The Best Things We’ve Done to our House

Today is the 5th anniversary of owning our house. I get all reflective and sentimental on this day, I guess. It was such a huge thing. Twenty-eight years old, married for three years and homeowners. To say we were thrilled with our latest endeavor was an understatement. 

This house was definitely no Shangri La. Believe it or not, we were the thrilled new owners of this lovely abode:

We have spent the last 5 years turning that crap shack into something fantastic. Yes, it’s still an old house (built in 1950), and there are still things we’d love to and need to change, but we’re proud of what we’ve done over these 5 years. We’ve truly done so many updates (almost all of them ourselves) that I can’t even name them all.

So here I’m compiling my list of the best things we’ve done to update our house. I’m not saying this is what has increased the value of our house most, made it most energy efficient or made it look the nicest. This is my list (in no particular order) of things that have vastly improved our lives in this house. Here’s to the amazingness we’ll endure over the next 5 years!

1. Updating our main bathroom.

I have sung the praises of our bathroom model already. From the new low-flow toilet, to the whirlpool tub and beautiful tile work. This is one room we use constantly (duh!) and there is not a day that goes by that we don’t appreciate its awesomeness.

Before:

After:

2. New windows.

Yes, it cost a lot of money, even though we did the install ourselves. But this is one check I have never regret writing. We previously had the original 1950 windows in this house. That’s 60 years of wear and tear on windows that were probably crappy to begin with. By the time we bought our house, just about every window, if it opened at all, had to be propped open with a DVD case or paper towel roll.

We put in a new picture window on a super cold April day, which involved sawing through the front of our house, but still, it was worth it.

3. Abolishing squeaky floors FOREVER!

This may sound minor when we’re talking about the major things that needed repair in this house, but the floors, especially the floor of our bedroom, squeaked to epic proportions. Seriously, I have never heard floors so squeaky in my life. To the point where you could be standing perfectly still and take a deep breath and the floor would squeak. And when your husband, who plays in a band, comes home at 3 a.m. while you’re sleeping, NOT COOL.

So finally. FINALLY. Just this past winter, the floors were banished from our home. Actually, the carpet was ripped up, the subfloor was screwed to the floor joists (with 100 screws!) and laminate flooring was installed over them.

Before:

After:

4. The fenced-in yard.

For the most part, our neighbors are fine and dandy, but really, do they need to be all up in our business? Do we want to be all up in theirs? Nope. Pair that sentiment with a dog and the only logical answer is a fence. A beautifully solid 6-foot high fence.

See how we could just connect our fence with the neighbors fence? Score! And see that happy pup’s face? Double score!

5. Central air conditioning/converting to natural gas furnace.

Did you know that back in the day, people had giant tanks of oil in their basements that were attached to their furnace and heated the house? That you had to have a giant tank truck of oil back up to your house and hook itself up to a spigot on the side of your house? Yeah, we didn’t either! Until we bought this house.

I think the furnace itself was from sometime in the 1980s, but it was not able to be converted to natural gas. After we both had the flu, during a freezing cold snap in February, and we ran out of heating fuel, we knew we had to save up every penny and convert this old system to a modern, energy efficient natural gas furnace.

So we did. And it’s been wonderful. We don’t smell gas when the furnace kicks in anymore. We don’t have to keep our eye on the gauge on the giant tank in the basement to make sure we have enough oil to heat the house, hell, we don’t even have a giant tank in the basement anymore. Welcome to the modern world!

When we converted our furnace, we decided to really grab the bull by the horns, party like rockstars and all of that and ….get central air! Call us spoiled, but we refused to live without central air. Derek grew up without it and knows the agony of humid Wisconsin summer with no air conditioning, and I was a spoiled suburban kid whose parents lovingly installed central air in every house I’ve ever lived in. It needed to be done.

When it’s 95 degrees outside and 100% humidity, you may get me to admit that central air conditioning is my favorite invention of all time. True story.

So happy anniversary, little house. We’ve got more big plans for you, so don’t get too comfortable. There will be a full kitchen remodel, a fully furnished basement, and a new driveway in your future. And maybe when all this hard, expensive grunt work is finally finished, we can spend our time doing fun stuff – landscaping! a deck! a pool???

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One response to “The Best Things We’ve Done to our House

  1. Pingback: 10 Years of Home Ownership | AWholeNotherStory

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