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Show TOH your DIY transformations!

Tell Us Your Story! Did you renovate your house and do most of the work yourself? If so, we'd like to hear about your project. Please send us:
-Copies of before and after photos
-A floor plan
-A brief description of the work you did

Send submissions to:
This Old House/Transformations
1185 Avenue of the Americas, 27th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Or, email images and information to: [email protected]

You can also post stories and photos here, and I will contact you via private message if our editors are interested in featuring your project!

*You'll receive a payment of $250 if your home is featured.

Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

From the TOH ONLINE EDITORS inbox:

I've been an avid reader of this old house for may years and always surf
around trying to catch an episode on one of many cable stations. I just
finished a project I wanted to share with others. I reused my old hot
tub to make a pond out behind my house. The entire story from beginning
to end is posted on my website (just for this email, I don't run a
public site) . It would be a thrill to actually get my story in the
magazine. Take a look, I think you'll find it very interesting.

Old Yankee ingenuity meet modern recycle mentality. :)


I do have full size high res pictures if you do decide to do anything
with it. I've attached a before and after, but there are other pictures at the site.

Dave C Martin
[Contact information redacted]

Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

No before pictures, nothing but a small porch, but SHMBO wanted a sun porch so here is the one I designed and built.

Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

You can see lots of photos and a description of what I did here in my website under The Goose Hill Rd Project
and in the listing in THE VIRTUAL TOURyou can see the floor plan and a virtual tour....and yes..I listed the house just a cpl of weeks ago after over five years working on it full time
My favorite saying is, "A finished house, is a listed house" <--wife hates that...lol:D

Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

I recently purchased a 1958 ranch style home that had not seen many updates since the initial construction. I have replaced all the windows and doors as well as remodeled every room in the house except for the bathroom. That's coming shortly! For this thread, I will submit the kitchen renovation since I think it is the most dramatic change. It had built-in pine cabinets with rought-iron hinges and draw pulls. I installed all new maple cabinets and granite counters. All appliances are stainless and so is the sink and faucett. I removed the old laminate floor down to the subfloor and installed the Cottage series from Pergo. To do it again, I would put in real hardwood! I hope you like it. I performed all the work myself.

Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

My wife and I bought a 1600 square foot 2-story colonial in 2000. After building a small 28x36 foot sturcture beside the house for her daycare business we decided to add a garage to our home and perhaps a new family room on the back for our growing family. We ended up adding a little over 4000 square feet. This has been a do-it-ourselves project with indispensible help from one of her brothers. We're doing it without a loan and in our spare time. While it has taken us nearly three years so far (and we're a little over half done) this has been a great approach because we're able to put a lot of thought into it and make on-the-spot changes as ideas occur to us. We get a lot of great ideas from This Old House magazine and television show. I'm the general contractor, electrician, plumber, grunt labor, etc. It's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun too.

Blue Moon
Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

It wasn't a very BIG project, but OH OH OH what a difference this made (I just did this last Saturday!).

Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

We recently remodeled our 10' x 20' U-shaped kitchen for under $7000. As you may have guessed from my username, I'm pretty frugal. However, frugal doesn't have to mean shoddy. To save money and because I enjoy renovating, I wanted to reuse as many cupboards as possible and do as much of the work as I could do myself. I had taken a CAD course at the local community college so I used CAD to accurately draw out my plans and calculate the best way to reposition the cupboards. At the time I was taking care of my 99-year old father and didn't have the skills to do the entire remodel myself. The work entailed removing a non-load bearing wall adjacent to our den to create a 20' x 20' family room/kitchen. We hired a husband/wife carpentry team to help with the demolition, tile counters, reposition the cupboards and install the wood floors. In the evenings I ran the electrical and installed new lighting fixtures. We relocated the microwave and upper cupboards from the wall above the stove and created an island with raised counter for seating. The island was designed to accommodate a small chest freezer that we placed on furniture glides for ease in moving. When the local home improvement store wanted $285 for a narrow spice rack next to the stove, I used a leftover cabinet front, purchased the sliding hardware, and made my own rack for $35. We repositioned all the cupboards around the now L-shaped exterior walls and placed overhead and side cabinets around the refrigerator. We reused the laminate countertop that was adjacent to the stove by cutting it down and reinstalling it elsewhere. The white tile backsplash already around the sink and and existing counters was extended to the new counters with left over tiles the former owner had left in the basement. A year earlier my brother and I had made a very nice cutting board that rested on top of the chest freezer. We ordered a set of 36" wide, deep drawers and placed the cutting board on top to create a new baking station under the repositioned microwave. The island was covered with economical 6" terra cotta tiles and trimmed with oak to match the existing cabinets. I disassembled the kitchen fan, spray painted the paddles and brass motor housing white and reinstalled it to match den fan. The kitchen fan also had a light fixture. I disconnected the light, capped off the bottom where the fixture originally hung using a 25 cent part from a thrift shop fan, and used the wires to power new recessed ceiling lights. New 3/4" oak flooring tied the two rooms together (one formerly had linoleum, the other carpet). My sister and I spent 2 days scraping the popcorn ceilings - a horrible job. The kitchen side was badly damaged from where the former cupboards hung and replacement popcorn would have cost $800. Our solution was a quick coating of drywall compound knocked down to look like a gentle stucco. Once primed and painted it looked great. We built a banquette with an overhead spot light in the corner of the family room - a popular spot for reading the morning paper, playing cards, as well as dining. The corner table was made from scrap wood and a used pedestal base. The wood table top was covered with burlap (ala HGTV) and topped with a piece of glass. I made a drop down leaf at the end of the island (jusst visible in the second photo). It too was covered with burlap, trimmed with oak then coated with polyurethane to make a hard cleanable surface. A piano hinge allowed the table top to fold up and down easily. Since the distance from the table top to the floor was longer than the length of the table top, I used one of my father's metal extension canes to create a collapsing leg that was hidden when closed. I painted both rooms including all trim, installed new switches, outlets and plates, and hung new wood mini blinds. The major part of the project took only 5 days (demolition of the wall, building the island, all electrical, rehanging cupboards). The floors took 2 1/2 days, ceiling as mentioned, and painting was completed as time permitted. Our new family room/kitchen instantly became a favorite gathering spot, could easily seat 12-14 for meals, and was the biggest asset when it came time to sell the house.

Re: Show TOH your DIY transformations!

I just wanted to show you our projects. We got the fence plans right from TOH. We've gotten many compliments from passers by and even from our town mayor!! This type of fence is not seen in our area.

My husband also built a deck for us and it came out wonderfully. Tom's advice for making the stair stringers really was a help.

Many thanks to TOH for their great advice!

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