Friday, August 12, 2011

Updating the Condo

I was recently in South Carolina to work on the condo I bought while in grad school and now rent out.  My renters are changing over, so I wanted to inspect for damages, clean, and if I had any spare time, do some updates!

I did extensive remodeling to the condo while I lived in it, replacing the floors, cabinets, counters, and blinds, installing new lighting, and painting every last surface I could find.  However, a few things took a back burner, and I've been wanting to get to them as I have the time and money.

Thankfully my last tenants were great, and I didn't have much work to do at all as far as cleaning/repairs go!  I touched up some paint scuffs here and there, recaulked the bathtubs, and did some light cleaning, but overall I was very pleased with what I found.

This gave me the opportunity to work on some improvement projects!!!

Whoever hung the bathroom mirrors back in the 80's used a glue that ate through the finish of the mirrors, leaving big ugly spots like you see below.  Yuck.

Don't worry, that's not your face...just a gross glue job

I decided to replace them, but I was really worried about tearing up the walls.  I called the building handyman, and he told me he'd had luck replacing them in other units.  He gave me lots of great tips about the project, like:
  • Be sure to tape the mirror well so that if it breaks the glass won't go all over
  • Try your best not to damage the wall
  • After removing the mirror, spackle the wall to fill in holes or fill over any residual glue
I've worked on many a project with this guy, and he's always been very supportive, telling me that I can, in fact, install a dishwasher or replace flooring when I don't even know how to use a saw.

So I taped the mirror really well.  I slipped a 5-in-1 tool behind it to pry it off, and it just popped off!  Wayyy too easily!  There was a lot of glue still stuck to the wall, so I chipped that off and sanded the wall down.  I didn't have any holes, but I did spackle over the glue spots to smooth them out.  Two quick coats of paint, and I was ready for installation!

The mirrors I bought had a wide frame around them, with two hooks on the back.  Of course the hooks weren't even, so I had to do a lot of precise measurements.  I used wall anchors that didn't require an electric drill (because I didn't pack one in my suitcase), and I would really recommend them - they were so much easier to use than your typical drywall anchors.
These babies are AWESOME
So, for $180 and 4 hours of work, I think this was a pretty good project!  I think my tenants will appreciate the upgrade and it will make my condo more valuable should I choose to sell it.

Before                                                        After

My second project was replacing the doorknobs.  Also 80's vintage, these brass babies were just not up to snuff to remain in the condo.

These gotta go!

I bought non-locking ones for the closets, twist-locking doorknobs for the bathrooms, and key locking doorknobs for the bedrooms.  I know this sounds weird, but after having several tenants replace them with key locking doorknobs anyways, I figured I'd just save them the trouble.  Plus I'd actually get an extra key, just in case!

Removing the old knobs was easy, and it allowed me to (finally!!!) finish painting the doors properly.  Again, I had to wait around for paint to dry (this more or less defined my work day).  Installing the new ones was a cinch, too!  All in all, about $60 and 2 hours of work for all new (antimicrobial) doorknobs!  Can we say UPGRADE?

Much better!

These were fun, easy, low-risk projects, and I would definitely recommend them, even to apartment dwellers.  I never even used a power tool!  Just a screwdriver, 5-in-1 tool, measuring tape, level, paintbrush, and a putty knife.  I've been eying the doorknobs and mirror in my apartment ever since I got home...

What easy upgrades have you tried lately?  Please share!

1 comment:

  1. wow, what a difference! The new stuff really suits your new look. I really thought the door knobs would be a hard project. Way to go Bonnie!


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