Well, we did it…we bought the fixer-upper. Uh oh, now what? We’ve never renovated a house before! The closest thing to remodeling I’ve ever done was to p̶a̶i̶n̶t̶ have someone paint my daughter’s room after which I put giant Peel & Stick Princesses on every wall. Oh, and I picked out the furniture too. Yup…that’s pretty much the extent of it. Although I will say that it looked awesome when I was done, it’s nowhere near the scale of what we needed to do now. I will admit, I had some flashbacks of the Tom Hanks movie “The Money Pit” but I quickly put those out of my head!
(If you’ve missed anything along the way, you can find the full series here)
Let me just clarify by saying that while our new house is a fixer-upper, we are definitely not do-it-yourself kind of people. My husband can be pretty handy but his work schedule keeps him so busy that our girls would be in college by the time the house was done. I also think it goes without saying that you won’t see me putting in floors or changing out tiles anytime soon! I don’t even like to change a light bulb, much less paint a room. When I have painted, I always end up finishing the first wall then looking around at the remaining three wondering why I didn’t just hire someone. I had somebody tell me they thought painting was therapeutic. I don’t know about you but I much prefer a spa day with lunch and a glass of wine, not standing on a ladder inhaling paint fumes. However, I do enjoy creating and decorating so I’m excited to plan out this project. We’re going to have a lot of fun taking this place apart and putting it back together just the way we want it! So enough talking about it…here it is:
Where to start? Walking through the house, we made a list of what we definitely needed to change, what could stay the same and then another list of “maybes” depending on the estimates. We knew there was no way we could live with the outdated kitchen and bathrooms so those were definitely on the wrecking ball list. Kitchens are always the gathering place for any party (that’s where the food and booze can be found) so we knew we wanted to completely rip it out and start from scratch.
Originally we had decided to leave the floors alone. While they wouldn’t have been our first choice, there was nothing really wrong with them and we were trying to be budget conscious. While I wasn’t crazy about the actual tile, I also didn’t like that the main rooms had a different tile from the front entry and dining room. I’m a Virgo so I like things to just right and match perfectly. However, we ultimately decided that we could live with it and change it down the road if we wanted too.
Well, you know how something expensive always breaks a week after the warranty runs out? Of course, right around the time we were closing on the house, the flooring in the living room buckled and was deemed irreparable…add that to the list now. While we still planned to keep the tile in the front part of the house, we would now replace it in all the other rooms. Secretly, I have to admit I was pretty happy about it because I really did want new floors (but I swear I did NOT secretly sneak in and do it just to get my wish…the kids definitely would have tattled on me).
Looking over our list, we had no idea of how much all of this would cost us. We weren’t even sure who to hire so we decided to start with one of the large home improvement chains. I explained what we wanted, they sent their guys out to measure and two weeks later, we got our estimate. And then I picked myself up off the floor!!! I’ve had sticker shock before but I felt like I’d just been hit with a defibrillator! This estimate was just for the kitchen, bathrooms and flooring and it was more than twice what we had budgeted for the entire project. We still had painting, landscaping, and so MUCH more to take care of…back to square one!
In the meantime, the owner of the landscaping company had told me about a contractor that came highly recommended so we decided to give him a try. Although his estimate was still WAY more than we originally thought we’d spend, it was reasonable considering that he was going to do EVERYTHING (except landscaping) for the almost same price that the big store was going to charge for just the floors, bathrooms & kitchen.
I kind of compare it to when I was pregnant and a friend was telling me how expensive kids are. I remember to this day saying “Well, how expensive can kids really be once you don’t need the diapers and formula anymore?” To this day, it’s one of the biggest boneheaded things to ever come out of my mouth (and trust me, I’ve said a lot of boneheaded things)!
We came to learn, as we had been warned, that you can NEVER estimate what a remodel will cost…it’s always going to be much, MUCH more (no more shoe shopping for awhile). However, by now we had gotten over the sticker shock so we signed on the dotted line and made it official. Now we were really ready to get started!