Posted on | January 19, 2013 | 6 Comments
I remember the months leading up to moving into our new home. I would curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, my favorite throw, and my TV set habitually to HGTV. As homes for sale would parade across the screen, I would look at Taylor and moan, “What are they THINKING?! Why didn’t they fix that before they put that house on the market?!” or “Holy shit, how do those people live with that bathroom. GAG!” On my self-righteous seat, it appeared to me as though some of these home owners were lazy, complacent, or just had incredibly poor taste.
Y’all, karma is quite the bitch.
We purchased our home knowing it needed work. I lovingly caressed the outdated lanoleum countertop and begged Taylor, “Please, this is it. I feel it. It’s been on the market for a year. It was waiting for us.” He smiled at me and nodded, and the home was ours. But little did we realize just how much work was in store.
From December to now, we have:
1) Ripped out every inch of carpet and installed bamboo floors wall-to-wall. Ourselves.
2) Repainted six out of nine rooms, the hallway, and the foyer. Ourselves.
3) Replaced outlets and light switches in half the house to get rid of the dingy ones. You guessed it. Ourselves.
4) Replaced every kitchen appliance. I’ll make it easy for you, the answer for the rest of these updates is “ourselves.”
5) Installed new countertops in the kitchen.
6) Installed new lighting in the kitchen, to include recessed lighting.
7) Installed new backsplash in the kitchen.
8) Fixed transitions in the bonus room.
9) Replaced and painted the front door.
10) Put up a new fan in our room and the bonus room.
11) Painted built-ins in the dining room.
12) Replaced lighting in the dining room.
13) Added quarter round to the front half of the house.
14) Replaced the HVAC system outside (and are in the process of repairing lines and whatever else is ruined under the house..not ourselves).
15) Put up window treatments in two bedrooms.
16) Replaced the shower curtain rod in guest bathroom.
17) Replaced septic tank pump. (yeah, not ourselves…thank God)
18) Installed a security system. (again…not ourselves)
19) Painted trim in half the house.
20) Repainted two side tables, a dining room table and chairs, a mirror, a guest room bed, and a side board.
21) Replaced all hardware in the kitchen.
22) Painted all kitchen cabinets.
23) Recovered dining room chairs.
24) Purchased a section, a large rug, a cowhide rug, a crushed velvet sofa, a mirrored coffee table, two vintage chairs, several lamps, an island for the kitchen, two poufs, and a foot table in addition to knick knacks and necessities like kitchen decorations and a shower curtain.
25) Replaced the front door lock with an expensive cipher lock.
And yet, we look around the house and occasionally feel overwhelmed with what still needs to be done. In you’re interested in the before and after, you can check here. With some creative photography, our home looks great. Sure, it’s a little sparse still, but it’s impossible to see everything else that needs doing. Like a new roof. Or the little cracks and crevices that we still need to patch.
Like quarter round that still needs putting down.
Or a bedroom wall that is the color of boring.
Or a bathroom that was left in 1968.
Or transitions that still need to be fixed, and a poorly done, DIY, master bathroom.
Or lighting that really should have stayed in the 80s.
Or paint that needs scraping.
Or a sideboard that needs replacing with a REAL entertainment center than can hide wires.
Basically, we have to add a roof, paint several more rooms, finish replacing light switches and outlets, add crown molding throughout, gut at least one bathroom, add window treatments to the vast majority of rooms, do something (ANYTHING!) with the yard that is in desperate need of landscaping, paint more doors, add more quarter round, change more light fixtures, replace shutters, etc. etc. etc. We are at the point where we have to take a break because we, simply, can’t afford to continue at this rate. Home ownership is crazy-expensive, and we’re straight out of “fun, fixer” money now.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And it’s easy to feel resentful when I read blogs of DIY-ers who have a seemingly perfect home and who happily tackle every task with nary a rolled eye. It’s easy to burn out. It’s easy to feel done and in over our heads and annoyed that we didn’t go with the cookie cutter a few miles away that wouldn’t have needed anything more than our own choice of paint colors.
BUT, we have done so much. This is our first home in the almost five years we’ve been married, and man, did we take on a challenge. With a husband working 70+ hours a week and two tiny babes who take up a vast majority of my time, I’m not sure how else we could have done more. We’re working on enjoying what we have and being happy with our progress while still recognizing that we don’t want to be stagnant.
Sometimes, I ask myself if I would do this all over again. The truth is, I have no idea. If I’d known the money and effort that we would put into this house to make it a home, I might would spend a little extra time looking. I might would consider a slightly pricier home to avoid some of the heart ache.
But then, I think about those nights we spent before we moved it…where we would eat subway while sitting on our new countertops with a glass of cheap wine before crashing on sectional cushions and falling asleep to the sound of frogs singing in the lake behind our first home, and I realize, we have put so much love into this home. So much love and energy and hope and dreams. And how could I ever regret that? I feel certain that when the time comes to sell it, someone else will find this house filled to the brim with love and positive energy, and they will fall for it the same way we did.