A Long, Disgruntled Winter

towelSee that towel? I’ve thrown it in.

I’m taking my house off the market, which means that soon, you’ll have the dubious pleasure of reading about my attempts to spruce up the kitchen, and perhaps offering advice on just how I should go about that. (Please don’t be offended if/when I ignore it.)

First up, design and build a snazzy, narrow island to replace the antique shabby chic farmhouse table that I’m told doesn’t “speak” to today’s young homebuyer.

Then, I have to decide how far to take the rest of it. New countertops are a sure thing. Whether they will go atop the existing cabinets is yet to be determined. And whether or not the possible new cabinets would then go atop the existing floor? Also tbd.

So I have a lot of work ahead of me this winter. Or maybe just a little. Either way, I am less than pleased. I was hoping to by now be living in squalor in a new old place that I’d be fixing up for myself – not trying to guess what I can do to make my house attractive to 20-somethings who want everything for little money. And GET OFF MY LAWN (which, by the by, I’ve been told is far too small).

I’ll put the house back on the market in April. And therein lies my kitchen conundrum. I don’t want to spend a lot of time and money just to hear, “great house; fabulous kitchen; needs a driveway.” But if it doesn’t sell, I don’t want to be stuck living with a kitchen I don’t like.

Also, I decided to stop trying to recapture the colors of my youth. I’m now on track for an Emmylou Harris look, though with a long way to go. I won’t post a picture until after I recognize myself in the mirror.

Yup – turning into a cranky old woman inside and out.


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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14 Responses to A Long, Disgruntled Winter

  1. Hang in there Megan. Selling a house is never fun, and I personally think that the market is going to turn around soon. Many new first time buyers coming into the market.

  2. BarbS says:

    Bloom where you are planted?

  3. Martin says:

    Emmy Lou Harris is hot!

  4. Charles says:

    Megan, I feel your pain. I had hoped that you would get better responses than I did in attempting to sell a big old 1854-1885 Federal-front Victorian in a nice midwest neighborhood. It became very clear that young people looking in that price range did not know how to do anything for themselves. They would call contractors to get quotes on painting the rooms that needed nothing but a perceived color change, and could not even imagine replacing kitchen cabinets or tiles themselves. The bankers know this and are hesitant to give them loans for houses they won’t properly maintain. It is all very frustrating. I eventually sold it a couple of weeks ago at a fire sale price, since I had already moved 1/3 of the country away for family reasons.

    I do think a shiny kitchen will help, but make it something you want to live in. Who knows, maybe you’ll decide to just add on a screened porch that magically gets nice windows, heat, and a comfortable work bench…

    And I totally agree with Martin.

  5. billlattpa says:

    Remodeling your kitchen is generally a good idea one way or the other. For what it’s worth, from the photos I’ve seen it appears that you have a nice house. I wouldn’t be overly worried about selling it at the moment. A nice spring day, a few flowers, and a nice welcome mat can do wonders for a potential buyer.

  6. Mark says:

    Charles has it right. The younger folks, at least those with the down payment and credit to buy a house, have little or no knowlege or desire to do any household project. It all comes down to dollars and cents. Where I live, people look at me funny when they see me working on my home. Everyone else hires the work out but they all know where to go when they need to borrow some tool. One bit of advice before you start the kitchen. Kitchen cabinets are horribly, grossly, obscenely overpriced. If there’s any way you can rehab what you have…any way….give it serious consideration. You obviously have the skills to build that island. Perhaps at most, all you need are some new doors and/or drawers for the rest of the kitchen. A good paint job and the right lighting can make any kitchen showroom quality. By all means make a kitchen you want to be in but don’t make it so nice that it would pain you to leave it. I’ve done that. And I’m sure you know, it’s likely you won’t get the entire investment back in the sale price.

  7. John Wolf says:

    The only advice I have for remodeling a kitchen is: Get yourself a 2 burner Coleman stove. With one of those you can still cook while everything is torn apart. Most people do ignore my advice, usually with good reason. A couple of large dish pans are a good idea too.

  8. Patrick says:

    I went back and re-read your July 17th post and it looks like you have a lot of good ideas for the kitchen redo, cabinets to the ceiling, soapstone counters etc. You also might want to do something about the damp smell in the basement that you mentioned in a previous post. No matter what you do to make the house look nice, a moldy smell will turn away most buyers, Just something to think about.

  9. We are rushing around currently getting our house ready for sale. I’ve been remodeling the kitchen for six years now, so at least I do not need to do too much there. The rest is just painting rooms and having some new carpet put in.

    We too are looking to sell to a younger family, but since we bought this house for the school system, that will be a huge selling point. It is interesting to see the neighborhood changing, all the teenagers are off to college or the military, and as homes here sell, families with small children are buying them.

    My last point is your realtor. If they are not performing, get a new one. Not all are the same. We interviewed a couple before we chose the one we will be using, and he has been VERY helpful in telling us what to fix/improve and what not to.

  10. Dave Reedy says:

    Megan, nothing wrong with turning into a “cranky old woman”. I’m a cranky old man soon to enter the curmugeon stage. Also, I thing you’ve got a long way to go before you’ve earned the “old” title.

  11. mike mays says:

    Haven’t you gotten feed back from the realtors; of what the negative comments about the house are? younger people want nice and done. they don’t have the time or interest to refurbish themselves. New doors and drawer fronts, new paint, counter tops should be done as new construction, not as an add on or over just to save time or money. Lets take the winter to do it right and get a sale come spring. And raise the price; you’ll have earned it by then.
    Good luck…

  12. pfollansbee says:

    Yea, but can you sing?

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