Monday, September 19, 2016

A 6 Month Check In + House Progress

September marks 6 months in the new house. In many ways it feels like we’ve lived here forever…we’ve settled into a nice routine and the house is basically liveable…but the construction tools in every nook and cranny and the constant layer of demo dust somewhere in some room, reminds me that we’re still not there. We’re close. But no cigar.

I feel like it’s taken us every last bit of these last 6 months to be at a place where I can finally say that the end is near…or at least for Phase 1 it is. In all honesty…there are times when I feel like we’ve come so far but then I see what other bloggers are doing in the same time frame and I get so discouraged that we haven’t accomplished a whole lot more. The comparison game is no joke.

Instead of letting it get me down, I have to remember that we both work full time outside the home and house related projects are essentially non-existent during the week. It’s hard enough to get dinner on the table (or ordered) at a decent hour with softball season in full swing around here while trying to maintain a respectful noise level in the evening so as not to upset all our neighbors. Throw in an exhausted pregnant lady (me) and you can bet that I’m either in bed or have fallen asleep on the couch by 8 pm. So over the last 6 months, we’ve been weekend warriors - just tackling what we can, when we can - and while 6 months is a long time to get a whole lot done, we’re moving a little slower over here and I’m OK with that.

I realize now that I didn’t really blog about what our initial thoughts and plans were for this first phase of our renovation journey, other than posting this monster long to-do list, but I think a lot of that had to do with just being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff we wanted to do, what we envisioned for this house, our time / budget constraints, and not knowing where to start or what to do first.

Today I thought it would be fun to look back on the last 6 months and recap what we started and where we are today, but first…a little bit about our Phase 1 wish list and how much money we had to work with.

After the sale of our house we were left with a small amount of money (about 15k) to put towards the renovations and immediately had to decide what was most important to us and how to stretch the money we had as far as it would go. We knew that we wanted to upgrade the kitchen and both bathrooms but felt that we could do a lot of “whole-house updates” with the money we had rather than pouring that money into a single room...because we all know how quickly 15k can go in a kitchen renovation. We figured that the kitchen and bathrooms would benefit from some easy to-do aesthetic changes and could hold off for a full scale reno, down the line.

In the end, we decided to spend our money by…

Removing all the tile / old carpeting in the whole house: 


And replacing it with new laminate flooring (about 1500 sq ft in total): 


We replaced both toilets with these Kohler beauties (because other people’s butts = gross):


We painted / are in the process of painting the entire house (walls, trim, moldings, doors, etc.):



We closed off a doorway for better flow and visual sight lines in the living room:


And widened our master bedroom entry while we were at it:


We added interest to all our plain/boring flat paneled doors with decorative molding:



We installed new oil rubbed bronze hardware throughout:



And beefed up all the trim and baseboards (still to come) throughout the house:


We created a faux cased opening:


Gave the entry way a much needed update with lots of added interest (more on this soon):


Added a new entry way light fixture:


The front door hardware got upgraded too and the inside got a molding treatment of its own:



Replaced an outdated ceiling fan:


And treated ourselves to a life-changing robot vacuum:



In boring news, we upgraded the thermostat and our main electrical panel after a fire hazard was noted on our home inspection report:



And the biggest expense of them all…these bad boys (3 sets of sliding doors) were replaced just this past weekend due to the foggy glass you see in the picture below:



So what didn’t get accomplished / won’t get accomplished during this phase of renovations that we had hoped would get accomplished?

1.      Reconfigure / expand the master bedroom closet

2.      Add semi-custom wall of built-ins in the living room

Why? Simply put…we ran out of / are running out of money. Aside from the ceiling fan and the robot vacuum, everything else mentioned above, including the master bedroom closet reconfig and built-ins were in the initial plan and budgeted for. What we didn’t know, and/or realize going in was how much replacing those window were going to cost. Not having ever replaced windows before, after some preliminary Internet research and some rough estimates, we budgeted almost half our budget. In the end, the quote came back several thousands higher than we anticipated mainly due to some additional work that was discovered and had to be done during install because the previous set of window were installed incorrectly. How they passed inspection the first time around is beyond me. What a crappy way to spend a bunch of money! But in renovations, these kind of set-backs are par for the course. To course correct, we took a step back and re-evaluated our list half way through and cut the above 2 line items out of the itinerary to get us back on track financially.

Going forward, we’ll modify our plans for the custom built-ins and will most likely go the pre-fab/DIY route to achieve our end goal down the road but it’ll be on a much smaller budget. As for the closet…I’m waffling back and forth on what I want to do / what can be done so it’s probably good we didn’t go full steam ahead with the initial plans anyways until there's a solid plan in place.

All in all, I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot, albeit at a much slower pace. I do want to mention that everything we’ve done up to this point has been paid for by us and done by us (plus help from my Dad too – hey Pops!). Some bloggers are fortunate enough to work with great brands and have formed amazing partnerships to afford them some really awesome perks, kickbacks, products, etc…but this little blog hasn’t reached that status, nor do I know how to go about soliciting such awesome incentives. Plus it’s important to me that you all know that I’m trying to be as honest and transparent about how we’re doing things around here both physically and financially.

Anyways! That brings you up to speed with everything we've managed to accomplish over the last 6 months we've lived in the new house. I have a lot of post coming for a lot of the projects you saw above for the first time so be on the lookout for those! First up tomorrow...the long awaited entry reveal!