If Our Walls Could Talk, I Bet They’d Just Start Screaming

Only two Mondays left until Memorial Day! It’s time to start thinking about trips down the shore, working in gardens for those of you who are better than me at keeping green things alive, and reminding the dog that there are more fun things to do in the backyard than fertilizing it.

This year, our summer plans are all about The House. We say this in capitals at home because, like a lot of first-time homeowners, my husband and I bought a place that was budget-friendly and project intensive. Sometimes we have to watch “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks to remind ourselves that it could be worse! We have a project wish list a mile long, and we spend a lot of time looking at it and discussing what is worth putting our time and money into, especially since we know that we will be selling the house within a year or so. Do we put our blood, sweat, tears, and cash into things that the next family will get to enjoy more than we do? I’m all for charity and love-thy-neighbor and all that jazz, but not that much!

So, what are we going to do with The House? What improvements are worth making now, and what will we leave for the next owners? Most of what we want to do involves staging the house, which is a weird real estate way of saying “make total strangers want to live they way they think you live.” Since we’re both pretty genuine people, we decided to do this by (now here’s an idea) living the way we actually live, and making it look good. So I’m having fun trawling flea markets and auctions to get just the right pieces of furniture and accessories to show off the details that the house already has going for it, like my beloved built-in bookcases and old-school hardwood floors. These will come with us when we sell, or go back to the auctions, so the investment carries over.

And what about the things we can’t take? Well, that’s a tougher discussion. The easy part was ripping down the amazingly ugly pink and blue gold-leafed paisley wallpaper and giving the place a fresh coat of paint. (I hear my husband face-palming now at the use of the word “easy” in reference to ripping down, I kid you not, 55 year old wallpaper, but sometimes you have to lie to yourself to be able to start the next project, right?) Now that that’s done, we have to decide about bringing this 1910 house into 2012, and installing an air conditioning system.

I know what you’re thinking now – “Hey, you work for an HVAC company, isn’t that the easiest thing to get done?” Well, yes and no. Yes, because I know I can count on Oliver to give me great options and to do a great job once we make a decision. No, because there are a lot of great options out there to consider. Do we keep our oil boiler and add a straight A/C unit? Or maybe put in a heat pump and keep the oil as a backup system? Or, do we go along with our next-door neighbors and convert both houses to natural gas and then decide about the A/C or heat pump issue? So many options! I’m lucky to have such great advisors on tap here at Oliver, I know they’re going to help us decide what’s best for us and The House. And because I’m such a sweetheart (stop laughing, husband!), I’ll even share them with you!

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