First Things First

Before I could officially begin researching and planning my next wave of apartment updates, I needed to look back at my original list of plans and ideas.

When we first moved in, most of the items on our list felt like they needed to be addressed immediately. Interestingly enough, after living with them for 6+ months, we got used to working around the little kinks in our apartment and found a number of these items to be quite livable.

If possible, live in your home for a few months to understand how you use the space and which elements do and don’t work for you and your family. This can be a huge benefit when planning your home improvement projects, as you may decide your needs and ideas changed after learning how to work with your home’s intricacies.

I’ll give you two examples:

1. Our window shades felt like the most disgusting things we had ever seen when we first moved in. The bedroom blinds were filthy and yellowed, and the living room blinds had a broken mechanism which required us to pull them down and roll them back up manually.  After pricing out new blinds, we realized that we could save 2,500 dollars by putting up with these guys for a while. A little soap and water worked miracles on the dirt, and painting the cheap (yellowing plastic) valance made a huge difference in freshening those guys up.  We found that we only used the living room blinds when we had house guests and while rolling them up in the morning was a pain, it really didn’t take that long (and I bet we only had to do it 10 times total).

2. My husband couldn’t wait to knock out that kitchen wall, so that we could have that “open concept” kitchen/living room that everyone is drooling over these days. After a while, we realized that we valued the storage provided by those cabinets and removing them would leave our cereals and snacks homeless (not to mention all the items we stored above the cabinets: my cake carrier, ice cream maker, my basket of full aprons…what? So, I like aprons)). If we had promptly removed the cabinets before living in the space, we would have spent a large sum of money simply to rob ourselves of valuable NYC storage space. Besides, I like the little wall with the mirror in the foyer, and we’d lose that landing spot as well.

Putting off some of the bigger tasks that didn’t feel quite as oppressive anymore (replacing the blinds, reconstructing the closet doors, and opening up the kitchen) will allow me to spread my budget even farther by using my own elbow grease instead of calling in a contractor.  (And the more updates I can squeeze in, the happier I feel!).

Taking a look back at my original list of apartment updates, I realized I’ve accomplished a lot already, and it’s about time for an update. I’ve added a few ideas and crossed off a lot of items since I first posted this list.

  • Entire Apartment
    • Refinish and stain parquet floors
    • Replace light switch and outlet faceplates
    • Update all door knobs with oil rubbed bronze knobs.
    • Add shelves and striped paint to linen closet
  • Entry
    • Remove popcorn ceiling from ductwork near door.
    • Replace light fixture
    • Paint back of front door with chalkboard paint
    • Replace closet doors
    • Replace closet door hardware
    • Add welcome mat or runner
  • Living Room
    • Remove popcorn ceiling
    • Add crown molding
    • Upgrade baseboards
    • Paint red window casing white
    • Replace non-functioning blinds
    • Add window treatment/valance
    • Replace/improve coffee table
    • Replace red lamp (and return to Mom)
    • Add area rug to separate living/dining space
    • Upgrade HVAC unit
    • Create desk/office area for filing and printer
    • Add swag light over table/eating area
    • Add chair for reading corner
    • Add bookshelves for storage
    • Add bar area for all our wedding liquor
  • Kitchen
    • Cover hideous floor with sticky floor tiles
    • Upgrade refrigerator to stainless steel
    • Upgrade builder grade sink
    • Add garbage disposal
    • Add backsplash
    • Paint cabinets (Rustoleum Kit?)
    • Install microwave/vent over stove
    • Remove/cover-up popcorn ceiling
    • Change out cabinet hardware
    • Update overhead light fixture
    • Add under cabinet lighting
    • Add floating shelf above stove
    • Open up kitchen to living room by removing partial wall.
    • Decorate blue wall (add artwork/shelves)
  • Bedroom
    • Remove popcorn ceiling
    • Add crown molding
    • Upgrade baseboards
    • Replace/paint closet doors
    • Replace closet door hardware
    • Paint red window casing white
    • Replace leaking HVAC unit
    • Upgrade blinds
    • Add window treatments
    • Add rug under bed
    • Add headboard/bed frame
    • Add artwork
    • Replace/improve hubby’s dresser
  • Bathroom
    • Remove popcorn ceiling
    • Paint walls to make tile blend with rest of room
    • Upgrade shower curtain rod to oil rubbed bronze
    • Upgrade sink hardware to oil rubbed bronze
    • Upgrade toilet flush to oil rubbed bronze
    • Replace/improve Mirror cabinet/Hollywood light fixture
    • Touch up bathtub with Porcelain paint.
    • Switch door swing direction for additional bathroom storage space
    • Add cute bath mat
    • Add hooks and art
    • Update with vanity for more counter space
    • Get a new toilet seat and lid
  • WAY in the Future:
    • Redesign bathroom: new tile, new shower, new everything
    • Move kitchen stove away from corner and fridge to opposite corner of kitchen
    • Open up kitchen, by removing cabinets/wall above peek through
    • Replace countertops
    • Replace parquet floors with new hardwoods and level off contours of floor
    • Replace bedroom and bathroom doors with higher quality wooden doors and casings
    • Find a way to have a nursery in this apartment (linen closet nook?)

As always, this is an ever evolving list with new ideas and bigger visions changing the overall picture everyday.

I’m optimistically, hoping to cross off most of the bold items on the list through careful budgeting of the golf club money, and high volumes of elbow grease (mine and my Mom’s). (If you don’t know what that “golf club money” means, check out the end of this post).

And now, there’s only one thing left to do…go shopping!!

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2 thoughts on “First Things First

  1. Pingback: New Year, New Projects! | Tickled in NYC

  2. Pingback: DIY Day Dreams: List Update #3 | Tickled in NYC

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