Reluctant Renovator: Gifts (for your house) that keep on giving

Reluctant Renovator: Gifts (for your house) that keep on giving

I look around our almost completely renovated house and sigh as my eyes meet the worn, glass-knobbed interior doors on the main floor.

"Birthday, Chanukah, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and our anniversary," I think, as I contemplate the replacement of each door. For 2013, instead of me and my husband giving gifts to each other, we'll give gifts to the house.

It's not a bad trade-off. I mean, they're gifts we'll enjoy for a long time. So yeah, doors are on my wish list.

A clean home is a happy home, so house cleaning services would be good, too. Our previous house was smaller than this one, but a woman cleaned it twice a month. Her visits forced us to tidy up, which was important with two toddlers underfoot. We have yet to bring in cleaning help in our new place, though. The dust bunnies are growing so quickly I’m almost ready to pass them off as throw pillows.

Enough about me. How about some tips for you?

Remodeling a bathroom? Give yourself the gift of a heated floor and skimp on the other holiday gifts. Every morning I stumble half asleep into our master bathroom and when my feet hit the ceramic floor I feel, well, nothing. No icy shock jolts me awake because we installed an underfloor heating system during the remodel. I’m not a morning person, but when I step onto this floor, it calms me. Or at least does the closest thing to calm a gal can feel before her first cup of coffee. Seriously, heated floors are better than dinner at one of Chicago’s best restaurants and they’re calorie-free.

If you want to have your birthday cake and presents, too, give your house budget-minded gifts. For example, update the cabinet hardware in your kitchen or bath. After too many hours perusing drawer pulls in a fancy bath shop, my husband and I finally found a set we both liked at a big-box hardware store - and they were on sale. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to liven up a space. And for a living or family room, new throw pillows and accessories do the same thing.

In some cases, gifting your house now translates into personal savings down the line. Replacement windows aren’t much more exciting than doors, but with the cost savings from their energy efficiency, you can plan for a more personal gift next year.

Gifting my house instead of my spouse may not be romantic, but, meh, we’ve been married nearly 20 years. We don’t need romance; we need doors. Then again, as long as the doors have child-proof locks, we might be able to get both.


Kim Moldofsky knows how to rock a tool belt, but her favorite technique for fixing things in her home is calling up tradesmen she finds on Angie’s List. That said, she’s learning a few things as she works to turn her “new-to-us” 1950s Cape Cod into a modern home in Chicago’s suburbs. She documents her home improvement projects at Reluctant Renovator.com.

The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.


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