Fixer Upper

Alternate title: The Main Reason for the Blog Silence

I’m not talking about the HGTV show (although I love Chip, Joanna, and shiplap!) but our own home. Most of our thoughts and conversations lately have been revolving around house projects for the last two-ish months. We don’t feel that this is our forever home, but also aren’t ready to move for probably a couple of years. We know that there’s a certain amount of upkeep the home needs, plus we want it in the best shape possible when the time is right to sell. Rather than wait to knock out our to-do list until we’re preparing to move, we decided to tackle it now, so we can enjoy it for a couple of years before the next people do.

All of that means figuring out how to stretch our small budget to get as many projects done as we can. Some of those aren’t as fun but are necessary, like re-doing our roof  and replacing all the windows. We’ve had several contractors and a realtor come through to help us plan to get the best bang for our buck and help us to narrow down the best areas to focus our time and money on.

So! Our major project list:

  • New roof–our shingles had a lot of life in them, but no tar paper underneath. Also included in this project: adding a drip edge so water no longer comes into our house, venting our bathroom, and fixing a broken rafter above our living room… and the spot where the roofer fell through. WHAT. (I’d love a chance to have a little chat with the, um, inexperienced person who did this work 15 years ago). (Hopefully finished today)
  • New deck door–the old one was a French style that swung inside, the screen didn’t slide, and everything around the door was rotted/moldy (see missing drip edge, above). The new one slides open, and has larger windows, so it lets in about 20% more light. (Completed last week)
  • New chandelier above kitchen table–We never were crazy about the previous one, so we replaced it. Smaller project (Joe did it) but big impact. (Completed a month ago maybe? Probably more)
  • Recessed lighting–Our living room, where we spend a lot of time, was very dark and after the kids broke our floor lamp, even darker. We added six recessed lights (on a dimmer switch) and we LOVE the difference it’s made! (Done!)
  • New windows–they’re pretty much all old and need to be replaced. We’ve done the large living room one and while it still needs to be trimmed out (hopefully this weekend!) we’ve been surprised at how much better it makes the house look. (Only the front window is done so far)
  • Painting the house–I really can’t wait for this one! Our realtor pointed out that the house feels totally different when you walk in, because the outside is a boring color and we haven’t spent much time in the way of curb appeal yet. I’ve never cared for the house color, and it will be so much fun to change it.
  • Shutters–either replacing or painting, we haven’t narrowed that down yet.
  • Backyard–the yard slopes toward the house, so we’re going to regrade that and even some other problem areas out, we’ll tear out our deck (it’s been in bad shape since before we moved in) and pour a patio with a fire pit area. It will be a long summer while we’ve got everything torn up and until the grass comes back in, but we’ll survive. (Starting hopefully mid-June)
    tearing out part of the deck

    tearing out part of the deck

  • Opening up the kitchen walls–we opened the space between the kitchen and living room to a half wall (so we don’t have to change the flooring, and we wouldn’t really gain space by doing that) and the stairwell to the basement. It’s not done yet, but it already feels like a different house. (In progress)
    living/kitchen wall: before

    living/kitchen wall: before

    living/kitchen wall: during

    living/kitchen wall: during

    kitchen wall

    kitchen wall

    kitchen walls during (plus chandelier)

    kitchen walls during (plus chandelier)

I think that’s most of them for now… we’re also discussing some updates in the kitchen, but haven’t made official decisions on that yet. I’ve been really surprised at how quickly some of these projects have come together, but it will still be a relief when we’re done. I’ve had to keep the kids out of the house most of the week, and when we come home I’m constantly trying to keep on top of the drywall dust. The girls have been rolling with it pretty well, considering our days have been totally disrupted and most of their toys are put away/under drop cloths. We’ll all be glad when the reno is over and we can really enjoy our space!

5 Responses to "Fixer Upper"

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  1. Margaret

    May 27, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    You are one brave and ambitious couple. Send the girls to Ohio for a week!

  2. Lisa

    May 28, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    When are you guys getting your own HGTV show? 😉 The opened kitchen looks so good- can’t wait to hear final updates on all the projects!

  3. Jacob

    May 29, 2016 at 3:07 am

    Wow dude that looks really good!

  4. Ellen Johnson

    June 29, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I can totally relate! We have mostly exterior projects on our plate this spring and summer. We got a new roof then (eventually) new pavement, and now we’re in the middle of masonry work on our front walk and porches. After that’s done, we can finally paint and our house will finally not look like a piece of crap anymore! It’s been a long, expensive spring and it seems like it will never be done. Life is not like a 30 minute hgtv show. Alas!

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 29, 2016 at 10:40 am

      And your kitchen looks so great! So bright and open and I love the new light fixtures!

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