Anyone who's been to our house can appreciate our need to renovate the kitchen. It's not just ugly, it's as if someone found a bit of space and dragged in random cabinetry one day. The lower cabinets are not tacked to the wall at all, they're just standing on the floor. Pieces of formica countertop that almost fit rest atop them, held by gravity alone. Upper cabinets are fastened to the wall - just the plasterboard part...not to studs. There's a ragged hole in the ceiling where someone once punched through to get at the shower drain above. Rather than fix the hole, they put in a dropped ceiling. Probably the same person gave all the walls that he could see a single coat of paint. If you move any of the cabinets or counters (which happens everytime you bump into one), you see the unpainted parts. It's delightful. So, when we looked at this house to buy it, we agreed the very first thing we'd do is renovate the kitchen. Riiiiiiight.
In the two and a half years we've lived here, we've had mold remediation done twice (two separate areas), put on a new roof (rip-off/replace), installed a new furnace and hot water holding tank, upgraded our electrical service, replaced the original basement windows with glass block, moved a sliding glass door from the front to the back of the house (and rebuilt the wall where it was at first), refinished floors in the den and hallway, built a new banister for the main stairs, put in a new well pump and installed a new surge tank. You may notice the very first thing we were going to do is not on the list of what we've accomplished so far.
A few months ago, we evaluated our finances and decided we could take out a home equity loan. We'd still have to be careful about the process but we'd FINALLY be able to do the kitchen! I did some research and we selected a loan and went through the mountains of paperwork and eventually got to the part where they gave us a satisfying pile of cash, in exchange for some of our blood and rights to a portion of our house if we're ever carted away. $$$!!
Ecstatic, I sent notes out to the architect asking to finalize the plans. I dug out information we've been saving from contractors and lined up a list of suppliers we'll need to call. Once or twice each week, I log in to our account and admire the balance. Then I log in to my "kitchen" spreadsheet and force myself to observe the difference between the money we expect to need and the money we actually have. There will still be some financial dancing, but we can manage it and we'll be managing it in a wonderful kitchen!
And then, a very nice guy called Steve cut in to my happy-about-the-kitchen dance today. We asked Steve over to look at our basement, in preparation for the coming wet season. I had visions of a couple of guys painting a few vats of sealant down there, and then we'd do a nice fresh coat of paint over it all and there you go. I, it turns out, know nothing about basement sealing. I'll be getting a crash course next week, though, when Steve's gang come by to repair and waterproof the basement. When they're done, we'll have a fabulous drainage system, two sump pumps, a Zamboni drain, a chipmunk waterslide, and all the exterior cracks will have been sealed. Steve says it will take a few weeks to get totally dried out but once it does, we'll be able to finish the basement off with confidence. Oh, and the corner footings to the house won't be caving in, either. So, we won't have a glorious kitchen anytime soon...but at least the house will stay standing while we save up for it.