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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What we learned from fixing up our home!

Wooo weee buying a fixer upper when you have lived in nothing but apartments, dorms, {and your parents house} comes with quite the learning curve.  Tall Tan Man and I have learned more than we probably wanted to!  Painted every surface of our house {staining the floor counts in my book}, tiled, caulked, fought, laughed, sanded, created a baby, and made some unforgettable memories.  These are some of the things that we have learned along the way...

1.  Understand that you will go to Home Depot 3 times in one day.  And you probably won't like it.

2.  Don't just buy things because you will need them at some point {unless they are on sale}.  One thing I learned from a Home Depot worker is that most of the items in their ads are not on sale but their normal prices.  In the beginning I would go to Home Depot for more paint and end up buying a light fixture or a toilet because we would eventually need them.  Then we would have a toilet in our front room for months...and months... Buy things when you need them.

3.  Getting rid of cabinets, paneling, and bath tubs can be expensive.  Since it took over 2 years to complete our remodel, buying a roll off dumpster wasn't feasible.  Habitat Restore will take your old stuff!  For free!!  We also took advantage of industrial size trash bags, our trash guys are the best!  Waste Management sells a Bagster {at Home Depot} which only cost $150 for the bag and removal.  It was pretty remarkable all that you can fit in one of those bags!

4.  Make a budget, then increase it by 30% and that will be a more accurate budget.  This is assuming you don't have any crazy unexpected costs and have some clue about remodeling costs

5.  Remodeling older houses isn't as simple as you would think...  Our home was built in 1962 which makes everything 55 years old...  We wanted new door handles, easy fix right?   Well, the ones at Home Depot wouldn't fit our doors.  It was either; buy new doors or spray paint the current handles.  I chose the latter.  The electrical system in our house was a little bit of a mess which made it harder to update lights and outlets.  We were lucky on our windows because the previous owner replaced all but two of them.  I know, what were they thinking, why not all!?  For a house of our size, new windows can cost anywhere from $11,000 - $30,000.  Which is nuts!

6.  Think about hiring a few projects out.  Living in a house that is being remodeled is tough.  In the beginning we would look around and all we could see were projects.  If you can afford it, consider hiring people to help.  I think this would of helped us not get burned out and maybe finish quicker than 2.5 years...

7.  Shop the clearance sections of Home Depot and Lowes EVERY time you go.   I know that I said not to buy things until you need them but this can save you mega bucks!  We purchased our bathroom vanity at 60% off.  Bath tub at 30% off.  Kitchen sink 10% off and kitchen faucet at 70% off!!!  The light we have in our hall bathroom actually rang up for $.01.  I'm not kidding.

8.  You are capable of doing almost all home projects on your own {but don't forget about number 6} Extend your sprinkler system, yep.  Install a vent hood, yep.  Move the gas line for the stove, done.  Move the water in a shower, yep{thank you shark bite!!!}.  Tall Tan Man is my hero!

9.  Before you start working on your house, think about the layout.  I assumed we would keep certain rooms the same.  For example, our kitchen table is in the sun room.  I regret not moving it into our front room so: A. Our front room has purpose and B. The kitchen table isn't sitting on carpet {I'm looking at you Mack} and finally C. Our sun room could have more comfortable seating.

10.  Your house will not look perfect.  I remember when we first started and the projects were not coming out magazine perfect, especially up close.  I think I had this expectation that things could look brand new and that just wasn't going to happen.  I think if you take everything down to the studs or hire the perfect contractor then it could, but that wasn't the way we wanted to do things.

11.  Know that projects take time.  I know you have seen Chip and Jo flip a kitchen in what seems like a week but that is not going to happen. I don't even know if that would happen if you hired it all out.  I'm talking months.  You have to be okay with cooking with only a Crockpot or the stove.  Or... you could be like me, and become the take-out Queen! Haha.

Okay, that is all I can think of!  Please ask me any questions you have!  Tall Tan Man and I both agree that we wouldn't take on this big of a fixer upper again unless we had a lot more help.  I think a home built in the last 20 years might be more enjoyable for us.  The good thing about doing everything yourself is that you learn what projects you like and what you don't.  I don't think Tall Tan Man will ever replace all of the switches and outlets again, and he definitely won't grout and finish tile again unless he has to.  I would just prefer not to caulk and paint baseboards 36 weeks pregnant.  :)


Linking up with:

Tuesday: Turn it up TuesdayTutorial & Tips Link PartyTwinkly TuesdayTuesday with a TwistInspire Me TuesdayTalk of the TownCreative Muster PartyWow us Wednesday, Winter Blues Wednesday 


  1. My husband and I have been toying with the idea of flipping a house and seeing what happens but the thought of Home Depot 3 times a day may be too much for this girl!

    There has to be a satisfaction about it all though when you're done, right?


  2. Our last house was a fixer upper and I hear ya loud and clear. We inherited with ours a plumbing fiasco. I laughed when you thanked shark bites because those are a Godsend definitely! :) We know when we decide to buy again,(hopefully a newer house) plumbing is something we don't want to deal with. Thank you for sharing at Link It Up Wednesday!

  3. Great tips! Fixing up a home is a lot of work, but so worth it in the end!

  4. I agree with ALL of this! Thanks for sharing at To Grandma's House We Go link party xx

  5. Fixer-uppers are a lot of work! What a nice project to bring everyone together & be proud of!

    Thanks for sharing

  6. We bought our house as a for closure and have turned it straight around- still dont know if we will sell but at least we have the equity.


  7. Sounds like a great experience. Great tips.
    Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday!


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