From Bad to Better: DIY Renovations at Home!

Do-it-yourself home renovations can be daunting, time-consuming, and downright frustrating at times. This is especially true for first-time home owners with big dreams and small budgets. When Roger and I moved into our current house last July we felt entirely overwhelmed with lofty ideas and unbridled excitement. As our to-do list grew longer, we became increasingly aware of how much time, effort, and money would need to be invested into making our house the home we envisioned. We quickly found that the only way to tackle the list was to set our priorities and take it one task at a time. If one task had to be spread out over several months, so be it. Progress was slow at first, but that was to be expected. It's now April and it feels SO good to stand back and admire our work and revel in the knowledge that we did it ourselves. Here's a couple of the BIG things we've accomplished:
Project # 1: Built a deck from the ground up. We checked this off our list last summer, thanks to my Dad and Roger's dad's building/design genius, and Roger's mom's help with staining.) It's wonderful and better than we expected. This was the old yucky deck:
Old yucky deck Tundra was less than thrilled at the half-way mark.
Tunders in the deck
The finished product:
The deck is finished
Project #2: Redeemed kitchen from abominable ugliness. This renovation almost calls for a post in itself, which I may include later. I'll just say we executed a kitchen 360 makeover by adding a mosaic tile backsplash and swapping the murky green paint for a more suitable beige. Project #3: Succeeded in Operation Hardwood Floor. I have trouble breathing at times due to dust and dander, so the next thing to go was the old carpets in the house. We had them professionally cleaned before we moved in, but apparently not enough to foster healthy lung functioning. I had to take breaks from TV-watching to catch my breath outside! Luckily my family is in the lumber business, so we got a great deal on red oak flooring. This has been my favourite learning experience so far - the most challenging and rewarding task! Roger and I were in it for the long haul when we took decided to turn our main living space from drab to fab by ourselves and on a budget. When we moved into the home, the family room was atrocious. I apologize to the previous owners of the house, but you really dropped the decor ball when you tried to complement light yellow and burnt orange with rose pink and murky green. (The adjacent kitchen was green when we first moved in.)
Old family room
The two first things we did was paint the walls a neutral colour and acquire help from my brothers' friends to rip up the carpet. We're not in love with the fireplace, but we do have future plans to refinish it with slate and take it to the ceiling. A built-in shelving unit with a flat screen TV is also in the works.

Plywood Floor

Here's my mom watching from the sidelines as Roger and my dad install the flooring (LOL):

Roger and Dad

Four hours later and we had a floor!

New floor

We opted for a darker stain to bring out the knots in the wood.

Finished floor

Roger left on business shortly thereafter and to both his and my surprise, I mustered up enough Girl Power to sand and varnish it BY MYSELF! It was a defining life moment and I don't know who's more proud--me, my dad, or Roger. Just when they thought I didn't have it in me... It definitely gave me the confidence boost to tackle harder jobs.


Et voilà!

We can now enjoy spending time in our renovated family room. It's like a breath of fresh air--literally!

Family room revamp

Some finishing touches are required to get the space entirely to our liking, but I'm very happy with the progress so far. We are learning to accept that our visualized plans and the actualizations of those plans may not be the same. Not yet anyways. The key is to make do with what you have and have fun with what you do. Can't wait to share what we get up to next! 🙂