Top ten projects that there’s absolutely no reason to do…

September 11, 2008

…. except that I really, really want to!

So yesterday was my birthday, and in honor of that, I thought I’d post my project wish list. We have lots of real projects (many of them done now, thankfully) on our list: seismic retrofitting, new wiring, a new fence, some landscaping to stop runoff from making a beeline for the basement. But this is my dream list of things that really don’t need doing, but that I’d just love to do someday anyway. Since D is going to scream if I tell him one more thing about a project I’m not allowed to start yet, I figured I’d share them here instead.

Ordered from “things-I-might-be-allowed-to-do” to “things-I-will-never-be-allowed-to-do,” they are:

10. Add plate rail to the dining room. It’s just crying out for this. It’s not even hard to do. (The original rail was removed for unknown reasons, along with the built-in.)

9. Change the bathroom faucets and fixtures. I really hate the gold-and-chrome color scheme that’s in the bathroom right now, even though it’s perfectly functional. But it just doesn’t fit with the house at all. (They even changed the door plate out to match!) Here’s what I want to do in my dream world: Get rid of mirror; replace with medicine cabinet. Replace all light and bath fixtures with something more appropriate. Put beadboard in and replace crappy molding. Tear out floor and put in hexagonal tile. Voilà: an arts and crafts bathroom.

8. Tear out kitchen tile floor and refinish douglas fir subfloor. Replace crappy molding. We really might do this someday. A little afraid that the Labradane will destroy it, though. Anyone ever done this in a house with a big dog?

7. Tear up the concrete patio and put in something with a softer feel (flagstones?) that won’t crack and look like it dates to 1970. On the upside, there are signs that the patio once had fake green lawn glued onto it, so at least it’s worlds away from there….

6. Rebuild dining room built-in. It was taken out years ago, but there’s a weird gap where it used to be that just looks awkward. I’d love to build a custom cabinet/bench for this space that would snap into the room. Sadly for us we don’t have a kit house so finding salvage pieces that fill the space has proven virtually impossible.

5. Tear out kitchen counters. They’re brand-new and we can’t, I know. But they’re rose granite. Yuck! Who puts rose granite in a house like this, and then paints the cabinets pink to match?!? [Lesson to anyone selling a house: please please please don’t install granite counters when you get ready to sell your house because you think you have to. You don’t. If your counters are old, offer a counter credit. But taste is personal, and for every buyer who says “oooh, granite!” there’s one who says “ugh, granite!”….and then deducts money from the offer.]

4. Strip woodwork and fireplace. Okay, I know that this will never happen given the time, patience, and mess involved. But this is my dream list, remember??

3. Tear out kitchen. Okay, I know, this one isn’t in the cards either. But again, I can dream! Honestly, even refacing the cabinets would help—they’re pretty awesome 1940s cabinets; they’re just ancient (but not old enough to have the charm of original arts and crafts cabinets). This would also involve replacing the furnace and taking down the furnace chimney, which is smack in the middle of our kitchen. Yeah, I know, we won’t be doing this anytime soon (or ever?) and it costs a gajillion dollars. But it would be pretty cool to open up that space, and a modern furnace wouldn’t need to be vented the way our current one does.

2. Install solar panels on our roof. Again, maybe if the incentives ever get good enough (or if Oakland gets its act together and develops a solar financing program like Berkeley’s) we’ll do this, but since we just finished upgrading the electrical and decided (with some misgivings) to put in a panel that won’t accommodate solar, it’s likely to be a while.


1. And finally….convert our garage roof to a green roof, maybe with a deck off of the master bedroom. This might entail totally rebuilding the garage to support it, which is clearly not happening ever. But still, it would be incredible.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled renovating.


One comment

  1. Hey there Ms. D: We have refinished doug fir in our kitchen and (as you know) a very large & sometimes spastic dog with extra claws. She’s made a few dings & formidable scratches near the door but that’s it. The biggest issue is always high heels. Very bad. Oh, and dropping large pots of food… also very bad. Great blog BTW. Glad it’s sunny again. Go Westlake!

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