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"Low Budget Renovation" (aka you're going to work your tail off)

I have a major bone to pick with TV remodel shows. They never talk about labor costs. I don't know how many contractors have told me, "drywall is cheap." My answer is "the actual drywall is cheap, but you have to tape it, mud it, sand it and all that takes time. And your contractor better know what he's doing because you won't know a bad mud job till it's painted and then you're unlikely to want to go back and sand a newly painted wall. It's time consuming and we all know time equals money. (I'm sure there are female drywall professionals, but in my part of the woods they are all men.)

It's the same for framing. Framing is time consuming. There are a multitude of steps and one mistake can start the process over from the beginning and no one is happy about that, but... I digress.

Low Budget Renovation really means someone is putting in sweat equity. There is no such thing as low budget renovation in my book. While I've done a few projects of my own, I find it a bit stressful to bite the bullet and get the work done. I'm afraid of making mistakes. It certainly is less stressful when you're working on a building that hasn't had upkeep in a long time... anything is an improvement, but it's still stressful.

Luckily, I'm blessed by being a person of action with a "good enough" attitude. Sure a professional could do it better, but if I do it myself: I've gained experience, saved some money and it's better than when we started. Better than we started means "good enough". So, we have to strike a balance and so far I've done most of the shop renovations without many contractors. My goal is to continue on that path.

The next project on my to-do list is my powder room... I'll call it a powder room because that sounds nice... elegant almost, but it isn't nice right now. It IS little! In the whole building I have one sink and one toilet. Here are a few of the issues.

The sink... the faucet drips, I can't get my water kettle under the faucet (this really bugs me by the way) and I don't have a place to clean my five dishes and seven pieces of silverware I use per week.

There is a weird boxed area. I figured it was the sewer vent, but I wondered how much room it really took up. Only one way to find out... hammer through the wall. If I take that bump out I gain a square foot and that's substantial in such a tiny room. Sorry everyone, you are going to see my sewer vent and I don't care (we'll repaint it...I promise).

The walls are ugly paneling. Don't get me wrong paneling has its place, but this stuff is pretty terrible.

Lack of storage - most everyone who owns an old house or building knows this issue.

We do have some updates. The toilet is newer, as is the flooring (but it'll have to be patched when I expose the sewer vent.) I've already bought a new vanity, faucet, mirror and light fixture. We had some tile leftover from a home renovation that I want to use as a back splash. With a little influence from my best buddy Karin from Strands Decorating Store, I'm going to be more daring in this tiny little room than usual.

My goal is to have this all done by April. Let the demo and the sweating begin! And I'll be using a few contractors to help me out. I'm getting too old and too tired to deal with this on my own!

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