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07 September 2009

Replacing brass doorknobs with bronze door knobs

Door knobs are expensive! 

Our house is full of brass, and we hate it.  We started by replacing all the outlet covers with nice venetian bronze plates that I found at Lowe's.  The darker colors really go well with the decor.

Now, we've decided to replace all the brass doorknobs.  Of course, this also means replacing the brass hinges as well.

We found some inexpensive Kwikset knobs on ebay, 6 passage and 6 privacy knob sets, for $150.  I found 10 matching dummy knobs for our double-door closets in each bedroom and for the french doors to the TV room... about $75 for those.  60 bronze hinges for $0.99 each plus shipping, which also worked out to about $75.  I'm one privacy knob short so I'll probably just pick that up at home depot for $20... which will bring the total cost of this little project to about $320.

Of course, it could've been worse.

There are 20 interior doors.  Home Depot sells the bronze hinges in sets of 3 with screws for $9... that's $192 with tax.  The passage knobs are $15, the privacy knobs are $20, and the dummy knobs are $10... so for my counts, with tax, that's $353.

Total savings by going the ebay route:  $225, or about 41%.

Not bad!

Posted by rickroot at 3:06 PM | Link | 0 comments
03 March 2008

Home Projects

So we recently had Dalton Carpets in Raleigh replace the carpeting in our living room and sun room (aka TV room) - and Emily's bedroom.  Builder grade carpet isn't meant to last, and ours was in need of replacement when we moved in 2-1/2 years ago.  And after 2-1/2 years, it was so horrible even a professional cleaning did nothing for it.  Anyway, Dalton Carpets doesn't have a showroom or warehouse, they just come to your home with samples, and offer good pricing for installed carpeting.  The salesman who came to our house was very nice and professional, and once we told him what we had in mind he showed us some carpet options, and the carpet looks really really fantastic.  I love it.  The installers were very professional and quick.  I would definately recommend these folks, and we'll use them again when we recarpet the master bedroom and second bedroom.

Our next step, to prevent carpet clash on the second floor, is to install hardwood flooring in the landing, and we're going to hardwood the stairway.  I had home depot come out and measure and give a quote, but they total cost was like $2800 - $2100 of which was for the staircase.  And they were going to do the staircase in strip flooring.  I don't know about you, but I've never seen a stairway done with tongue-and-groove strip hardwood flooring.

Anyway, I ended up buying the materials for the landing (4 boxes of Bruce "plano plank" oak hardwood floors, some underlayment, and a few special order pieces) for about $380 plus I'll have to rent a flooring nailer.  And I called Stock Lumper Company in Apex - they sell pre-made, unfinished oak stair treads, so I'll get 14 of those for about $500 total.  Dad is going to stain them to match the flooring so that'll be nice.

Hopefully, the hardwood won't be too tough to install.  I think the stairway will actually be relatively easy, since we're just ripping off the carpet, replacing the original pine treads with the oak ones, and painting the risers white.

All told, it should cost us less than $1000.

Posted by rickroot at 12:12 PM | Link | 0 comments
18 February 2008

New Carpet Coming Soon

So our house is about 10 years old.  Builder grade carpeting has a life expectancy of about 5 years, and our carpet - especially the stuff in the living room downstairs - is dead dead dead.

My sister had her house recarpeted by Dalton Carpets a few years ago and said they did a pretty good job, so we gave them a call.  They have no showroom and no significant warehouse.  All the carpet is ordered from the factory, and they offer excellent prices for installed carpet.  We had been looking at Home Depot, but even given their relatively low $199 "whole house" installation, we're getting a MUCH nicer carpet and pad at a lower price.

Here's a sample of the Shangrila Palomino we're having put in.  It's a high density Frieze style carpet that should be very suitable for our high traffic living room.  And it won't show the dirt we track in either!

We're also carpeting Emily's room - even let her pick the color - she went with a Westn Hill "Electric Blue" carpet.  The clash with her 'disney princess pink" walls will be blinding so we're gonna get her room repainted pretty quickly!

We're also having Home Depot come out to measure on Thursday for doing hardwood on the stairway and second floor landing - that way we won't have carpet clash between Emily's room and the landing =)

Posted by rickroot at 7:33 AM | Link | 0 comments
08 October 2007

Bought a new Washing Machine - Maytag Epic 9600

So, last weekend our old Maytag washing machine died.  The timer stopped working, and last time we had it repaired, we were told that if the timer ever stopped working, we might as well buy a new washer.

I assume this means that the timer is an expensive part, and there's not much point in paying $200 or so to repair a washing machine when you can buy a new one for $400.  Of course, since this is my first ever purchase of a washing machine, and I know that washing machines last forever - hopefully - I wanted to get something nice, and that meant a front-loader.  Which also meant that it wasn't going to cost $400.

So I borrowed a Consumer Reports from my mom, and headed over to Home Depot.  Naturally, they didn't have most of the specific models that Consumer Reports reviewed - go figure.  But I came across a Maytag Epic MFW9600SQ that looked interesting at $799, and Home Depot was having sale for 10% off all appliances, and a Maytag offered a $100 mail in rebate on the purchase of a washer/dryer pair.  Seems like a good deal, and all of the Epic series washers from Maytag were rated pretty well, including the newer model Epic MFW9700SQ which was the third or fourth highest rated washer they reviewed.

So I headed home to do a little research on the 9600 model.  Seems it's just an older model of the 9700, and got fairly good reviews on various web sites.  Sears only carried the 9700, and Best Buy had the 9600 on sale - for $949!!!

Since the same washer at Home Depot was basically $670 ($799 - 10% - $50 rebate), I ran back to Home Depot to pick it up.

They're going to deliver and install it on Thursday, so I'll let you know how it goes (Yes, I did buy the matching dryer to go with it)

Posted by rickroot at 12:47 PM | Link | 1 comment

Best House on the Parade - Don Collins Builder

Saturday morning, I headed out to mom's house to pick up Emily and take her to bowling.  After bowling, mom and Samantha (my niece) went up to Hasentree in Wake Forest to look at multi-million dollar homes on the Wake County Parade of Homes.  We looked at 5 houses ranging from around $2 million to $4.5 million - but the nicest one was this one, at $3.9 million, built by Don Collins Builder Inc.  Having gone into the $4.4 and $4.5 million homes, I'm stunned that this one was less expensive, because it had so much more character, so many more "special features" over the other two, it was just amazing.  The pool was the coolest I'd ever seen, with a small pool up on the main level, with a hot tub, and water flowing down through a man made rock garden with numerous smaller pools on different levels, flowing down to the main pool on the ground floor (the walkout basement).  There was also a water fall going from near the small pool up above to the main pool below.  It was amazing.

The family room directly off the kitchen had beautiful vaulted ceilings with giant wooden beams, and the master bathroom had vaulted wooden ceilings.  The basement - always my favorite part of any house - was extravagant and cozy at the same time.  This builder definately knew my tastes.

Now, if only I could come up with $4 million so I can buy this house. :)


Posted by rickroot at 11:45 AM | Link | 0 comments
31 December 2006

Emily's New Playset

It's not quite done yet, but here's a picture of Emily's new playset, designed by myself, Adrienne, and my dad.  Dad actually built it 6-8 months ago and it's been sitting in his workshop waiting for us to get approval for it.  Well, we haven't gotten approval yet but we decided to put it up anyway.

Click for a larger image!

I'm actually pretty impressed at how nice it's turned out.  The very top part will have a canvas roof, and there will also be a canvas roof angling up over the area in the back that is enclosed by fence boards.  The swing is sturdy enough for even my 250 pounds to swing on.  Though I don't think I'd want anyone giving me an underdog.

I'll post a picture of the completed work after I get the canvas up and the fence boards on top.

Oh, it has a fireman's pole on the back for sliding down.  We haven't installed it yet.

Posted by rickroot at 2:20 PM | Link | 1 comment
20 July 2005


I am no longer a real estate mogul.  We closed on the old house today. 


Posted by rickroot at 2:39 PM | Link | 1 comment
15 July 2005

New and Old House Update

So, the old house is almost totally empty now.  The only things left really are the wheelbarrow, some planters that we want to keep, the bird house and bird feeders, a broken TV/DVD combo, and the boat.  I'm keeping the boat there until we close, at which time I'll move it to the storage place.

I spent some time over there today, fixing the drywall in the pantry, and yesterday I cleaned up the mess in the laundry (long story, involving a full jug of Tide and a loose cap).  Tomorrow, we're going to get the rest of the stuff, and paint the wall in the laundry closet (the one with the tide all over it), and then it's pretty much done.

Posted by rickroot at 9:23 PM | Link | 1 comment
26 June 2005

New House - Day Three

Adrienne banned me from painting of any kind.  Since nobody was helping me in the kitchen, there were a lot of places where I put down too much paint, and it dripped and there were thick spots and other nasties.  It really looked pretty terrible.  They've sanded down the drips and will put another coat of paint on tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Erin and I redeemed ourselves by doing a fabulous job of painting her room.  I have to say, using the power roller properly takes some practice.

We emptied out the storage unit (mostly) and also brought over a truckload of stuff from the garage.  We ended up unpacking quite a bit of the stuff we brought, and Emily was very excited about seeing her toys again - many of which she hadn't seen since we started showing the house in April.

One of our neighbors was kind enough to bring us some muffins today to welcome us to the neighborhood.  Pearson Farms is a much nicer neighborhood than Hollands Crossing.

I have the pleasure of going to work tomorrow, and then going to a conference in DC the rest of the week (CFUNITED - a Coldfusion programmers conference).  By the time I get back on Saturday, maybe all the nasty work will be done ;)

Posted by rickroot at 9:40 PM | Link | 4 comments
25 June 2005

New House - Day Two

We finished removing the border in the kitchen, laid down one coat of primer, and then painted the kitchen and the laundry room "Harvest Wheat".  It looks really nice.  We're not quite done yet - haven't painted above the cabinets or anywhere near the ceiling - but it's MUCH nicer than the mauve that was in there before.

In order to paint the laundry room, I decided I wanted to take down the wire shelving that was in there.  When they were installed, they were installed with drywall mollies and drywall nails.  In otherwords, these shelves were not meant to be taken down.  I ripped them out of the wall.  I think we're gonna put cabinets in the laundry anyway.

Adrienne and Jan finished painting Emily's room - it's an incredibly bright "Enchanted Princess" pink - a Disney color.  They also cleaned out some of the weeds from the landscaped areas in front.

The former owners of this house had a curious way of dealing with "stuff"... we found several sprinklers, a tiki tourch, and an old potted plant under the deck, and numerous items in the landscaping in the front and on the side.  They just dumped their house plants in the landscaped areas, which are pretty poorly taken care of.  We're going to do a lot of plant removal and then bring in some mulch!

Tomorrow I think we may only work a half day.  We're gonna finish painting in the kitchen, and get all the stuff out of the storage unit and bring it over to the house.  And I think we're gonna spend some time either at the pool or at the lake.  Not sure which.

Posted by rickroot at 9:16 PM | Link | 1 comment
24 June 2005

New House - Day One

We got our closing numbers on Thursday but I didn't get my direct deposit until Thursday night, so I had to go to the credit union this morning to get the funds required at our 10:30 closing on our new house.  So I get up early and head to the bank, which opens at 8.  Unfortunately, I get there and the lobby doesn't open until 9, so I hit the drive thru.  They won't give me a cashier's check in the drive thru, so I just take out cash, and head back home.

We did our walk-through at 10 o'clock.  Mr. Bond was there and seemed like a nice fellow.  Looked like he did a good job making the repairs that we asked for, so we headed over to the lawyers office and closed the transaction.

We now own two houses, which is kinda scary, but the old house will be sold in a couple weeks (it's under contract to a nice lady from Connecticut).

I spent many hours removing wallpaper borders (they are evil, I tell you!), and some time this evening painting Emily's room pink.  I've banned Erin and I from doing any further painting, it was a disaster.  The wall looks good, but we made a mess, I got paint on the ceiling, Erin got paint on the floor, and I broke the stopper in the sink.  I think I'll let Adrienne finish the painting.

Tomorrow - lots more painting (Emily's room, the kitchen, the guest room, and the master bathroom are the big to do items).  More border removal.  Possibly some yard work.

Posted by rickroot at 11:08 PM | Link | 1 comment
16 May 2005

Another potential new home

Click to enlargeWe're making an offer today on a home in Pearson Farms.  It just came on the market Friday.  2153 square feet, 3 bedrooms, bonus room, and an office / sunroom.

The main floor consists of a living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast area, utility room, and the office.  They call it a sunroom - it has a lot of windows in it, with double french doors - but for us, it'll be an office.

On the second floor, there is a large master bedroom with one small closet and one larger walk-in closet.  The master bath has a separate tub and shower and is nice and roomy.  It is painted purple with a hideous blue-green vinyl tile.  You can't have everything, I guess.  There are two additional bedrooms, both of which are decent sized with good closets.  And a second bathroom.

The third floor contains a finished bonus room, with built-in bookcases, a built-in for a TV and stereo system, wired for surround sound.  The bonus room is actually divided into two areas by the stairs - the other side has duct-work that is boxed in with pads making a cool little bench seating area, along with more built-in bookcases.  It would make an excellent play area for Emily.

Pearson Farms is a nice development only a mile or so from our current house - a little closer towards town.  It has a nice pool and tennis courts and a really nice little playground, which we'd be pretty close to.  Also, there are walking trails behind the lot that access the Beaver Creek Greenway.

If you'd like to see a close-up satellite image, click here.

Posted by rickroot at 8:04 AM | Link | 1 comment
12 May 2005

Continuing the Home Search

Well, the home search continues.  We looked at some houses yesterday and didn't find anything.  One house was nearly perfect until we went into the 11x16 master bedroom.  It may not sound too small, but trust me, it is.  Especially if you've got a king size bed!   It looked like the previous owners had only a queen.  The house was otherwise perfect.  Nicely upgraded, too, with stone on the front, tile backsplash in the kitchen, etc.

So, we're going to look at more houses this evening.  4 more, to be exact.  Three of them are in the MLS:

Dogwood Ridge:

Surrey Meadows:

Shephard's Vineyard:

The fourth is a house in Crockett's Ridge that is the same model as two previous ones that we looked at, one of which we had made an offer on.  It's not in the MLS yet, but the owner is a realtor who will apparently be representing herself.  Nice comission there!  That one is 2200 square feet and $220,000.

Posted by rickroot at 8:59 AM | Link | 1 comment
09 May 2005

Royal Oaks Building Group, LLC.

Scary builder?

Well, we had so much trouble bickering with the Builder over pricing (they had the gall to try to raise the price considerably after they knew we were interested) that we decided not to purchase a home from the Royal Oaks Building Group.  Although they eventually agreed to come down closer to the original price, there were some other issues as well.

We also noticed that at least one complaint had been filed against the builder with the Better Business Bureau (info).  I suppose one complaint isn't bad, and it was resolved, but I personally would not want to have to go to the BBB to file such a complaint.

Their MLS listings were also inaccurate, which concerned me, although this may have been the fault of their listing agent.  For example, the listing for the house we were interested in said it was 2300 square feet with 3 bedrooms down.  However, the actual layout of the house was 2 bedrooms down, 1 bedroom up, a dining room down (which was not listed), and a bonus room upstairs.  The "floor plan" was also inaccurate, as they were planning to finish a different area of the upstairs as the bonus room instead of the one listed in the floor plan.

Given our concern about the accuracy of the MLS listing, we asked for a square footage contingency, guaranteeing that the square footage would be at least 2300 feet, as advertised.  The builder would not agree to this contingency.

There was just a lot of poor communication and understanding of what was actually being done.  The builder's web site, www.royaloaksbg.com, did not list a contact phone number either, which concerned me.  So we decided not to paurchase a home from them.

Posted by rickroot at 10:29 PM | Link | 5 comments
29 April 2005

Potential Home

Adrienne and I saw this house in Kelly West Monday evening.  It's a construction project, scheduled for completion in August.   It is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath story-and-a-half with 2300 square feet.  It's located in the Kelly West subdivision, which is less than a mile from our current residence.  The list price is $224,700.

Click through to read more and see elevation and floor plans...

Posted by rickroot at 10:39 AM | Link | 5 comments
28 April 2005

I feel so manly now

Adrienne suggested that we replace our garbage disposal because it's so ridiculously noisy that it might deter potential buyers from buying our home.  A silly notion, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone asked us to replace it as part of their inspection.

It works, but it's REALLY noisy, and makes the entire sink and counter vibrate.

So... another trip to Home Depot.  I bought a 1/2 horsepower In-sink-erator - the smallest model they had - for $62.  The existing model was also a 1/2 horsepower version so I wasn't downsizing or anything, I just didn't want to spend very much.

It said it used a "Quick-lock" system and chances were good that all I'd have to do was unscrew the old disposal and screw on the new one...

Oh if only!

Posted by rickroot at 10:46 AM | Link | 1 comment
26 April 2005

On the interference of neighbors

We had some potential buyers view our house last night, and apparently, one of them talked to our neighbor a bit, who commented on being in a flood plain.  This obviously caused the buyer some concern.

While part of his yard is actually in the 100 year flood plain, our house is not.  None of our yard is in the flood plain.

Luckily, our realtor and their realtor can show that our house is NOT in the flood plain, and hopefully that'll be that.  But it puts doubt and concern into the buyers mind when it should not be there at all.

In other news, we think we may have found the house for us.  It's over in Kelly West - new construction.  It's 2300 square feet for $224,700.  If you look here, it's the Tahoe B floor plan.

Our biggest concern is that Kelly West doesn't have a park or a pool.  But I think we can work around that.  We'll see.

Posted by rickroot at 10:39 AM | Link | 1 comment
25 April 2005

On the buying and selling of homes

Well, the garage sale went well, and the house cleaning went well, and our house is now show ready!  We had 5 showings yesterday, and our realtor took us to see several as well... one in Vintage Grove, one in Haddon Place, one in Scotts Mill, and a new construction project in Apex (not in a development).  And one in Dogwood Ridge.  The only two we liked were the one in Vintage Grove, which at $242,000 was a bit more than we want to spend, and the one in Haddon Place for $229,000.  Unfortunately, the one in Haddon Place was on a high traffic corridor and we didn't really like that.

I've asked Kevin to research and possible show us the following houses:

Posted by rickroot at 9:06 AM | Link | 2 comments
14 April 2005

Making the First Offer

We've officially submtted an offer on one of the houses we looked at.

Read more after the jump!

Posted by rickroot at 6:06 PM | Link | 3 comments
09 April 2005

Preparing the house for sale

The most fun part about potentially selling our house is the work we're going to do to get it READY to sell if we have to put it on the market all of the sudden.

I spent much of the day today working on the garage.  I bought some rubbermaid 22 gallon storage bins, and a rubbermaid 4 drawer unit, and another plastic shelving unit for the garage.  We have GOT to get organized. 

Read the rest after the jump...

Posted by rickroot at 10:53 PM | Link | 6 comments

Finding Our Next Home, Chapter 2

Scotts Mill Subdivision

With our first round of house searching out of the way with no clear winner and really only one worthwhile house out of 5, we're now going to look at 5 homes in Scotts Mill, a subdivision down the street from us about a mile or so.  Scotts Mill is a very nice, very large neighborhood.

Here are the 5 houses we're going to look at.  I'll add comments after we see them.


UPDATE 4/11/05 - We're also going to look at this house tonight:


These are more expensive, the first is $227,000 while the other four range from $246,000 to $255,000.  The first is probably too small.

We're going to look at them Monday night.

Posted by rickroot at 10:21 PM | Link | 1 comment
06 April 2005

Home Search Update

We gave the builder a small check yesterday to hold a specific lot for us, but Adrienne and I are both concerned about being able to afford that particular house.  We do like it a lot, but we're going to look at used homes too.

Here are a few links to homes I asked our realtor, Kevin Woody, to show us.

UPDATED 4/9/04 - I've added comments regarding the houses below:

http://www.hpw.com/SearchPages/Detail.aspx?MlsNum=787813 (Crockett's Ridge)

Easily the nicest house we saw.  Great condition, nice lot, beautiful yard, nice floor plan, has just about everything we want.  And at $217,000, it's not a bad deal.  But it wasn't perfect, and we're basically looking for perfect right now.  We might even consider making an offer on this, but our realtor suggests that sellers are often unwilling to negotiate price too much when the potential buyer has a house to sell.

http://www.hpw.com/SearchPages/Detail.aspx?MlsNum=791343  (Crockett's Ridge)

The exact same model as above, except the fireplace was on the side of the house instead of the back.  However, the yard was in terrible shape, it had a strange deck that really looked half-finished, and they put down this nasty-looking pergo laminate in most of the first floor (foyer, hall, dining, living, breakfast area, and kitching).  Plus, the island had some weird laminate tile around it that was different.  The pergo looked like it had been self-installed, and not very well, there were lots of gaps under the quarter round.  The house was vacant and obviously had been for some time.  It has potential, but giving that they are asking $2,000 more than the previous listing, they're gonna have a hard time selling it!

http://www.hpw.com/SearchPages/Detail.aspx?MlsNum=789877 (Amherst)

The owner was still at the house when we arrived, so we went to Greenbrier then came back to this one.  It had a very nice upstairs, and a gorgeous kitchen, but I didn't care for the remaining layout of the first floor.  And the back yard was not only in terrible condition, it was virtually unusable.  About 3 feet beyond the back of the deck was a 45 degree slope up about 10 feet, then it flattened out again, where there were some tree stumps and dead trees and stuff.  It was hideous.  And the landscaping on the slope was poorly kept too.  I'd rather have no yard at all than this yard.

http://www.hpw.com/SearchPages/Detail.aspx?MlsNum=789234 (Greenbrier)

This one was in really good condition.  It had a beatifully upgraded kitchen, a very nice back yard, a roomy master with a very nice master bath and walk-in closet.  The other three bedrooms upstairs were not overly large, and they did not have walk-in closets.  The two story family room was pretty, but not large enough for a sofa and loveseat.

http://www.hpw.com/SearchPages/Detail.aspx?MlsNum=778215 (Shephard's Vineyard)

No tub in the master bath, no walk-in closets.  This was the only house we saw with a laundry closet instead of a laundry room.  It was also nearly 20 years old, with what looked like original appliances, and I didn't much care for the dark wood molding and the wood paneling in the family room.  The neighborhood is very nice, but I can't buy a house without a separate tub and shower or walk-in closets in the master.

UPDATED 4/8/04 - I've adjusted the links above to show the 5 homes we're looking at this weekend.

They range in price from $218k - $225k, which would be considerably cheaper than the new home.  They also range in square footage from 2040 to 2200, which is also considerably smaller.

Posted by rickroot at 1:04 PM | Link | 7 comments
24 March 2005

Moving ... maybe

Sometimes, you do things just because an opportunity presents itself.

While Adrienne and I were talking pretty seriously about moving next summer, it appears that one of her friends is interested in buying our house.  Our realtor would probably charge us in the neighborhood of 5.5% to list, so if we sell for $180,000, that would cost us nearly $10k.  The idea of not paying a realtor's fee is quite pleasant, and if Adrienne's friend sells her house and wants to buy ours - we're outta here!

But where are we gonna go?

Posted by rickroot at 1:57 PM | Link | 7 comments