Monday, November 24, 2008

Home Improvement Projects with Friends

I spent this weekend helping my sister out with a bathroom remodel project. She and her husband had already bought and installed a new sink, faucet and vanity - the sink and faucet she got in the discount clearance room of a bathroom fixture supplier and the vanity she got at a great deal at Lowe's. She had a friend of theirs install it and it is gorgeous! She and I installed the vinyl flooring and painted walls, ceiling and wainscoting.

I'll give it to my sister - she has incredible taste. She found the sink that she loved and then built the rest of the bathroom around it, and so it should be, this was a gorgeous sink - a real centerpiece. The vanity, flooring and paint all went together beautifully and when we were done looked like a million bucks. I don't know how much she spent in totally, but to me it looked like a $5,000 remodel job. Seeing how all the labor was done by friends and family, I don't think she came anywhere near that!

She and I had a lot of fun together. It was great to spend time working together like that. I felt like we got the chance to hang out more and talk more than we do when we try to squeeze everything we've been doing in our lives in quick emails or over lunch hours. She felt the same way so, she and I have made a pact...

to help each other on various projects. I have carpet I want to rip out of a storage space, she has more rooms she wants to paint, we both have things we would like to do. We have decided to help each other out and whoever's project is being worked on provides the meals for lunches and snack breaks. I think it is going to work out great! Add that to the fact that my friends Catie and David have offered to help with projects on the same sort of deal - I have a whole crew I can call on!

I have a few things I want to work on too. I don't have a lot of money to spend of course, but I can do some of my projects a bit at a time. Take the attic storage space, I am hoping to pull up the carpet, clean out the area, pull down the border and spackle and paint the walls. That will require very little money, since I already have the spackle and the primer and the paint. These kinds of things will all help in the resale value when it is time to put the house back on the market.

I love the idea of bartering services - helping someone out and then, in return, them helping you. I think this is a great way to get things done, not just home improvement projects, but car repairs, snow removal, gardening... really any sort of skill or work can be traded. Not only do you get work done at a low cost, working with friends can be just plain fun!

Photo by: tienvijftien

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