Bought first house... design sites/fixtures/ideas??

hey everyone,
i just moved into my first house this past weekend… im now a homeowner! eek :stuck_out_tongue:
I definitely dont have a big budget to turn it into a design shrine, but just wondering if anyone had any good links to interior design sites (especially paint schemes, since thats pretty easy for me to tackle), stores that sell cool stuff (some ikea alternatives), or things that would inspire me to work on the house.

Interior design/housewares stuff has never really been a big hobby of mine so ill be picking up a few magazines, but just figured some on here would have some good links.


Check out Crate&Barrel (shameless plug for my wife…) they usually have some interesting things, printed curtains, rugs, etc. Room & Board is also really nice, but they’ll set you back a pretty penny because it’s the real stuff. (Corbusier chaise in cow-hide, etc.) I live very close to the outlet store, so I’ve lucked out getting a few things for a good price.

Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore have some pretty handy color tool on their respective websites.

If you’re familiar with Celadon just East of town, here’s some of the interior work one of my friends did out there.
*sorry forgot the links before

I’d be glad to help out, give me a buzz. Good stuffs in here, sorry if you already know this.

CB2 and West Elm are some good stores to check out.

Design Quest in Grand Rapids has some really cool housewares and furniture also.

If you have a Macy’s Home Store in the area they are worth a look.

Congrats dziner!!

I’d recommend that you spend some time becoming familiar with the “systems” in your place this summer while it’s warm.

  • Change the locks. Including the one one garage if it’s separate from the house. Call me paranoid.

  • Maybe climb up into the attic and take a look around; how much insulation is there between the ceiling joists? Any odd wires hanging down?

  • Clean out the gutters and downspouts.

  • Do your windows seal up well? Sill plates under the doors? Weather-stripping around them?

  • Drain the water heater completely (they tend to collect sludge at the bottom which “insulates” it from the heat source). Wasted money, wasted energy.

  • Have some one come out a clean out the dryer vent (if it is a long run), or do it yourself. A safety, as well as economy issue.

  • Try shutting off the water supply to the house so that you will a) know where it is in an emergency and b) know that it can be turned off (while there is no emergency). When we sold our first house I learned the value (after the fact) of this particular suggestion the night before we were to turn the house over to it’s new owners. Doing some last minute yard-digging, I broke the PVC delivery pipe that ran from the water meter to the house and couldn’t get the valve shut off completely. The plumber charged me almost $300 to come out on a Sunday night and fix it … :angry:

  • Try shutting off the water to the various toilets and sinks as well.

  • Where is the main power center with main breaker, and all of the individual circuit breakers, or fuses, located? Got spares?

  • Test your Ground Fault Interrupters (GFI) in the kitchen, bath, and outdoors.

  • Fire alarms? Install a few if you don’t have any. Replace the batteries (and note the date) on existing ones .

  • Speaking of, do the toilet flush valves shut-off quickly. It’s money, literally down the drain if they don’t.

  • Furnace filters? What size. Where is it located? Replace and date.

  • I’d almost bet a buck you have a fireplace. If you do, have a chimney sweep come out a inspect and clean it. This is cheap insurance, in fact, the cheapest.

  • This is a personal fetish … clear out old vegetation from around the foundation of the house. Pests love it; termites, silverfish, and ants especially. I don’t like any plant actually touching the house … regretfully, my wife does…

Have fun, I predict that Lowe’s will soon become one of your favorite places to spend time… :wink:

This is awesome advice. I wish someone had compiled a list like this for me 4 years ago…

good call LMO

I learned the importance of the main water shutoff about two years ago, thanks to some quick reflexes I avoided flooding the whole basement.

Feel free to add to it Chris…

So, now that you’re an indentured landowner, what kind of tools and equipment are you going to need to maintain the place? I’ll start…

  • a 6-10 foot ladder (so you can get to those gutter for starters)
  • a lawn mower (one of, if not my favorite thing NOT to have to spend money on)
  • a wheel barrow, or yard cart
  • rake(s) , shovel(s) (to fill the above)

way to go!

i’m going to suggest some fun diy projects… if you’re up for it.

a mason jar chandelier: kara paslay designs: DIY-MASON JAR CHANDELIER
bottle torches for a deck or patio:
wall hangings:
tape flower sculpture:

Pick up one of those “the complete Photo Guide to Home Repair” books from Home Depot.
We have been giving them out as housewarming presents for years. :slight_smile:

Invest in a Pex Clamp/Wrench. Being able to do your own quick plumbing fixes is awesome. $75ish dollars saves you a few hundred in plumbing costs later. So easy.

A cool collection for inspiration

Hey what year is the house?

I restored a house built in 1909 over the past 3 years. I wish the first thing I had done was build a workbench! (It was the last thing I did, doh!)

A note on gutters, next time you have a significant rainfall, take a look around the outside of your house while its still raining (you’ve got a rain coat, right?)

How’s the water draining away?
Is any water flowing over the gutters?
Do they drip? Sag? etc?

New gutters and down spouts are simply one of the best investments I’ve made to my house. The piece of mind it gives me knowing that a huge rainfall will not translate into a flooded basement is fantastic. And if you spring for new gutters, do yourself a favor and get the mesh type covers (or similar fancier options) as well as the larger sized down spouts, no matter what size your roof is.

The gutter covers also help to prevent ice-dams from forming in the winter. Nothing worse than a leaky roof when its’ 15º outside.

Congratulations on this major purchase! I’ll echo Lmo’s excellent advice and make sure you financially prepare for the unpredictable stuff (roof damage, major plumbing repairs, etc). Set aside an “emergency fund” in some form of liquid resource: Cash, Money Market, etc… Start with $3-5K and add to it as you go…

You’ll want to investigate an alarm system (a basic system of window and door switches combined with motion detectors is sensibly priced). You can add smoke detection to these systems as well for very little money. We found the “monitored” alarms are the best, especially ones with local monitoring centers. We went with Sonitrol. We love it. We have numerous break-ins in our area (a fairly well-to-do suburb) and the piece-of-mind is meaningful.

Since you sound like you want all the touch points at your home to be well-considered, don’t forget that critical Door Bell! Seattle-based designers and manufacturers Spore, Inc. have been developing well-made (USA) illuminated door bells in several price ranges for over 10 years:

And finally, don’t be afraid to take on mundane projects like Toilet Wax Ring replacements to save yourself some cash. Use the savings to get a Bulthaup kitchen or some other treat…

Have fun!

I have a spore doorbell on our house in Portland… we live on a dead end and people have walked down the street just to look at the doorbell!

Thanks for the rplies everyone! i am getting some electrical repair done in the home (having the system updated from old fuses, which apparently the past owner completely had set up overloaded, to a new breaker system, as well as grounded plugs being put in the rooms that didnt have them and a tri-flex line ran from the street to the home) so the power has been off the past 4 days and i have been busy at work so i havent had time to check this thread :angry: but i see alot of good stuff on here, i will have to go through one by one and reply/respond where necessary. :smiley:

one thing off my list is the lawn mower, i went the electric route and got the black and decker rechargeable 19". I read a ton of reviews and seems like they are perfect for my needs as long as i dont get a faulty battery and i dont break the power switch (i guess it breaks easily).

The house was built in 1951, its brick and does have a fireplace like LMO assumed.

I was brought up to speed on alot of the things you mentioned from the guy that did my inspection, it was a little overwhelming, but one thing at a time right? :confused:

I was able to get in before the first time homebuyers deadline, so when that check comes in the first repairs i will be making are the furnace and windows, they are both very old and will cost me an arm and a leg if i were to keep then through the winter.

The attic does need another 3" or so of insulation, so thats on the list.

The kitchen and appliances are very old, as in looks like original, so i dont know what the power consumption on my fridge and oven are but its almost to the point where i want to keep them just to have a retro feel, i have metal drawers! never seen them before, im assuming its aluminum? Although there is some terrible wallpaper in the kitchen that needs to go. :open_mouth: