Sewing Room Renovations – Weeks 4 – 8

We got held up in the remodel waiting for the building permit. Here are some things we were asked about that weren’t in our original plans.


When we took down the ceiling we realized that whomever finished the basement had heated the room badly. They cut a hole in the trunkline and put a vent in it. That caused a pressure imbalance in the system os that no room heated from that point on got enough heating. We patched up the hole, but now the room had no heat.

We considered heated floors. There are a lot of options for water heated or electric. They are rather exspensive, especially if you don’t have gas heat already (for water heated which is preferrable to electric).

So we decided to go with an electric wall heater. It was what our heating company recommended, although they recommended a exspensive gas heater. We went with the electric because it was cheaper for the unit, it did not require adding gas lines or gas tanks and we only needed the electrician we already have to install a 240v power supply instead of needing 2 different contractors to install gas.


Another concern that the building inspector had was that the room has no ventilation, there is no window. So we have to install ventilation. It is hard to find a balanced ventilation system (air goes in and out) for just one room, most are made for a whole house. We decided on a Panasonic FV-04VE1 WhisperComfort™ Spot ERV Ceiling Insert Ventilator. It cost a good portion of our budget but we plan on using it for the whole basement, so it is a good investment.

Now that we have a building permit we haven’t had much time to work. But we did get the foam board adhered to the wall using Gorilla Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive, 9 oz. using a Ratchet Caulk Gun. We originally tried using Liquid Nails and a cheap caulk gun but we used up a whole tube on one foam board and it was a real pain to get it out.

As I am typing this my husband is drilling holes in the sole plate and screwing it down with masonry screws. It is a lot of hard and very loud work but it is pretty much a one person job. we will put up the top plate afterwards, which should be easier. The next time my husband has time off (next week) we will put in the studs and build my shelving area walls. I will post pictures of our progress then.

Sewing Room Renovations – Week 3

Well the work is being held up waiting for a permit.  So now we wait and get no work done.

I thought I would share some resources on how to finish your basement.

As soon as we get the permit we will hang 2″ foam board and frame the exterior walls. Then the electrician will come it to rewire.

Work at Home Mom

Being a stay-at-home mom is great. I get to be more involved with my kids and stay on top of house hold chores. But now that my kids are both at school and we own a house with a mortgage, I found I want to earn some money. Finding a job that would allow me to only work while my kids at school is hard. Especially when adding health issues I need to take into account. So starting my own business just made more sense.

I started Sew Magical Designs, I love to sew so why not make money off it. So now my problem is that I don’t have a lot of time. My daughter gets on the bus by 8 and my son gets home by 2:30. So that should give me 6.5 hours, right? But first I have to shower, run the laundry, do errands, etc. By the time I can actually get to sewing it’s  1pm and I have 1.5 hours to sew.

So now I have to make a schedule. Work days and household days. I will have to stick with it, it’s going to be difficult since I haven’t had a daily schedule to follow for years. But I will try my best.

The Real Cost of Buying a House

So last year my husband I decided that it was time to buy a house. We had some savings and we qualified for a VA loan so we didn’t need a down payment. We found out how much we could afford (keeping our monthly payments within budget) and we went to look at houses.

Buying a house in New Hampshire is expensive! Trying to find a house that fit what we wanted and needed was impossible. And it wasn’t like we were looking for much.

Our Wants and Needs of a House

  • 3 bedrooms
  • At least 2 bathrooms
  • Decent sized kitchen
  • Nothing older than we are (I seem to be allergic to old houses, at least living in them)
  • Yard for the kids
  • A room to use as a game room (family room, 4th bedroom, den, etc)
  • A room to use as a sewing room (office, 4th bedroom, den, etc)
  • A garage would be nice (hate cleaning off the car in winter)
  • Good school district
  • Under $250,000

Right away we noticed that if we got a fairly new 3 bedroom house for under $250,000 that we wouldn’t get anything else on that list (except maybe 2 bathrooms). So we started compromising. We ended up buying a 1972 (5 years older than my husband) raised ranch with 3 bedrooms, large eat-in kitchen, living room with fireplace, 2 bathrooms (1 is a master), family room, office, workroom, 2 garages and a three-season porch for just $235,000.

Sounds like an incredible deal, doesn’t it. Maybe if we had more savings or the previous owners actually took care of the house, it would have been.

The first pitfall was at closing. We had thought that making the seller pay all closing cost meant we wouldn’t have to pay any. Well we ended up paying more than we had in our savings! Bye bye savings!  We ended up taking over $10,000 out of my husbands retirement account. We used that money for the rest of closing, to replace broken garage doors, to bring the oil tank up to regulations (and make it safer), to add radon aggregation and a new pressure tank to our water system and to replace the (original) carpeting in my daughter’s room.

Now we had very little savings left and we had plans to eventually do some remodeling (I will get into that in future posts). But we thought that was okay, we had a nice house.

Now the previous owners we paying for some to replace the roofing on the house, but the roofer underestimated by $5,000. Luckily we didn’t have to pay him. It was his fault for not realizing that there was 2 layers of shingles on the roof. Apparently it is a common practice in NH to put new roofing down over old. He should have known that.

When we had the home inspection the inspector tested all the appliances. He only tested if they run. Well they all did except the dishwasher didn’t clean anything (the spinner at the bottom was not spinning) and the fridge didn’t stay cold. So we had to replace them. We got some great deals from Sears and had them replaced in no time.

Anyway, we still thought we were doing good, despite a leak in the bathroom. Then with cold weather coming we hire someone to do a heating system check and cleaning. That is when they tell us our heater is unsafe. If we don’t replace it CO will get into the house. Well we have had CO scares before (I won a CO detector in a contest and a couple of months later it went off because the heater in our rental was leaking CO, fire department came and everything). So we had to replace the heater. We didn’t have the money but luckily they could do financing.

One thing we did notice is that the previous owners were really into diy but they didn’t do things very well or safely in some cases. We will eventually need an electrician to redo some of their work, for safety.

So the lesson we learned that the cost of buying a house doesn’t end at closing.