Townhouse Turnaround To-do List, 2011

6 Jan

February 28th will mark my ninth year anniversary of moving into and renovating this lovely home. When I moved in on Feb. 28 2002, I gave myself what I thought was a very generous ten years to get the whole place renovated. I really thought I’d finish earlier. I don’t know now that I’ll really make it in ten years, but we’ll see. Sometimes I wish things were moving more quickly (and I usually wish I had a bit more money to speed things along), but I appreciate having been so hands-on in the process and all the great artiginal skills I’ve learned along the way.

So, for 2011 — what’s there to do?

Two definite things:
1. Finish the pocket doors
2. Replace the waste/drain pipe

The pocket doors are just (just!) a matter of time and effort on my part. I have all the materials, but I can’t do them until I can open the windows, so Spring it is.

The waste pipe is going to be a major upset. It involves opening the walls all the way up. Yup, all four floors, open walls. Then the 140 year old cast iron pipe has to come out and a new plastic pipe (guaranteed to outlive the earth itself) goes in. Not especially expensive (around $1000 on the plumber’s end), but a huge hassle, and it will entail patching plaster and drywall, re-painting and re-papering all the walls, and a lot of plaster dust everywhere. Sigh.

But, while that is happening is really the ideal time to bring plumbing up to the fourth floor to do the two projects I’d consigned to an unknown future date:

3. Installation of a guest/second full bathroom on the top floor
4. Creation of a kitchenette in the guest sitting room

I love having guests. I don’t love sharing the bathroom (I don’t mind it, but I don’t love it) and many people don’t appreciate the grace of only having a bath. And some can’t climb into it. So I’ve been hoping from day one to put a bathroom up on the top floor. The top floor is becoming a very hospitable guest suite (especially since the collapsed ceiling was fixed). It has a sort of between-the-wars British down-at-the-heels country estate chic to it. But it doesn’t have a bathroom. So, I think the crumbling waste pipe may lead the way to a guest bathroom and little kitchenette, creating a guest suite with all mod-cons. I’m scouring the free portion of Craigslist for a tub, sink, and loo.

The other two things I’d really, really, like to do are:

5. Re-do the hallways
6. Finish replacing storm windows

These are the costly items. More costly, methinks, than the bathroom. The hallways require plaster repair, sanding like mad, painting the trim, and papering 15, 20, and 30 foot drops on a winding staircase. And electricity. And carpet on the stairs. I can do some of the work, but not the high up papering, so it’s going to require paid help. And it won’t be cheap. Speaking of not cheap, the storm windows are the size of doors, and the glass and manufacture of them is about $300 per window. I did most of the front of the house a few years ago, but have the rear and two in the front left to go. I’d love to do these this year, but I don’t think it’s going to happen unless a wealthy benefactor comes along.

So — that’s the 2011 list. Six things. Two that will certainly happen, two that will likely happen, and two that will probably not happen in full, but maybe in part. I’ll check in on this post in December and see where I’ve gotten.

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