Saturday Morning Coming Down

–Mrs. Wigglebottom is getting old.  It’s not just the occassional limp that reminds me.  It’s also that she used to be our one-dog garbage disposal.  Whatever you wanted to throw at her, she could eat.  And now?  You give her a bone slightly different than the ones she’s used to and she’s shitting in the kitchen looking sheepishly at you like she’d love to go outside, but her body is doing something she can’t quite control and you think you should cry, maybe, because you think it’s your fault, but it’s just how things work and you must make a mental note to stop feeding your dog weird crap.

–Here is the question I don’t know how to answer.  If I buy the house on Bell Grimes, what will it take to fix the kitchen, both in terms of design and cost?  I think the trick has to be knocking out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room and treating it all as one space.  That way you could come into the dining room area a little with kitchen stuff.  And maybe you could have a tiny island that contained the stove and cook top… I don’t know.  I think it could be done.  I also think that, if you kept everything in the kitchen a light rustic look, even if you had to take down the paneling on the back wall of the dining room, for the purposes of flow, you could leave the paneling on the other two walls and then it wouldn’t be so dang dark in there.

Eh, I thought I had more, but I’m distracted by how nice it is out.


42 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Coming Down

  1. I think the same thing about Mabel. And sometimes I am so overcome with grief at the thought of losing her that it makes my eyes well up.

    Then, I’m reminded it’s one day at a time with those we love.
    Just call me contemplativecoma this morning.

  2. You can paint paneling, I’ve done it in a house I lived in that had the most heinous paneling ever. So that’s one way you can make it look nice without costing much.

    Also, knocking down walls is all kinds of fun. The wall’s not needed for support, is it? Also, are there any electrical outlets in the wall? That could be good and bad. Bad because it’s a pain in the ass to deal with, but good because you could put your center island there, maybe. I can’t say for sure without seeing the kitchen, but yeah.

    I’d be glad to help you with free labor. Aaron’ll be home in a few weeks, too, so by the time you get the house buying wrapped up, I’ll have 14 year old free labor for ya. Aaron’s one hell of a painter.

  3. Clearly, you need to draw out a sketchy floor plan of the kitchen/dining room in question so that we can all give our opinions on how to turn it into the best kitchen ever.

  4. I’m planning a kitchen remodel next year. I just started talking turkey with my husband about what we want out of the space and dreaming about how we can do the most on a lot of DIY and not a lot of money, which for us usually means that we’re about a year away from the actual work phase. It takes a while for us to build up the money to buy materials, so this will probably wind up to be our summer project for next year.

    Small kitchens are advantageous in one way, because you can buy better materials to cover the smaller area and have them look pretty nice. I’m planning on a couple thousand dollars because we’re not replacing cabinetry or appliances or flooring, but we are going to be doing backsplash and countertops and better lighting, along with the paint and making curtains and whatall.

  5. There are plenty of houses on the market that don’t require major renovations.

    Mine, which was perfect, was snapped up in less than a week by some sharp eyed buyers.

  6. Mrs. Wigglebottom is getting old. It’s kind of heartbreaking, isn’t it. I thought of her last night. We watched an old “Dogs With Jobs” where some Pits were used for search&rescue. It was cute.

  7. If the house is this house, I definitely think you’re on to something about taking out that bit of half-wall and columns. The paneling is actually nice–if you like that sort of thing. I mean that it appears to be a well-cared for, higher quality woodwork as opposed to just the cheap wallboard most people call “Paneling”. It has character.

    I’d think an inexpensive redo that would retain some of the character and still give a fresh feeling would be:

    –tearing down the half wall
    –replacing the knobs and hinges on the cabinetry with a lighter look. (Brushed nickel, perhaps)
    –painting the kitchen wall a softer colour. The stark white emphasises the darkness of the panelled room beyond. Something in a soft dove gray, warm yellow or another bright might open it up.
    –undercabinet lighting would also work wonders.
    –I’d also do an island with the dishwasher in there
    –If possible, replace that kitchen light fixture with a set of angled lighting to accent different areas and give a more diffuse glow.

    Altogether those various things can be done for about $1,200. Less if you get free labour from friends. (Hint.)

    The one thing I’m not sure about is plumbing for the dishwasher. The cost of that depends on the type and style of dishwasher you choose. That’s the bigger gray area. If you want to do one of the portable dishwashers you can get a handy one for around $400. That’d be my choice for a smaller kitchen, actually. The only drawback is having to hook up the intake and outflow hoses.

  8. Oh, yeah, Sarcastro, tons of them. That’s why you live in town and not down in purgatory. Oh, wait….

    Coble, I had thought of an island. I do think that’s the solution, but I was all planning on moving the oven there. But your way is much easier!

  9. Oh, forgot about the dog part… that’s one sign we really haven’t had yet, as Dobie now approaches 14. He is still the canine garbage disposal and nothing seems to faze him ever except socks. I don’t feed him stuff he shouldn’t eat on purpose, just talking about the stuff that gets eaten without my approval. So I still give him the occasional (very occasional) people food bite or two or 1/4 a burrito once in a while.

    (Nothing wrong with his stomach and socks… it’s when they have to come out is the problem.)

  10. Well, tons in the parts of town that don’t carry the Official Hipster Doofus Seal of Approval. Sorry our little corner of West Nashville didn’t meet your exacting standards.

    And if Madison isn’t purgatory, it’s close enough.

  11. Its about logistics, and quality of life, Sar.

    The real values are North, but this area was inaccessible for so long, its ingrained in people’s heads. The entire 24 corridor is hell.

  12. First, Sar, you yourself said it woul be pretty much the same amount of space as we have here. Second, I’m not going to buy the house of a friend; I’d feel like I was walking around in their dirty underwear or something. How would I ever feel like it was my home? I’d be constantly feeling like I lived in your old house. Third, we’ve looked at nearly 50 houses all over town. Out of those, I’d say 10 you could live in without having to do major work on them and then you have to ask yourself if you feel comfortable being there by yourself. From that, you make the best choice you can.

    But anybody who thinks there are just a shit ton of houses in my price range that are move-in ready (or even just minor work away from being ready) in Nashville either hasn’t spent the last month walking through them, works for the Mayor’s office, or is giving me a hard time for the sake of giving me a hard time, even in the face of having moved his family out of Nashville.

  13. No way I would have seriiously considered selling you my house. For the reasons you state and a few of my own. Doing business with strangers leaves no bitter aftertaste. I did send you some links to houses in the under 120k range in my old neighborhood that are great buys and would require no work. No reply.

    Thanks, Mack. I had no idea that ‘it’s about logistics and quality of life’. Good thing you hang around in order to Explain Things.

    As for moving my family out of Nashville, I guess I can plead guilty. What with my kid’s school, friends, athletics and other extracurriculars all in Rutherford, it seemed silly to haul them back into Davidson County half the week and on alternating weekends just to sleep. I didn’t move them, they were already there.

    Besides, since when did it become verboten to give you a hard time for old time’s sake?

  14. Well, Sarcastro, if you make statements that are at odds with what I know about B’s desires, then expect to be corrected. For her, and for me, and many people I know, it is in fact about the surrounding infrastructure, and if there is space around the home itself. For others, its about being close to nashville, or having the big-assed house.

    No need to be snotty, son.

  15. Well, I actually do think that house prices in Nashville are going to come down within the next year. Things are sitting on the market a lot longer than they had been, and selling only once the price is cut. If you wanted to wait, you could probably get a much better deal on a move-in-ready place a year from now. But it isn’t really clear whether most of the renovation projects you’re talking about are really things that make the house not-move-in-ready in your eyes, or just things that are on your List. You know, the List every homeowner has, of things to do if ever you had the time and money, the way I would put handmade Arts & Crafts tiling around the fireplace or my husband would expand the kitchen towards the back and put in a guest room upstairs. At fist I the things you were mentioning were all things for the List (aside from the dishwasher, I guess) but if they aren’t, you may want to thing about that.

  16. wow. This is an entertaining thread inthat whole observer discomfort way. It almost brings a tear to my eye recalling the old old days.

  17. I try to go slow, so as not to leave too many behind…;)

    NM, yes, exactly. The house is quite livable as is, and the wish list is doable in the near future, given the asking price. I just got back from there, the roof and sub-floor look good, I saw no deal-breakers. Fingers crossed.

    I don’t think the reduced prices around Nashville will make a big difference to B, they would have to go for roughly half…and that ain’t happenin.

  18. The house is quite livable as is, and the wish list is doable in the near future, given the asking price

    From just the pictures it looks like a wonderful place.

  19. NM, Yes. I’m trying to suffer silently…but it hurts.

    Well, I suspect she did what she was comfortable with and thought was right. This is a hard enough decision and a hard enough course to take anyway. I mean, I don’t claim special knowledge of what’s in B’s head or anything, but I guess she made the offer she felt best with.

  20. We paid asking price for our house. Of course, we listed about $5,000 worth of changes for the seller to make/add before we would close, and got those done. So I guess you could say that we paid $5,000 less than the listed price.

  21. Exador, you just let me know when the time comes for you to tie me to the train tracks, so I can be sure to be wearing my cutest Victorian underthings. I’m already practicing my struggling and calling out “No, no, don’t tie me to that hard, steel rail. I’ll do anything you want, Mr. Dor, just please don’t tie me up and leave me here in nothing but these silky drawers!”

    As for the house, yes, it somehow managest to fit Sarcastro’s criteria of being both in the cool kids’ part of town and not, meaning, it’s on the other side of the river from here, but not any place people are going to be making a destination.

    It’s not huge, but it will be big enough for us and, if the Butcher does run off and get married, it will be small enough for me to not feel overwhelmed by.

    And yes, I don’t have the stomach for negotiations. So, there’s that.

    But I feel like I’m getting a deal on the house and, really, other than a fridge, it doesn’t need anything for us to move in there. But there is a big list of things we can do to make it more suitable for us and none of those things involve “Replumb the whole house, immediately or you won’t be able to take a shower!” or other equally scary prospects.

    The neighbor kid came by to learn when we’d be moving in. And his folks told Mack and the Missus’s husband that the owners before the owner we’re buying it from were drug dealers, hence the bars on the windows of our house and no one else’s.

    It is an… unusual color, but, unbeknownst to Coble, I plan on getting with her and discussing how to go about fixing that (though getting the inside of the house painted a non-pink is my more immediate concern. The outside of the house can wait until it gets cooler again.) because she has an eye for color and a good sense of where my head is at.

    Everyone who sees the house agrees that the thing to do in the kitchen, no matter what else one might do, is to at least take the wall between the kitchen and the dining room down.

    I think we may try to do that immediately.

    Then it’s just a matter of deciding if we want to tackle the whole kitchen before we get too settled or if we want to get a portable dishwasher and wait.

    Because, I think the way to fix the kitchen is to move the fridge to where the stove is now. Put in a few more cabinets. Move the dishwaster to where the fridge goes now (so you’re using the sink’s plumbing) and put the oven and the cook top in an island.

    I’d also still like some built-in bookshelves, but I’m not sure where to put them.

    Anyway, it’s fun to think about and I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot more daydreaming, which you will all have to tolerate.

    It has a swing in the back yard. Did I tell you that?

  22. We paid asking price for our house. Of course, we listed about $5,000 worth of changes for the seller to make/add before we would close, and got those done. So I guess you could say that we paid $5,000 less than the listed price.

    We did the same when we bought our house. It seems to me that if you agree to pay the full listing price, but ask for a bunch of stuff in addition, you’re not insulting the seller by lowballing the price, but you’re still getting a deal. And, my house appraised for about $10,000 more than I paid for it anyway, so paying full listing price was a good deal anyway.

  23. B, what’s behind the paneling? Is it solid, or empty space? Because if it’s empty space (even empty space surrounded by studs) you might be able to put built-in bookshelves there plus have less of the paneling around, all in one project.

  24. But if you’re combining the kitchen and dining rooms it’s more of an everything room, right? Nah, you’re probably right. Of course, in my extended family, jumping up from the dinner table to fetch a book to prove a point in an argument is not all that unusual, but I accept that we’re weird ourselves.

  25. We listed our house last week. Got a full price offer within 6 hours of the listing going live. It was quite a surprise. We even managed to get 2k over listing. Of course, they asked for $5k worth of closing costs and we’re still negotiating repairs.

    I think we were pretty lucky, all things considered.

  26. Well, it wasn’t done in my nuclear family, but it’s SOP among most of my mother’s cousins and their offspring.

  27. We have a built-in bookcase within arm’s reach of our dining room table stocked with a 2 vol. OED, various bird and plant books, atlases, Guinness Book, etc . These come in handy for just that sort of “hey, were do Komodo dragons live, anyhow?” questions that our kid has and we don’t like pulling out the laptop during dinner. Then again, there isn’t a room in the house (including the bathrooms) that doesn’t have some type of book storage.

  28. unbeknownst to Coble, I plan on getting with her and discussing how to go about fixing that (though getting the inside of the house painted a non-pink is my more immediate concern. The outside of the house can wait until it gets cooler again.)

    That sounds like fun, although at least half of my eye for colour is in someone else’s (husband’s) head. ;-p

    I do promise to act surprised when you tell me officially about this plan.

    We have a built-in bookcase within arm’s reach of our dining room table

    How cool is that? It’s better than our current solution at Casa Monkey, where we just eat in the living room.

  29. there is no place in a house where bookshelves can ever be weird. excepting maybe a crawlspace, and i’m not positive about that.

  30. Hey, we had an internal crawlspace in the house where I grew up, and I kept books there. The house I now live in has shelving for books in every room except the bathrooms and the dining room. But the main reference books are a quick jump from the dining room, in the living room, so that’s OK.

  31. I, on the other hand keep the majority of my books in a box nowadays. I have to rely on either my memory or the internet to bolster my memory.

    It’s less poetic, but also less dusty. More to the point I’m married to a man who hates clutter–shelved books count as clutter in his world– and has given me just a few “clutter zones”. Said Clutter Zones (my desk, my side of the bed, a corner of the bonus room) are all full of books, of course.

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