Remodeling the 1950′s bungalow
Remodeling the 1950′s bungalow
There are so many of these 50′s bungalows that it seems the prime target for discussion. The 1950′s bungalow was what was built for the new families that were formed from all the returning service people from World War II. Of course these were the homes that the baby boomer’s were born into. These were built by the thousands to give Americans a place to live and grow their families. I live in Southern California and I do not know if there are as many of these across the nation but there are tens of thousands of these simple homes stretching across the Southland.
The 50′s bungalow, come to think of it they do call it the California Bungalow are marked by 1 bathroom, small closets, small doorways and very small simple kitchens. They usually had a single family/living room with a small dining area in the kitchen. Most of these have a simple lateral gable with wood siding and shingled roof.
It’s hard to know where to start but of course form follows function so we need to start with structural issues then move into the fun stuff like cosmetics and innovations. So as much as we hate to say it – we need to start with the termite inspection repair and treatment. I actually like to get homes fully tented the whole orange oil thing never set well with me. Tent the home and gas it! When you tent and gas you kill everything – not a bad way to go – all spiders, little bugs, bed bugs – you name all dead. So now at least we will be the only ones living in the home. Now you need to find the parts that the little critters have eaten you replace the wood. If it is in a stud in the wall make certain you tie it into the structure of the home in order to maintain the structural integrity of the home. Floors, eaves, etc – they all need to be fixed repaired and replaced. You DO NOT need a termite guy to do the repairs – simply replace the eaten wood with new wood and nail it all together – piece of cake and a lot cheaper than paying the so called “experts”.
Personally this is how I do the home – I will go into a general overview and then in later posts cover more detail of each improvement.
Rip It Out! – OK first I tear out all old interior doors, cabinets, toilets, crummy tile flooring, door casings, windows, old style baseboard, old carpet, pretty much everything. Rip it all out and now you have a bare shell. Next I put in the windows. Make certain you are complying with the EPA lead rules. Put in new windows – this is a total WIN! New windows are not too expensive – about $140 per window for good ones. I frame them in with plain drywall – no need to add all the extra trim and molding. If you are trying to do a fancy remodel then do the extra trim but it is not necessary – tie the windows in with drywall. You will save about an extra $20 per window. And that’s materials only not labor.
Now I put in new pre-hung doors and drywall and tape all the new drywall. So patch holes, tape the window trim, and tape the door casings. Now texture the whole home. What you say? Texture the home? Yes you need to texture the whole home. It is very important because nothing makes the home nicer than if you spend the money to texture the whole place – it is worth so much to the remodel – you will thank me later. Now paint everything! One color is fine and paint the doors too – spray it all.
Now look around. You have done a lot and the whole home is fresh. All bugs dead. All defects in the walls covered with the texture. This is a tremendous trick and a total win for your project. I know I already said that but so many people skip the textured that they are crazy – do it one time and you never skip it again.
Now lets start putting in the extra elements. How about the bathroom. Throw in a vanity with granite top and built in sink. Put up the mirror above the vanity, new exhaust fan, and 8” faucet into the vanity. Buy one of those lowes toilet set kits that have the entire toilet, wax ring, etc all included. You do not need to but it does not cost much to tile the whole shower. Leave the tub and just tile the shower walls. If you do not know how attend a lowes do it yourself training – learn to tile and you will be saving money forever on all your re-habs. Add a towel holder toilet paper holder kit and you have completed the bathroom. Of I almost forgot – add a $30 light above the vanity and you are done! Having trouble matching colors? Just check in with a lowes customer service representative and they usually can help.
Now the kitchen. It’s simple really. Pull together a total order list for the kitchen cabinetry and use you lowes coupon. It should cost you less than $2,500 for a total kitchen cabinets assuming the kitchen is not too large. Do not be fooled into buying high end anything – it is not usually worth it unless you are in a million dollar area – the basics will make the home look more than worth the re-hab.
Think about the utter simplicity of it all. And you can do all of this, even hire it out for usually under $15,000 – and that is with quality materials and a decent contractor. Total renovation of the Californian Bungalow for around $15K – think it cannot be done? Use that Lowes Coupon and go for it – I think you can do it. $2,500 for the bathroom. $7,000 for the kitchen. $1,500 for the paint and texture. $4,000 for all the fixtures etc – you can do it and probably for even less especially with a lowes coupons. A remodeled home usually goes for much more than a $15K premium.
Soon we will go into more details on how to do each part.
Lowes Coupon Add It Up First!
It all adds up!
It has been said a hundred if not ten thousand times that the small things can add up. With any home improvement that is absolutely the case. Sometimes you think you have everything down to the dollar budgeted and planned and then things begin to hit you….
I was running low on the budget for a recent project. It really felt like I was going to make it and just scrape by without having to hustle up some extra money – but its just not going to happen. In my mind all I needed was closet doors for 3 bedrooms, carpet for the bedrooms, and appliances. No problem I had a couple thousand left and since I am moving this month was having no problem with my plans to use a lowes coupon of course. Anyhow something was not sitting right in my emotions.
Over time you begin to have instincts about what is going on with a particular project – my mind was thinking of the 3 major items but my subconscious was seeing all the little stuff – and I hate buying all the little stuff.
First I was forgetting all the electrical outlets and faceplate’s On most re-habs you go in and look at the switches and you see 50 years of dirt that no one can seem to clean. So traditionally we replace all the outlets and faceplate’s – really – this is a detail that if you are not doing on your re-habs – you should consider it. Now each plate and outlet is only a few bucks but add up each room and you can easily hit $30. Now this re-hab is an older home so buying a smaller and cheaper faceplate was not an option – I was forced to buy the larger plates to cover the flaws in the plaster surrounding each outlet – once again not much money on a per item basis but add it all up and its another $20 total for the larger plates when you add the marginal expense versus the smaller plates.
Then came carpet pad. For whatever reason I was pricing out carpet at $1.40 ft with a great Lowes Customer Service representative – but I forgot about the carpet pad. Fortunately the rep reminded me – not their issue and I can get away with $0.45 sq ft but really that adds up when I have about 500 sq ft of carpet to finish. As an aside for you purists I do everything on a per sq ft basis and I know the carpet people think in sq yds – but sq ft works better for me and fortunately Lowes lists the prices on sq ft and per sq yd.
Anyhow this is an example of 2 simple items that are oftentimes over looked and can add up to hundreds of dollars very fast. One thing for carpet that will save you money and you do not spend money on – the transition metal for the carpet from room to room. You know the little metal piece on the threshold – completely unnecessary – you can do it by folding the carpet under – it lasts forever and a good carpet installer will do it for you without any extra charge.
Speaking of extras – ever wonder how much all the towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc cost? I forgot these in the budget also. Now Lowes Home Improvement has quite a selection in all the modern colors. Brushed nickel, chrome, bronze you name it they have it. And with or without the Lowes Coupon it is nice that Lowes does not charge much extra for the decorator grade items. I can always buy the little kits they offer that have all the necessary items included. One more kudos for lowes over other Home improvement stores is they do not carry the very ow grade items.
The reason I give them kudos for this is that by not carrying the cheap cheap o stuff you will never make a mistake of buying something so substandard that a wet towel would bend the bar. For those of you that have bought bargains at other stores or even wal -mart know what I am talking about – the towel bars may be strong enough to hold a dry towel but the extra water weight could bend them. It may not be that bad but really some stuff other stores sell is incredibly cheap and even give made in china a bad name.
Well that is it for now – just keep in mind the small stuff. I used to forget light bulbs all the time – but now that they are $1.50 for 4 even buying a dozen does not add up to much.
So the moral of this post? Use you lowes coupon wisely – gather all the big AND SMALL stuff in one shopping trip – after all the lowes coupon is good for up to $5,000 gross purchase – might as well get your largest bang for the buck!