2012 Reader Remodel Contest: In Your Words
You told us all about your remodeling highs and lows. Now read some of the best bits in our annual Reader Remodel Contest
We read through all of your decorating woes and rewards. Read through for some of the best bits that are funny, heartwarming and sometimes shocking bits from our readers.
Who: Jason Buzzard
Where: Syracuse, New York
"Not sure how long I'll be here, because I am in the military, but I wanted my family to have a cozy kitchen."
Shown: Jason built a bigger farmhouse-style table and installed just about everything from the lighting fixtures to the flooring by himself during his time at home.
Who: Marie and Kevin Steckelberg
Where: Yankton, South Dakota
"We did at least 85% of the remodel ourselves—date night!"
Shown: The couple use drywall to create built-in shelving around the original fireplace.
Who: Andrea Hoy
Where: Williamsville, New York
"I pinched a nerve in my neck tearing up layers of flooring and had to sleep sitting up in the living room for a while. Well worth it in the end!"
Shown: Andrea learned a hard lesson by painting the bedroom's floors with low-quality latex paint on top of existing oil-based paint.
Who: Leo Chavez Jr.
Where: Denver, Colorado
"The Holy Kitchen Trinity: copper, granite, slate."
Shown: Leo purchased appliances during off-peak times and took advantage of federal, state and local energy efficiency rebates to afford that trifecta.
Who: Art Dykstra
Where: St. Petersburg, Florida
"The hardest part was the inconvenience of sewer backups and having people try to come and buy drugs from what was a former crack house!"
Shown: The classic Craftsman turned crack house was missing everything that wasn't bolted down when Art nabbed it at a steal in a foreclosure sale.
Who: Christine Bodie
Where: West Liberty, Ohio
"I am a female in my late 50s. I own more power tools than most men ever dreamed of and know how to use them."
Shown: Christine eats most of her meals during nice weather on her new deck, a visually welcome replacement for an old near-collapsed summer kitchen.
Who: Jeri Hale
Where: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
"My awesome neighbor did all of the work."
Shown: Jeri repurposed bricks from the home's old porch to create garden borders for foundation plants.
Who: Kristin Johnson
Where: Pasadena, California
"Our contractor eventually reran our pipes so we could wash up underneath the deck. Nothing like seeing your dog go to the bathroom on the lawn while you are taking a shower."
Shown: The new airy glass shower—the home's only shower—makes Kristin's bath feel bigger in the same footprint.
Who: James Gould
Where: Hamilton, New Jersey
"Creating and compromising on the design with my wife. And waiting for Spackle and paint to dry."
Shown: James saved money by bagging up trash and taking it to the curb a few bags at a time instead of renting a dumpster.
Who: Sandy De Laughter
Where: Narrows, Virginia
"The best part was dreaming about what the new bedroom would be like. Of course, many of my dreams were crushed by reality. But I still have the notebooks."
Shown: One dream achieved is removing a jacuzzi from the bedroom.
Who: Amy Reynolds
Where: Harrell, Arkansas
"We originally wanted to build a house, had a blueprint drawn up and everything, but then we figured we had already invested so much in the trailer that we couldn't see just giving it up. So we fixed it up."
Shown: The new brick exterior and windows give Amy's trailer the appearance of a house and help with energy efficiency.
Who: Andrew Dirks
Where: Brookfield, Wisconsin
"I lived there during construction and befriended my Shop-Vac every day."
Shown: Andrew renovated the Midwestern house inside and out to resemble homes characteristic of his beloved New England.
Who: Kris Charles
Where: Dexter City, Ohio
"I knew the 99-year-old lady who lived in this 165-year-old house as a young bride and for the next 70 years of her life. I wanted to return it to the way she remembered it."
Shown: Kris has moved onto remodeling the home's interior and dreams of one day connecting the house and nearby garage to make room for a woodworking shop.
Who: Adam Mehring
Where: Stoughton, Wisconsin
"Responses from friends and family have ranged from 'You are nuts!' to 'That is incredible!' I agree."
Shown: Adam calls this pattern he penciled on and painted freehand an "out-of-the-way surprise rather than an all-day, everyday eyesore."
Who: Donna and Dan Curnutte
Where: East Liverpool, Ohio
"Our house sits on a rise overlooking the Wild and Scenic Little Beaver Creek. Great site for high water, not so great for getting materials uphill to the house. Everything had to be carried up by us. Now my husband and I have great calf muscles! We plan on doing a lot of landscaping using the same."
Shown: Kitchen cabinets were the one big splurge in this isolated and uphill retirement home.
Who: Mark Wallacavage
Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"Had the Department of Health gotten wind of what was inside, this place would have been condemned."
Shown: Five dumpsters' worth of garbage was hauled out of the house before renovations could begin.