We know from owning what is now a one hundred year old house when we lived in our first house that no home improvement project is as simple as it seems on the face. That being said, improving the five year old home we currently live in did not seem like it would have too many twists, since we had the house built to our specifications. Let no one tell you a new house is any less work than an older house. The difference in craftsmanship from a hundred years ago to now have no comparison. Cheaper, faster have overtaken pride and longevity. I did not expect to have any less work owning a new house versus an older house; owning any house takes continual maintenance.
In our case the house was built with such cheap materials in some places and by such unskilled help that within the five years we have been here, a number of things need all out replaced. We tried to repair and hold out where we could, but there is only so much you can do with bad stuff. Our laminate countertops are falling apart...we warranteed them while we were able to, but their fix didn't really help. So, they are on the multi-year list of items to slowly replace. Recently, DH decided he could't take the very, very poorly installed carpet any longer, and so we went about getting real, hand finished wood flooring installed throughout the first floor, with the exceptions of the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry rooms as I do not feel comfortable with devices that hold water living on wood, no matter how vigilant I may be in keeping things dry. We will put tile in those rooms to replace the crappy vinyl in a few years.
As we dove into the wood installation we decided that we disliked the color of the woodwork enough that while so much of the trim was off, we would replace it with new wood trim in a color that matched the floors, and from there slowly replace the rest of the trim work in the house with better quality and color. Slowly. That was all good, then last night happens. We had been fairly dry the last week while the guys were working. The advent of a rainstorm brought on the new found knowledge that the West door in the house was leaking A LOT of water in, and that water was seeping up through the newly installed wood- something it couldn't do when vinyl was there. Out came the wood, a tarp went over the door, the front door was checked, and off I go first thing in the morning with two whining kids in tow to search for doors. Thing is, we DO NOT want to do this again, like, EVER, so we decided we would spend whatever it cost to get quality. The caveat was that we needed the door sooner rather than later. So, we went to every home improvement store in the metro area to find that they all stock their own crappy store brand, and special order the nicer brands, which take two to four weeks to come in. That wasn't going to cut it, so finally I ended up at Gilcrest Jewett and spend a boatload of money, but get super high-quality doors from people who knew what they were doing, and we would have them in five days total, and not sooner only because I was an hour too later for that day's order to come in, plus they would deliver the same day they came in, which was a better deal than the home stores. The kids were ready to explode (okay, Superboy did strip his pants off while we were checking out at none homestore where we purchased new storm doors and handles for the entry doors), but after four hours, we got it done.
Now waiting for the next major addition to the growing list of unplanned improvements this go-round. It will be beautiful when it's done. That is what I have to keep telling myself...