Decorating & Renovating
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1950's renovation

Hi. I moved into Hubbie's 50's small ranch 4 years ago and he is finally agreeing to a reno! Nothing has been touched since it was built and everything needs to be done! I have no idea where to start. I would like to have some ideas before we meet with contractors. Any advice?

Re: 1950's renovation

  • We need a ton more info, but without specifics from you, good general info is 1) not everything dated is junk that needs to be torn out - consider embracing the '50s if your house is "good dated". 2) Always get multiple estimates. Never give them a dime til work's completed to your satisfaction. 3) Pinterest.  

  • I almost forgot the most important thing: take any quote you get and double it. If you don't have that much money available before you start a project, don't touch a thing unless you want to live in a half demo'd house for 6-12 months while you scrape together the cash. I'm speaking from the experience of 2 flips - renovating is the biggest pain in the ass in the world (count me in the "never again" camp) and it always, always, always costs thousands of dollars more than you expect it to, no matter how confident the contractor says he is about his quote or the project. 
  • See what kind of work you can do on your own and how it will deduct from your contractor's price, for example, pulling up carpet, you don't really need a contractor to do that. Other simple stuff that you're basically going to be paying for the labor, see if you can do.  If there's wall paper that you just want pulled down, it's pretty easy to do. Has the house been tested for lead?
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  • PP brings up a really great point about lead.

    We bought a 1950's ranch that was in the process of being remodelled, so it was gutted down to the studs and subfloors when we took ownership.  Any home from that era will need to be tested for lead when a contractor is brought in.  We had to come up with an additional $12,000.00 for the workers to take out the windows that we were replacing and wrap them in plastic before they put it in the dumpster.  It doesn't seem like much additional work or supplies, but OH was it a major expense that was not expected.

    Contractors will want you to know what you want.  I suggest pinterest and picking up books and magazines to find inspiration.  Try to keep some of the detail that you don't see in new construction- built-ins, arches, woodwork, etc.  I think that charm adds to a house.

    Also, be sure to renovate for your life in the home.  Do you plan to stay there for 5 years, 10, or 20 years?  If it's a shorter term then I'd focus on what is going to entice buyers- kitchens, bathrooms, more neutral colors, a breath of fresh air to the house but don't go overboard.  If you plan on being there for a long time think about what will suit your needs best- adding a bathroom, converting 2 small rooms into one larger, more custom options, etc. 


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