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The Odds & Ends of Owning A Home, Continued

Amanda Bar

Yesterday I met up with some workmen from EZ Slide Door Repair (#1-888-798-5132) reference five sliding glass doors & screen doors at my new house.  None of them open smoothly, and all of them could use an extra security lock.

The locks ended up being $45 per door, and since I figured those were my top priority I ended up getting all five doors equipped with one (even the upstairs sliders - that would have to be one above-average burglar to reach those!).  Replacing the rollers for all of the doors, however, was a little more expensive than I imagined:  $110 per glass door, and about $40 per screen door.

As much as I would love (eventually) to open & close my doors with a minimum of fuss, I really don't envision using them except for rare party occasions.  The house I'm in right now has several windows that have never been opened in the two years I've been here...I don't see myself doing anything different in a new home.  Thus I decided to wait on the rollers (and the more than $700 repair bill that would come with them!) and simply stick with the locks.

At this point, so close to my move-in date, it's all about what takes top priority on the small list of things I can afford.

Posted by Amanda Conwell at 06:08 AM on February 27, 2010 in Housing , Savings | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dollars & Decisions

Amanda Bar

After going back and forth over my options for several days I eventually decided upon a tile selection for my kitchen backsplash.  I ended up choosing my first choice - a glass tile in a "milk white" color that resembles an oyster shell.  The only picture I could find on the internet looks blue-ish in hue:


The tile is $17 a sq. ft. (more expensive than I wanted to spend), and with the grout the total came to $520.  I don't have an estimate on installation costs yet, but I'm hoping that I can get a deal through the same woman that hooked me up with my kitchen cabinets.  I've already placed my order for the tile but it'll take about 15 business days for the shipment to arrive (curse you, special order!).  In the meantime I can cool my heels with smaller & less costly side-projects.

Posted by Amanda Conwell at 11:47 PM on February 19, 2010 in Home decor , Housing | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sweating The Small (and Expensive) Stuff

Amanda Bar

Now that my kitchen cabinets are up (pictures coming soon) I have one final expense to complete the renovation: choosing backsplash tile. 

The problem, however, is that I'm a very visual person and I am having serious issues deciding on what tiles to go with based upon small samples alone.  Also, my kitchen designer (Sandra Mahadeo) had only lukewarm comments on the tiles I initially selected.  If anyone would know what they're talking about it would be the designer, no?  And yet my parents are insisting that I go with my gut and select a tile based upon my first impressions...which is all well and good, but I am very much aware that while I might consider a tile to be pretty that doesn't necessarily mean it will look good in my kitchen.

My original thought was to chose a tile in the cool tones (blues, silvers & greys), but Sandra brought over samples in the complete opposite color spectrum (golds, browns & reds).  I honestly like both options equally and am relying on the opinions of my friends and family at this point, but they're so divided that is looks like I'll have to settle the matter for myself (oy vey).  Small decisions that cost big money, though, are never easy ones to make.

Posted by Amanda Conwell at 12:49 PM on February 15, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Free love (or at least some tunes to put you in the mood) for the 14th

Name bar If you're still scrambling for a Valentine's Day gift, either for lack of funds or lack of ideas, I just learned Amazon.com is giving away some free tunes to set the tone for the day.

This is how to get there without fishing around for the free downloads on their website.

After taking a listen, I can't say all seven songs are my taste, but For You by Peter Bradley Williams and Don't Do Anything by Sam Phillips have a nice ring to them. There's a version of Can You Feel The Love Tonight, you know, from The Lion King. But as cheesy as I can be, and even though Elton John isn't crooning on this take, it's just not for me.

As for me, free or otherwise, I'm not looking for any gifts from my significant other. (I sincerely hope he's reading this.) Just his company is all I need to have a great day.

Posted by Nirvi Shah at 07:58 PM on February 7, 2010 in Entertainment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kitchen Remodel Nears It's End

Amanda Bar

Work is nearly finished on my kitchen remodeling, and below I present you with a step by step deconstruction (and reconstruction!) of the entire process.  I'll be saving the final reveal for a separate post, but enjoy the mess:

Day 1, in which you can see the original kitchen in all it's glory.  Sandra Mahadeo (of Overseas Traders) can be seen taking measurements.

Kitchen 1 

Day 2, and the original kitchen is now completely removed.  The new upper cabinets are assembled and await being mounted.  As you can see, the removal of the original kitchen revealed some mold and mildew damage that had to be fixed with some bleach and Kilz.

Kitchen 2 

Day 3, and the basic frame for the cabinets are up.  The microwave has also been attached.

Kitchen 4 

Day 4, wherein the cabinet doors have been installed.

Kitchen 5

All that remains to be done is the hardware (cabinet handles, etc) being attached, and my remaining appliances to be hooked up.  The granite is set to be installed by Tuesday or Wednesday of this upcoming week, and I've already picked out a backsplash and lights to be placed underneath the cabinets.  Beyond that, I basically have a ready-to-use kitchen!  This entire process took less time than my master bathroom renovation (which surprised me), but this time around instead of going through an independent workman I used a specialist (my friend's mother, Sandra, who was pictured above). 

I highly recommend to anyone doing major house work to not cut corners by using cheap handymen - I've been much happier with this entire experience than the stress-filled ordeal of my bathroom.

Posted by Amanda Conwell at 11:10 AM on February 7, 2010 in Home decor , Housing , Savings | Permalink | Comments (3)

This Super Bowl Sunday, try financial football

Name bar Because Super Bowl Sunday is just days away, I'm giving in to writing about a financial game I just learned about called, get ready for it, Financial Football.

You can try two different versions, standard and advanced, and there are lessons that you could take the time to read through before attempting to score in the game.

Considering we're in the middle of a recession, one caused at least in part by our own lack of ability to manage our finances (or even understand some of the basics) this may be one game worth playing. You might roll your eyes at the (loud) football music that begins when you chose a game to play and being able to select a team to represent and play against, but some of the information might surprise you.

If it doesn't, perhaps you're one of the savvier folks out there who already knows as much about credit scores as touchdowns, but even I admit to getting a few questions wrong.

Too bad the only flags on financial missteps, in real life, are money problems that can plague someone for a lifetime.

Posted by Nirvi Shah at 12:59 PM on February 5, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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