Our First Home Renovation Story

If you read this post, you know we sold our home and are moving to Indiana. Our first home has a rather fun story to it because it was a complete renovation that we did ourselves. Here's our story (see the video at the end for the transformation):

Ryan bought the house in December 2010 and we began work immediately. He first tore the carpet out. It was blue and under it were some beautiful wood floors. The surprise part was the layer of black gunk in the living room. We had no idea what it was but it was a gigantic pain the butt to try and scrape off. I believe there was one day where four of us worked on that.  

Ryan then added insulation. He loves telling that story because he always claims I fell asleep in a sleeping bag on the kitchen floor while he worked. The sleep bag part is true, the sleeping part is not. :)
Then, we moved on to the painting and tearing stuff out. Christmas that year, Ryan and his dad spent the day leveling the floor of the bathroom. They finished the bathroom in the weeks following. One weekend in January 2011 they sanded and refinished all of the wood floors.

We moved in February 2011. The renovations came to hault with the middle of tax season and me being in school. Then summer hit, and we minimally worked on the house. Let me tell you, moving into a house while still renovating is a bad idea. It will put all work at a standstill. We've had other friends say this, too. Basically, everything sounds a lot more fun than painting trim and caulking. 

During this time, I used the kitchen as it was. It was pretty difficult with 2 feet of counter space and an old gas stove. The gas stove saga came to an end when I accidentally caused the great fireball of 2011 that resulted in Ryan losing some hair. I threaten to repeat it each time he's in need of a haircut. After that, we went without a working stove for about 6-8 months.

We installed the kitchen flooring in October 2011. I don't think we got to the laundry room flooring, even though it was just a couple more feet, until the next summer. Why? Well, see above...everything else sounded more fun. Around Christmas, the new stove was installed and this was when we came up with the new layout. We decided to paint the cabinets and extend the countertop. The dishwasher went in Spring 2012.

Summer 2012 we got word that we might be moving. This didn't get us to move on finishing the odds and ends of projects. Then in the fall, we found out we would definitely be moving. We spent two weekends finishing everything up. We ended up paying someone to put the countertop in. That was the only part we didn't DIY.

The day the countertops were done, we put up some shutters and put a for sale sign in the yard. It sold about a month and a half later. Then, we closed in February 2013. We ended up living in the home for exactly 2 years.  Over that time, there were lots of weekends/weeknights in between doing odds and ends of work like installing outlets, light fixtures and doors. There were also many long weekend trips to the hardware store. And I literally mean long, we lived over an hour from a Lowe's.

Renovating a house had it's ups and downs. It was amazing to see the transformation. The original look had fallen out of my mind until I dug up the old footage I had shot. The downside, if you move into the house in the middle, it feels like you're always living in chaos. I remember one day, Ryan turned to me and said, "you thought this was going to be just like HGTV, didn't you?" Well yes, yes I did. I was quickly proved wrong. It is A LOT of loooong work. Painting, yeah, that takes DAYS. While we're on the topic of HGTV, bathrooms are not done in an afternoon. HGTV LIES!! If you have a guesstimate on how long something will take, double that and add a day. 

The good part, if you DIY you will save money. And if you are savvy, you will buy a house cheap, put a couple thousand into it and make a profit at selling. 

Going through the process with Ryan was easy. We were on the same page 90% of the time. In fact, I was gone one weekend and he picked the paint color for the entire house. I trusted his judgement, so it wasn't a problem. There were times I wanted to throw a hammer at him (I'm sure it was likewise) but in the end I think we were a great team. I'm glad we did do this project together. I think we were both able to learn a lot about each other. To be honest, Ryan bought the house before we were even engaged. We lived together, for the first time, during this renovation. I think this catapulted us into being sure that marriage was the right thing for us. We got married during the second year of the renovation. And as I said previously, I think we make an awesome team. I'm glad I was able to complete this home with him. His dad was also an amazing help. We really could not have done it without all of his expertise. 

So, would I do it again? No. Only because it was literally two years of work. The home we are moving to is move-in ready and we plan to be there for many years. However, I'm not afraid to tackle small projects now, like changing some flooring or adding backsplash. I'm sure that will happen at the new home, I just didn't want to redo an entire house. 
Alright, enough yakking, here's the transformation: