Tag Archives: Remodel

10 Years of Home Ownership

Yesterday, May 18, 2017 marks 10 years since this day:


Hooray! We just bought an ugly kitchen. Closing day 2007.

Ten years since we excitedly closed on the ugliest house on the nicest block. We were 28 years old, childless, poor and probably had no right to pay so much for a house that needed so much. But as you can see from above, we were happy, clueless and ready to roll.

In less than one month, this house will belong to someone else.

Next month we are moving to a new house, about 20 minutes away from this one, but miles closer to where we want to be long-term. A big yard, a much larger house, an award-winning school district.

Because these last 10 years? We’ve grown two human beings. We’ve lost and gained new jobs. We’ve grown up.


Easter 2013


We’ve had happy times and sad times. We’ve taught two kids to ride bikes, to eat their veggies, to look both ways before crossing the street. We brought home a playful, adorable puppy, who has grown into a slower, chubbier, older, but still so happy and lovable dog. Basically, every single thing that’s happened in the last 10 years has happened in this house.

And now it’s going to belong to someone else. And that’s really hard.

But sometimes the hardest things are the things most worth doing. We’ve worked and saved and sacrificed to purchase a home for our family that is what we’ve always wanted. Finally, a two-story house so we can watch TV as loud as we want while the kids are in bed. A huge yard, with a beautiful pond where I envision us sitting on the deck watching herons and ducks and frogs visiting. Our kids are smart – scary smart – and we want them to have all the opportunities in the world to become what they’re going to be, and we are hopeful that this school district, and this community, will help them get there.

So this is the right decision for us.

But it’s still really hard to let go of this house that we put back together after years of neglect, that we know like the back of our hands, that feels like home.

I’ve written about our home remodeling projects dozens of times on this blog. Check out our progress over the last decade here, here, here, here and here.

And wish us luck on this new chapter. Because, you know we weren’t about to buy a move-in ready house. That’s just not in our DIY blood. So stay tuned as I hope to chronicle this new chapter of us remodeling our forever house.


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The Kitchen is Done, Dude!

Finally! I present to you, our finished kitchen. Cue the trumpets!



Let me remind you what we were dealing with:


And this:


Which is now this!


Opening up the wall between our kitchen and living room has made me happier than a hole in the wall should make anyone. I can see the kids when they’re playing in the living room. I can spy on them and know who stole what from whom and why. I can see people walking their dogs past our house while I’m making dinner. If someone didn’t pick up their dog’s poop, I could be over to the front door to yell at them in a flash. These are real benefits, people!

Check out the new fridge that I MAY have shed a tear or two whilst shopping for. Apparently when your fridge opening is 1 inch smaller than standard fridge size, the powers that be make you have a nervous breakdown until you find ONE fridge in the entire universe that will fit. ONE.


It’s been a few weeks since we completed the kitchen and some days I still can’t believe it’s ours. We’ve lived in this house for seven years, but this is actually the second kitchen remodel we did. When we moved in, we didn’t have the money to do a full remodel like we wanted to, so we just installed stock cabinets (which we actually kept for this remodel) and laminate counters and sticky tile floors. Remember?

Why yes, those cabinets are made of wood paneling. Thanks for asking.

Why yes, those cabinets are made of wood paneling. Thanks for asking.

It looked like a dungeon, with lots of wasted space. And now it’s just a distant memory.


I’m so in love with our back splash and the little shelf to hold my plants above the sink.

Read the earlier kitchen updates here and here.

Just about everything in this kitchen is from Hobo. The cabinets were purchased there 7 years ago, but we bought the large pantry and a few more base cabinets that worked with our new configuration. We were so lucky they still had the same cabinets available! The backsplash – Hobo. And expensive, but worth it, IMO. The counters are quartz and again, from Hobo. They were also expensive, but still cheaper professionally installed by Hobo than Home Depot, Lowe’s or Menards.

All the work was done by my husband. And no, you can’t have him. He’s all MINE!


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Kitchen Remodel – Phase 2

About a month ago, I shared the state of our kitchen remodel.

Work has been progressing nicely, thank you very much. Here’s an update:

IMG_8294The pass-through is framed out and awaiting paint…

IMG_8327Color has been slathered on the walls. Some of it by a 5 year-old. Free labor!

There have been a lot of little touches – electrical work, re-routing heating vents, unattaching the counters from the cabinets, taking down all the wood trim. And this weekend, we’re embarking on the mother of all projects – the floor.

We are pulling up the sticky tiles seen above that we put down hastily 7 years ago and replacing them with pretty ceramic tile. We’re going to use the same tile all the way down the hallway, so that equals a big project.

The kids will be staying with Grandma and Grandpa while Derek and I live like 2007 and work like dogs on our house without a care in the world pertaining to little human beings that share our DNA.

Call me crazy, but I think it might actually be kinda fun.



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Our Kitchen Remodel – Phase 1

If you’ve read this blog before, you may remember that we have been remodeling our 60-year old house for the entire (almost) 7 years we’ve lived here. You can read other remodeling stories and reveals here, here and here.

One of the projects I’ve been dreading is what we’re undertaking right now – the kitchen. Kitchens are kinda necessary. Especially when you’ve got kids. So we are doing this kitchen remodel in phases to minimize the impact on all of us. We need appliances, obvi.

When we bought our house, the kitchen was a mess. It needed a total gut. Much like the rest of the house:

Why yes, those cabinets are made of wood paneling. Thanks for asking.

Why yes, those cabinets are made of wood paneling. Thanks for asking.

Since we had to remodel every single room in our house, we did a quickie kitchen remodel. We replaced the cabinets and counters, the flooring and backsplash. We re-painted, got a new sink, and that’s about it. Got a super old stove from my in-laws and of course installed a dishwasher. We went the cheap route, knowing that in the near future we’d do the kitchen remodel we wanted.


Hooray! We just bought an ugly kitchen. Closing day 2007.

Hooray! We just bought an ugly kitchen. Closing day 2007.

So for the last 7 years, this is what our kitchen has looked like. Not bad. Not great. Not an ideal layout.



So that’s why we decided to do this:




We opened up the wall between the kitchen and the living room. Open concept, baby! Well, mostly. It’s going to be more of a pass-thru.



We had to build some soffiting (when I say we, I mean my husband). That bare drywall used to be a window, but we wanted a place for a stove/hood/microwave, so this was the logical place for us to create our kitchen “triangle.” The window had to go, but the extra light from ripping out the wall leading to the living room makes up for it.

So this is the state of our kitchen right now. There’s a laundry basket waiting to be taken downstairs and there are dishes on the counter. This is real life and this is us living through yet another remodeling project. Good thing we’re used to it. And stay tuned.

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The Completed Basement – Finally Revealed!

After several years of work, it’s done. It’s actually done! I present to you, our basement:

The Media Room.

The Media Room.

Big Ass TV.

Big Ass TV.

Door to the yet-to-be-finished music room.

Door to the yet-to-be-finished music room.

Uncompleted stairwell.

Uncompleted stairwell.

Bar. Made from an old piano left in the basement when we bought the house.

Bar. Made from an old piano left in the basement when we bought the house.

Piano top flips up for easy access to beer.

Piano top flips up for easy access to beer.

Derek's office. Where the magic happens.

Derek’s office. Where the magic happens.

Play area. Doors to office, storage and bathroom.

Play area. Doors to office, storage and bathroom.

Door to laundry room.

Door to laundry room.


Cute laundry room.

Cute laundry room.

We finished it about a month ago and it’s been so great. I can’t even describe it. Having a ranch-style house, just having another floor to hang out on is priceless. The kids are downstairs and the house is quiet when I get home from work. I can hang up my coat and look at the mail in peace! It’s the little things that make me happy.

We have had the chance to watch movies on that huge 55″ TV and that’s great too. I’ve always loved our house, but I love it so much more now. We’ve been here almost 6 years and I love it more than on the first day we met. And why wouldn’t I? Just to remind you, this is what our living room looked like shortly after we closed on the house. After we ripped off the wood paneling, cut off the overlapped layers of wallpaper, and removed the drop ceiling AND the wallpaper on the ceiling.



So I think it’s safe to say we’ve been good to this house. But it’s been good to us too. To another six happy years.









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It’s Getting Closer!

I’ve talked about it many times before, but our basement is almost finished! An office, bathroom, storage room, laundry room, TV room, bar and playroom. Phew. I’m tired just typing that. Imagine how tired I’d be if I had actually helped with the construction. But nope, that was the husband’s department.

Here’s what it looks like now:


The orange room is the TV room. To the left you can see the pretty laundry room.basement2

Through the doorway is Derek’s office. To the far left is the bar. The rest of the space is the play area. We have epic amounts of toys. I can’t wait until they are no longer in my living room.basement3


A little farther back, showing the stairway and a ooh look, a ceiling.

So some flooring, trim and baseboards and stick a fork in it – it’s done. I can hardly stand it. This has been years in the making!

The next time I write about the basement, I will do a full reveal of a decorated, fully furnished basement. WOOHOO!

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Christmas Break Recap

Remember our lofty goals? Finish the basement that we started literally four years ago (hey – it takes a long time to build a bathroom when you have to saw through the concrete floor, plus a TV room, storage room, office, bar and playroom.)

Well, with 9 days off from work, we figured we could finish the drywalling, mudding, painting, and install the floor and ceiling. Oh yeah and buy the floor and ceiling, too. Not to mention the 4 days of Christmas celebrations we had during that time.

So this is what we had to start from last weekend:


IMG_5774And here’s how we ended up:

IMG_5992It’s completely done!!! Just kidding.

This is Derek’s office. It was a big space of nothingness a few weeks ago. Today it’s completely done – floor, ceiling, heat vent, even a stocked bookshelf!

That is the only room that’s been completed, though.

But wait, here’s why:

  • All four of us got colds. Bad colds. As in, I missed one of our family Christmas gatherings because of it. And ended up going to Urgent Care to make sure I didn’t have strep throat. I didn’t. Stupid virus. 
  • Even Lola wasn’t feeling the best. She’s got a sore on her paw and would be happy to sit and lick it all day long, which doesn’t help it heal. So we’ve been watching her pretty much 24/7 and saying “leave it!” until our throats are sore. It actually looks like it’s starting to heal, though. Woohoo.
  • Charlotte has decided that sleep is lame. She was doing so well sleeping in her crib in her room, but not anymore. She prefers to be asleep in our arms or at the very least in the Rock n’ Play next to our bed.
  • One of the reasons we think her sleep has been tanking is because she got her first tooth! We noticed it on Christmas morning. So why isn’t she sleeping now? Why why why?

So needless to say, we had our hands full with life. And the basement went to the backburner. But we did accomplish some stuff. Check it out!



Um, yes that’s a lot of crap over in our TV room, but we had to move everything to finish the office. But look, the walls are all painted! Ooooh!IMG_5995All the drywall work in the basement is completed! And taped! So we just need two coats of mud and paint and the walls are completely done! That portion of exposed insulation that you can see inset on the left is our bar area. You can see the frame for the actual bar, which will have a long, hinged bar top. We’re going to do some cool wood paneling (never thought I’d describe wood paneling as cool…), so that’s why it’s not drywalled.

We purchased the floor and ceiling for the entire basement (my wallet is still crying about that one), so all we need to do is install it. That’s it, people. Seriously.

IMG_5997Here’s the view when you come down the basement steps. That’s a huge closet that is soon to hold oodles of children’s toys. Therefore, our living room will no longer have to hold oodles of children’s toys! Nice!


So, no, it’s not as complete as we had hoped, but this is a HUGE project and we’re so happy that the end is in sight. I can see it!





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