So glad to have found this place! I'm approaching two years in my first house, in north Jersey, and have sought out lots of DIY advice on-line, but somehow managed not to learn about this site until recently. I've already received some excellent help here with a minor plumbing project.
I never thought I'd enjoy home improvement as much as I do. The house is a modest 1940s brick colonial which we love for its character and location. It needs major updating, however, especially inside. For most of its life it's been owned by a single family who, as the parents aged, let maintenance slide quite severely. Plus the most recent owners' major contribution was to add really awful wallpaper to most of the rooms (OK, and to add central AC and a master bath -- no complaints there).
We're not loaded but we're also in no hurry to move, so our approach is to take our time, learn how to do things the right way (with a little help from Dads!) and do them ourselves as much as possible.
Besides hiring contractors to do some big projects that couldn't wait (crumbling driveway, front steps, and patio all replaced), so far we've replaced some entrance doors, repaired some gutters, added some insulation, done some regrading in the yard to eliminate drainage problems, and lots of wallpaper-stripping and painting (plus a bit of base moulding).
Upcoming plans include:
* replacing some of the drafty single-glazed windows
* replacing a rusty and slanted old iron post lantern
* adding attic ventilation (i.e. bigger gable vents -- no soffits here) and insulation
* adding some crown moulding
* building a low retaining wall
* gutting the ancient, pink and leaky main-floor bathroom
* finishing the basement (currently partly finished)
So, not ambitious at all.
Been reading lots about plumbing and electrical. I don't try anything until I'm sure I know what I'm doing and what code requires. I will no doubt seek lots of advice here. Maybe, if anyone's more of a newbie than me, I'll be able to give a little something back, too. Cheers, all.