If we were staying in this house, we would leave it. But like you said, it’s a business decision and our target buyers don’t like it. We’ve been asking them and that’s their opinion. It does make the rooms darker. And right now it looks dated but if we cleaned it up and put a nice soft color on the walls, it would look better. But the bottom line is what the target buyer wants and they want dry wall.

  4. sorry so late in replying. No, we did not get a special deal, I just called them up and said we need trees removed and what’s the price. I’m thinking it was approx. 100 per tree (or so) and they didn’t even ask what size! They were old and huge and very dead. :|
    re balcony, I’m with Dave on that one. It’s just that its over the driveway! >.< maybe a bay window option instead? Don't you like the way I spend your money? ha ha ;) jk
    The place is gonna look fantastic!

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