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Old 10-22-2012, 07:37 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
I understand Claire, I too have a hard time putting things all together. That is one of the things that has kept me from renovating my kitchen so far, that and budget. I have ideas, but don't trust myself to implement them. I know what I like, and then wonder if it'll look "dated" too soon. I really do love the look of glass tile.
Be brave. Go with your heart. You can get samples of the materials that you want to put into your kitchen. Then get a large piece of cardboard and paint it the main color. Lay out the samples of the other materials against it and see how they look. Leave it there for about a week. Every time you walk by it, if you still love the combination, then go with it. Since the kitchen is where you are going to be spending most of your time, it should be a room that you want to be in. It should bring a smile to your face and heart every time you walk in.

For the budget, start saving for the biggest items and when you have enough money, purchase those. The lesser items will follow once you start the project. The big box home improvement stores hold classes and the people who present them are only too happy to help. And the classes are free. You even get to practice right there in the store. When you have a general contractor, keep in mind that when they purchase the products, they mark them up for their profit. You can do a lot of the work yourself. If the work involves structural, then it is wise to have a professional do it. Old houses and building are very seldom true square. The building has settled over the years.

When my brother-in-law was starting his own construction business, he couldn't afford a helper. So my sister watch my kids and I went to work with him. I learned how to build and point a chimney, help install, tape and cut wallboard, wallpaper, paint, etc. I learned electrical, plumbing, etc. It was quite an education. And a lot of fun. My son is also a GC. Just watching him over the years has given me an extended education. And now his son has his own business.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:40 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by lyndalou View Post
How about glass subway tiles? I have one inch square glass tiles and they are easy to keep clean. Just Windex them occasionally.
Tiles in the kitchen (and bath) never go out of style. Even if only for their ease in cleaning.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:14 AM   #33
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Buying an old house is a challenge. I love the glass tiles. My son tiled in back of my stove and the wall over th sink. He put diamond shaped glass tiles in the center of some of the 4x4 white tiles. They really stand out and look so pretty.

The most important thing is, "are you happy with it? Do you want to walk into your kitchen?" Ignore the naysayers. They secretly are jealous because they can't remodel.
Actually, even the general contractor who seemed uncertain about our choices was very pleased by the results. Both craftsmen who worked on it were very proud of the results. The company is probably the most expensive in our area, but everything they do is over the top in quality. The painter especially. I was dumbfounded when I went to scrub the enclosed sides of the stove, cabinets and wall (something I do every year or so) to find that he'd already done it. Then when he was through with the (white) woodwork, he came to me and said since he had the can open, would I look over the rest of the house for places he could touch up, and did so (he did all of the work on our house, and all of the woodwork is white). The tile guy only had one day off from another job (this company restores museums and grand old houses in the tri-state (that is, they are based here in Galena, IL, but also WI and IA) area. Anyone who's ever owned a real "this old house" knows that you never, ever know what you'll uncover when you start this work, i.e., what seems to be a simple paint job winds up being a major wall/plaster repair, mold, water damage. I was really afraid when the wallpaper came down (I really wouldn't dream of doing it myself because i saw what was under the dining room walls!). Painter-man came into the living room and said, Claire! The kitchen has been dry-walled! It's a cinch! We were all so delighted because when he did the dining room a couple years back he found that the plaster was on bare bricks, no wonder we had spots where the water damage was awful. The main part of the house, that is two rooms down, two up, and a cellar, were built in 1854. But the dining room/servants' quarters we have no idea of, but I think the kitchen/bathroom I suspect 1901 because my insurance paperwork says the house was built in 1901 (I have photographs of the place older than that, not to mention records of the place being built in 1854).

I have not one regret about buying this place, and my husband and I are good at patience and saving. Unlike many homes, it was in move-in condition when we bought it, and there was no structural damage from neglect. The previous 160 years of owners had cared for it, they never turned it into slum tenement housing or left it to just sit and deteriorate. Since we live in a historical district I've seen what years of neglect and abuse can do to old houses, and ours never was in that condition to begin with. I've also (I house-shopped in Bardstown KY, Champaign/Urbana, IL, and looked at Galesburg, IL in our years of travelling, looking for a new home town) seen a lot of "slap on some new paint and wallpaper and ignore the structure" types of "renovations" as well.

Although we own the house, we also to some degree consider ourselves guardians of history. A neighbor recently uncovered some old photos of the street probably in the 50s or 60s, and it was a slum neighborhood then. Except our house! So we've had "good bones" to work with.

Sorry about going on.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:28 AM   #34
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Don't apologize Claire. Right after WWII it was tear down the old and lets build a whole new town. Folks have come to realize that the "old" is part of our history. In this state if a building is more than 100 years old, you have to get permission to alter the outside. The city will automatically designate the building an "historic building." The City of Boston has closed a lot of schools that were built at or before the turn of the last century. They have been converted into elderly housing. HUD took over the remodeling of these schools and the outside looks like a school building. There are all new windows, but they look like they are the originals from the outside. (And very difficult for the elderly to open.)

My sister's house was built in the late 1700's. After the fire, they discovered a lot of the original under all the remodeling that had been done over the years. In her backyard is a retaining wall that still had the original bricks and rocks. When the wall started to give way, she was told by the City that in rebuilding, she had to save as many of the original bricks and reuse them. They also found that the water pipes leading to her home were hollowed out tree trunk.

When you go out west, a lot of folks find original log cabins on their property. They clear the land around them and save them. It is all part of our history.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:45 AM   #35
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We, too, have to get permission from our historical board to do anything to alter the exterior. About five years ago we decided to put the front porch back on the house. All we had was a crumbling brick set of stairs up to the front door when we bought the place (Galena is all on steep hill-sides). BUT ... we did have several old photographs of the place from around the turn of the century, one of which we can actually identify the woman and children in the front yard (our barber's great-grandmother). So getting it past the historical board was a cinch. Sometimes not so easy. I even have a tree in the front yard that I hate (isn't particularly pretty, is very messy), but cannot take down because it's "historic" (about 80 or so years old, judging by photos). But, really, I wouldn't have it any other way.
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