I read once that life is what happens while you are making other plans. For some reason, life has kept us in this small New Mexico town despite our best efforts to leave. We decided to scale way down for retirement and move closer to our kids on the west coast, but that has proven more difficult than we expected.
We moved into this house in 2009 and left in 2013 when our jobs dried up here, with the intent of selling it. Five years on the market with no takers and we decided that in order to retire, we would have to come up with a plan B. We were living and working in Santa Fe but knew that retiring with two house payments was impossible. Working with two house payments had been hard enough. So we decided to move back and sell the Santa Fe house so we could retire.
We decided to spend a couple of years on repairs and upgrades and then try to sell again. We always have to be budget conscious and where possible we do the work ourselves, but now that we are retired we have to be really budget conscious. My husband is pretty handy when it comes to just about anything DIY and I have quite a bit of DIY experience as well. We both like working with our hands. So we identified upgrades we could do ourselves and set to work.
We spent our first few months of retirement painting the outside of the entire place. It was overdue for a paint job and the estimates we got from contractors made our hair stand on end. My husband is a tool junkie so we already had ladders, sanders, scrapers and pretty much every other tool needed. We only needed paint. We opted for Sherwin Williams Super Paint and spent the extra prep time to sand, scrape and caulk to make it really nice. It looked beautiful with only one coat. By the time we finished, cool weather was creeping in, which means snow and ice here, so we decided to start working on replacing the 20 year old Formica countertops in the bathrooms. We kept our design goals simple-mountain cabin with rock and wood.
We had started on the guest bath in 2012. The shower had a fiberglass liner that was cracked across the bottom and leaking. My husband had worked as a plumber in an earlier life, so he tackled that first. He pulled out the liner and rebuilt the shower, finishing it with tile and pebble tile and oiled bronze fixtures. We loved that look so decided to use the same pebble tile on the countertop. The counters were also really low. We decided to build up the countertop just a couple of inches and add a vessel sink on top rather than adding taller cabinets. The cabinets are oak and in excellent condition so we did not see a need to replace them just because of a height problem. The floors were also half ratty Berber carpet and half tile, which we hated, so he put in a new tile floor using the same tile as in the shower.
I am not going into step by step detail on the build because every situation is unique due to budget, materials, size etc. We did remove the Formica top completely and build a new one with plywood covered by a layer of cement backer board rather than try to build over the old countertop. We used pebble tile ordered from Home Depot and delivered to our door step to save us the 50 mile drive to the nearest store in winter. Thankfully we had saved a few pieces of tile in the original box from the shower build, so we had the SKU number for the tile. We have learned to always save that kind of info and keep a few spare pieces just in case. We have a file where we put paint chips, carpet samples used and other info that we will leave for the new home owners when we sell this place.
We are quite happy with the finished bathroom. We are still considering options for framing or replacing the mirror, so it is pretty plain in the pictures. That will be the very last piece of this redo. As bathroom redos go, it was relatively low budget, due in large part to my husband’s DIY skills. We did the work over a few years due to moving around, but in all we spent no more than $1,000 plus or minus a hundred dollars for the tile and other supplies used. We had a tile saw, but those can also be rented if needed. It gave us a brand new look plus raised the sink a little without having to replace the cabinets. Now on to the master bath!
Hi there! I am Jeannine.
I believe that a holistic and balanced approach to life is a must when living with an autoimmune disease. I share gluten and dairy free recipes and all the other things I do here. I just like doing stuff and making stuff.
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