Monday, April 5, 2010

Budget-Friendly Home Improvements

A microwave and range hood combo seemed like an economical way to add some contemporary style to the kitchen. 
What better way to show off the property's major amenity than to put a seating group on the deck overlooking the water?
We knew we wanted to replace the scrimpy off-white range hood with something more up-to-date, and when we went shopping for one, it quickly became apparent that upping the budget for one by $100 gave us a hood with a microwave built-in, fashionable space-saver.  It would mean that Mr. Carpenter would be stealing some space from the cabinets over the range, but it gave the kitchen a more modern look, so we decided it was worth the labor cost.

While Mr. Carpenter installed the microwave, and hung the new kitchen cabinet doors, Mr. Lucky and I worked outside to spruce up the deck. 

It would have been nice to replace the boards on the 184-square foot deck, but that wood have cost over $500, so instead we just pressure washed it and gave it a coat of Cabot’s solid color deck stain. 

I also pressure washed the sidewalk leading to the deck, pruned the shrubbery, and planted some annuals I knew wouldn’t be too demanding (vinca).

The posts surrounding the deck were in terrible condition, so Mr. Lucky bought 4 x 4-inch pressure treated lumber and, using an old post as a template, cut new ones to replace all of them.  He bolted them on and then we glued on copper caps and ran a new rope through the post holes.  It’s not exactly a safety railing, but the deck doesn’t sit high off the ground.  It must be “to code” because all the units in the complex  have the same design.

I feel strongly that creating an outside seating area is crucial in staging, especially where there is a view.  Now that the deck is done, we can bring over that spare set of outside table and chairs I have at home.

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