Why You Should Renovate Your Bathroom


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It’s most likely the first room you head towards when you wake up and potentially the last room you leave before going to bed at night. It’s the bathroom.

With the Holidays upon us and New Year’s resolutions right around the corner it’s the perfect time to think about sprucing up your home with some remodeling projects and what better place to start than your bathroom?

Why should you renovate your bathroom?

Several reasons.

  1. It should be a sanctuary. Whether it’s a steamy shower on a cold winter day or a relaxing bath, everyone deserves to have a bathroom they can consider a spa or a retreat. That’s hard to do if it’s outdated and not functional.
  2. It’s a fairly small space to tackle. The average bathroom is typically one of the smaller rooms in the home. This makes a major remodel a little more realistic.
  3. It increases the resale value of your home. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck bathrooms and kitchens are going to be your best bet as a renovation investment. Updating these two rooms will help increase equity. What’s not to love about that?

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to take on the bathroom renovation then you need to come up with a bathroom design plan.

Think about your bathroom lighting, fixtures, and furnishings.

Dream big. There is nothing stopping you at this point from having fun with your design. Once you’ve got an idea of all the things you want for your bathroom design then you can narrow it down to a more concrete plan. This is the part where you can decide what really works for you and the specific space that you have to work with.

You’ll need to figure out how much you want to change, how much you can spend, and what you can realistically do on your own according to your skill set.

As someone who has remodeled multiple bathrooms watched my husband do multiple bathroom remodels I wish we would have known about PlumbTile.com sooner. This is the place to get all of those must have dream items on your bathroom wish list.

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Not only do they have a huge selection, but shipping is FREE, there is no sales tax (outside of California), and they have guaranteed price matching.

I got really excited about this website and so did J once I showed it to him. Seriously, you need to go check it out!

I am really looking forward to our next bathroom remodel now and I think you’ll feel the same way after you see all that PlumbTile has to offer. They are an authorized retailer, with exceptional costumer service available online or on the phone, and I already mentioned the low price guarantee. You can’t go wrong.

Go to PlumbTile.com and start designing your dream bathroom today.

By | November 23rd, 2015|Creativity, Frugal Living, Projects|4 Comments

Farm Party Highlights

I gave some behind the scenes planning details as I was busy preparing for the ultimate farm/3 Little Pigs party. I also shared the elaborate farm theme menu. Still, there is SO MUCH more that I haven’t had a chance to reveal about how Ezie’s third birthday panned out.

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My brother sent me some previews from the multitude of photos that he has (and a I have few that I took myself). I am sure I will do some tutorials and craft related posts later, but for now I can’t help but pass along the highlights that I do have. This was one of the best parties I have ever thrown. I am so grateful that the weather cooperated and that we have so many laid back creative friends that could get into such a silly theme party! It was the best.

As I already mentioned the theme was farm, which was so perfect for a fall birthday party. We had a little photo, prop, and costume area that was a lot of fun.

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I also came out dressed as a cow at one point (the things we do for our kids) and told the story of The Three Little Pigs, with help from some volunteers. I’ll have more pictures of that later, but for now here is a pic of the cutest big bad wolf you’ve ever seen!

 

 

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We then had a house building contest and I think the kids could have spent days messing around with those cardboard boxes. The creativity was so impressive and it was such an economical game. I highly recommend this activity whether you are having a birthday party or not.

 

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Okay, last one. I made party favor bags for each family instead of every kid this time. I already had the brown paper bags and I printed out the barn so I didn’t even have to buy any supplies. I also made printable stick figure families to glue inside the barns that I cut to allow for open and shut doors.

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Like I said I’ll post more at some point, but when I got the email with those photos I couldn’t keep all the cuteness to myself!

By | October 26th, 2015|Crafts, Creativity, Parties|14 Comments

I Dream of Pig Parties

“I think I’ll combine the boys birthday this year and just keep it really simple because it’s going to be so close to when the baby is due.”

I distinctly remember having that conversation with my family. Z and Ezie’s birthdays are less than a month apart and I DO have a lot going on, but what can I say? I love to party!

Here are some behind the scenes details about the Ezie’s third birthday this weekend.

The original idea was Three Little Pigs theme which I thought of last year (these are the kind of things I think about when I can’t sleep). Since Ezie is turning three it seemed fitting, but the idea has evolved into more of a full blown farm theme with some 3 Little Pig touches.

First I inquired amongst friends and family for hay, costumes, decorations… anything farm related that I could borrow (trying to keep costs low here). It was looking pretty bleak, until I called my aunt who is not on Facebook and she had so many awesome things that I will be integrating.

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Not to mention I got to visit her in the country while the leaves were falling AHHHH, and Ezie got to feed a horse and pony and pet some other animals. It was like a mini surprise before his birthday even started.

Next I looked everywhere for farm theme party stuff. I spent the day going from Party City to numerous craft stores with Ezie in tow and I was exhausted. I made one final stop at a random Dollar Store and JACKPOT! I found farm theme party paper goods and for $1. I was stoked.

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One of the 3 Little Pigs idea I had was to have a “House Building Contest” where families team up using cardboard boxes. So I called up my local Kroger which really came through for me when I needed free boxes for packing. This round was a little small than I had hoped, but I was grateful and hauled a load home. Then J told me they have tons of huge boxes where he works (the place he started this week) and he brought some home yesterday.What are the odds!?

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Lastly, my aunt had an old saddle that she just wanted to give to us. So J joined in with his creativity by crafting a wooden “saw horse” so that the kids can sit on the saddle.

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Needless to say I did not keep things simple this year, but it’s all coming together and I feel great about it. Ezie didn’t have a party last year and he is about to loose his status as baby of the family so what better time to celebrate him. Not to mention I just love autumn and farms, so this is very therapeutic for me. I am just really looking forward to the family time. I think it’s going to be fun for all ages. After this I’ll be ready to get down to business because before you know it our latest addition will be arriving!

By | September 25th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Parties|5 Comments

How to Avoid Overboard Kid Parties

We just wrapped up  Z’s 8th birthday party and I want to talk a little about my battle to be balanced when it comes to my party planning obsession.

For some of you the thought of having to tone down party plans sounds ridiculous. It would be like me wanting to ensure I don’t make an idol out of my exercise routine. I don’t have an exercise routine. In other words it is NOT an issue.

However, I know some of you party mamas are out there.

People think we’re crazy or that we are spending too much time on Pinterest, but there are tons of people that had creative party juices brewing and served up long before Pinterest ever existed. The internet just gives everything more of a platform.

Either way, with bigger and more elaborate birthday trends on the rise here are seven ways I keep myself in check when it comes to my children’s birthday parties. 

1.  I Don’t Have Do a Theme Party Every Year

Last year SJ had a theme party, but my sons didn’t.
The year before that she didn’t, but they did.
The year before that she did, but Z didn’t and Ezie wasn’t born yet…

So I try to keep it at every other year. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a little cake, or hit Chuck E. Cheese on the off years. They are definitely celebrated, but because I know I like to go all in with the DIY birthday parties I try to spread them out a bit to avoid turning into a party momzilla.

2. It’s Our Thing

I touched on this before when I wrote “A Tale of Two Parties“. A lot of people think that cutesy “pinteresty” birthday parties are just adding more fuel to the fire of an already entitled generation.

I can see the danger there for parents that feel like they have to keep up with the Jone’s or satisfy their child’s every whim, but in that case there is a much deeper issue at hand than birthday details. That’s not what birthday parties are about for me.  No parent can or should do it all, but if parties are your thing then ignore the haters and party on.

3. I use what I have and borrow as much as I can

I am all about shopping clearance, thrift stores, and online specials. Even then party supplies can add up. So one thing I try to do is ask for help. Instead of renting a place I have the party at a friend’s house. Before I go buy more decorations I ask around to people I know already used toulling at their baby shower, or someone I know had a green table cloth, or princess costumes. You get the idea.


4. I LOVE Crafts

One big tradition I have is homemade pinatas. This is something I remember doing as a child (although it was just a round balloon back then) and I enjoyed it. I also love making crafts like these goody bags that I did for the Super Hero Party and I did something similar for the One Happy Camper party.

I have to start planning quite a bit in advance, but as long as I’ve carved out enough time then these things are fun for me. They are not this taxing demanding projects that leave me cursing in the early morning hours. IF you don’t enjoy it then DON’T do it, but if you do then I say go for it. It’s really that simple.

5. I Keep the guest lists SMALL

I know this one isn’t easy for everybody, because some of you have a hundred relatives and you might end up estranged from the family if you don’t invite every single one and I know that it’s difficult with children that are school age and you have classroom protocol. Sometimes you have to do either one or the other though. If the guest list is small the cost per head can be higher while still keeping the over all cost down.

6. I Communicate With My Family 

I love throwing parties, but it’s not all about me. I have to be communicating with my husband to make sure what I’m doing isn’t too much for our family and our schedule. I also have to communicate with the birthday boy/girl. My children have let me pick out all of their themes up to this point, but if they start having more of an opinion that’s totally fine!

7. I TRY not to be a perfectionist (I try)

Things don’t always never go as planned. Read this previous post about “when your pinterest idea flies out the window ” and you’ll see what I mean. Remember it’s just a party, and what really matters is the guest of honor whom you are celebrating.

Those are the seven ways I try not to go too overboard on birthday plans. Are you a big party planner, or does the idea of it make you dread birthday months? Feel free to share your own sanity saving party tips. 

 

By | September 10th, 2015|Creativity, Parties|1 Comment

Broken Jewelry Decor

 

I’m all about birthdays this week. Remember the tea party from last March?

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I do and I will never forget it and how special it was!

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One of the things I shared when I blogged about the decor was this simple wooden letter S. It was a nice little addition to the party theme, but unlike the piñata and the desserts that I talked about yesterday this is a piece of art that we get to keep!

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I have a cute story about this S that has traveled to a new place in our home. SJ got her own room yesterday. We were waiting to find out the gender of the baby to decide how to split the rooms up in the new house. Then when we learned we are having a girl we still had a bunch of boxes in the room to unpack. Finally we got the room straightened out when  my in laws came to visit this past weekend. That was the motivation we needed to set up a bed in there. After they left yesterday SJ moved in. We still haven’t really moved any of her stuff, but she wasted no time getting her toys, a photo of herself, and this letter S.


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She is so proud of the new room. I would share pics, but I don’t have any since at this point it is really not much to look at. The thing that cracked me up was the moment she got home from school and started setting up camp in her new room I overheard her yell “Ezie get out my room!!!” It was the first thing she said, almost immediately after she claimed that territory. Ahhh, siblings.

She slept through the night in there all by herself which is saying a lot because she is 5 1/2 and she has never been in a room by herself. Her and her brother have shared since day one.

Anyway, I bring all this up because that lovely letter S that she cherishes so much was a super easy DIY project and you can make one too! All you need is a wooden letter, some old jewelry, hot glue, and some fabric. The whole tutorial is over at Little Dove Creations today! Stop by Little Dove Creations to see all the details.

By | September 9th, 2015|Crafts, Parties|1 Comment

A Homemade Birthday


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I wasn’t going to do anything major this year for Z’s birthday because of the baby on the way and all that. So I kept his party pretty low key… kind of. I mean, I didn’t have a theme so that should be proof that I did use some restraint! I did however get a bit crafty with certain aspects of the party and I think it went really well. Z was so happy and his reaction to all of the surprises that I made for him was totally worth the effort!

He said his favorite part was the piñata.

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This is the third Piñata I have made for his birthday and it was pretty simple because it was just a box made to look like a  Minecraft Creeper. Everything in Minecraft is made up of pixels so cutting tissue paper out in squares may have been tedious, but the design was very basic.

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Everyone got a turn to whack and smack the creeper with a plastic bat.

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Even after all the candy flew out they continued to play with it and the boys got to be boys as they tore the Minecraft enemy to bits. They made it look so fun I thought I might need to take up piñata fighting as a hobby.

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The funny thing is all of my “art work” for the party are things that are meant to be devoured or destroyed, but I don’t mind. I prefer to get a picture before hand, but I am totally cool with how temporary it all is. The memories are what last.

Z also had a big cake with Mario popping out of the top.

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I cheated with this cake because I bought the chocolate fudge cake pre made from Kroger and then just made a confetti bunt cake and stacked it on top. I covered the whole thing with store bought chocolate frosting and stuck Mario in the middle of the bundt cake. It was far from pretty or perfect, but Z loved it. The kids ate the bundt cake in a matter of minutes and our family has been snacking on the leftover fudge cake which everyone agrees is capital D-licious. I definitely considered this cake a success!

Lastly, Z really loves fruit pizza and we have had some fun creations in the past, so I knew I wanted celebrate this occasion by making one of his favorite characters out of fruit.

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Emmet from the Lego movie was a natural choice. Z loves Legos and it’s kind of like the Minecraft character because when you are working with things made from cubes (or Lego bricks in this case) the shapes are way easier to replicate than with something found in nature. The fruit pizza was not only super fun to make and to surprise Z with, but it really is so yummy! Seriously, everyone always goes on and on about how amazing these simple sugar cookie fruit creations taste. I have the recipe here.

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So that was pretty much the party other than lots of food and 14 children ages 1-8 running around slipping and sliding for two hours. It was a perfectly chaotic, wild, and messy time. I love having some family traditions like these. Casual, frugal, homemade fun. Next up Ezie’s birthday!

By | September 8th, 2015|Crafts, Creativity, Parties, Projects, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Fruity Fun Ice Drink

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I have definitely been in back-to-school mode, and I’m the first to admit that fall is my favorite season. However, the weather is still warm, we have a pool party to go to tonight, and summer isn’t over yet. So let’s SQUEEZE some last minute fun out of what we have left of this season. This is a very simple way to jazz up your drinks in a sweet and tropical way.

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Really all you need is some frozen fruit and beverage o choice. You can make your own lemonade if you choose.

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I am pregnant and sadly also anemic, which causes me to crave ice in a MAJOR way, but by adding fruit to the ice it infuses a bit of nutrients to my habit.

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The kids love to help with this recipe including squeezing the lemons. When children are involved in cooking and creating healthy things it makes them more inclined to want to try it rather than just going for the junk food.

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All I have are these cutesy Ikea molds, this project would be a little easier with just a standard ice tray, but any ice tray will work. If the fruit is frozen and the ice cubes are small it will only take a couple hours to freeze and then you can distribute it into the glasses.

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We love lemonade here and I use a really low sugar recipe. Or if there is no time our own juicing we just buy Simply Lemonade and dilute half with water. So it’s more of a lemon flavored water, but it’s still so yummy and less sugar!

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You could use any kind of tropical drink including something carbonated. The fruity ice is so flavorful though you don’t need to go overboard with whatever concoction you choose.

 

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The kids and I love this drink and it would be perfect for a pool party. Or you could do strawberries and blueberries for 4th of July, or just the strawberry heart ice for Valentine’s day. It’s so festive the fruity ice makes any occasion a little more fun!

I hope everyone is enjoying what’s left of summer! What’s your favorite summer time drink?

By | August 14th, 2015|Creativity, Parties|10 Comments

Links to Some of My Favorite Home Design Blogs

Right now my budget, my kids, and my schedule are all pretty much anti-home decor, but I love the idea of getting to start up another home remodel or even just room makeover.

So to close out this week’s theme of home renovations I wanted to point you to some bloggers that I have gotten connected with through a group called The Blog Love Project. These ladies are so talented and creative! I encourage you to take a long look around their sites especially if you are wanting to spruce up your own dwelling place.

Let’s start with Maggie from Less House More Home . She is just now getting her blog going, but has some really adorable ideas on her site and she’s thrifty too so you know I love that! Check out this frame wall tutorial.

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I love the whole look, especially the camera print and the splash of yellow.


Then there’s Betsy from Happily Ever After Etc. There are tons of great projects, tips, and pics on this blog. I just LOVE this little challenge she participates in called The Thrift Store Swap.

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The idea is for several bloggers to pick out random items from their local thrift store (for $10) and mail them to each other. So everyone has a surprise item that they have to repurpose and let me tell you it is the coolest thing to see what they come up with! I told them if I weren’t in the middle of preparing for a baby I would so be joining  in on this one. Hopefully in the future. Anyway, you have to check out Betsy’s thrift store swap posts.

Next I wanted to share Meg’s blog Green With Decor because she is all about interior design and her favorite color is my favorite color. GREEN! Along with before and after photos of her home renovation projects, house tours, and practical cleaning tips, she also gives a lot of decorating advice like this post called 10 Design Tips for a Bathroom Renovation

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Our House Now a Home is a DIY blog by Emily. You could probably spend all day looking at all the cute projects she does. For example this Paint Dipped Coastal Style End Table Redo is just too cute.

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Her tutorials are always very thorough and budget friendly.

I’ve recently gotten to know Justine of Little Dove Creations through the blogosphere and although her blog expands beyond just decorating she does have a lot on there about their home renovation and decorating ideas. One of my personal favorites is the DIY Pallet Wall. Drool.

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I want to do this one of these days.

On a side note if you are really just love looking at interior decorating then you have to check out GoHaus’s list of 5 Inspiring Interior Designers to Follow on Instagram.

Photos from Angela Kounnas Instagram

Photos from Angela Kounnas Instagram

This has been a fun little miniseries. Just to do a recap on my post for the week we have

Home Improvements

The Seven Year Flip

The Importance of Good Flooring

How We Installed Hardwood Over Carpet Part 2

and last up is today’s list of lovely home decor blogs you should definitely check out. I am chomping at the bit to get some stuff set up in our new home, but first we just need to finish unpacking.

 

On that note I will go ahead and sign off. Have a great weekend everybody!

By | July 31st, 2015|Projects|4 Comments

How We Installed Hardwood Over Carpet Part 2

After getting so much positive feedback and tons of interest in our little laminate wood flooring installation project we decided to do a follow up along with a little time-lapse video of how the floor removal process went. For part one click here.

Our little experimental project consisted of laying a floating floor over the carpet in our apartment. We like the aesthetics, but mainly the dining area was carpeted and we knew that wasn’t going to work especially with three small children! So we laid the floor down over it and that definitely simplified clean up after eating (and potty training for that matter).

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Still, we were unsure at the time exactly what the carpet would look like after years of being smashed under our layers of flooring. It turns out it looked great! WAY better than if we would have been living our daily lives trying to spot treat that area!

In the video you will see J removing the planks, followed by the removal of the subfloor which was OSB, and then vacuuming the carpet underneath.

Since we didn’t really document the original process we thought this video would be a nice way to see how it all came together. Even though it is of the removal, just reverse it to see how the installment would work.

A lot of readers have questions over the past couple years including-

“How long did it take?” It took about 8 hours once we had the materials ready

“Did it end up being damage free for the carpet underneath after removing?” YES!

“Is it strong enough to use as a dance floor?” I don’t know. Our three kids ages 2,5, and 7 have used it as a dance floor in some ways. It’s held up pretty well, but it had some minor evidence of wear and tear after a while.

“Would this work for an upstairs apartment? How is the sound for the downstairs neighbors?” If you are really concerned about the noise you can add a layer of floor muffler underlayment in-between your OSB and laminate planks. We did live in an upstairs apartment so it’s definitely doable, but I guess it depends on how much of a priority the volume control is for you.

That’s pretty much it. In the end we got our full deposit back after we moved and the carpet looked like new. I can assure you that would not have been the case had we not laid down the floors. And the best part is we didn’t spend all that money just for those years in the apartment, we got to take the floor with us and we are reusing it where we live now.

Our only regret was not continuing the flooring into the hallway because it is also such a high traffic area and it took a lot of abuse. If you are interested in doing a flooring project like this in your own house or rental property and you have any other questions please feel free to ask. If I can’t answer them I’ll get with the handy man that works behind the scenes here and I’m sure he can get you some info.

Good luck with your project!

By | July 30th, 2015|Frugal Living, Projects, Simple Living|18 Comments

The Seven Year Flip

When we bought our first home we did a complete overhaul to the house, but it wasn’t exactly a flip. It was never meant to be. We weren’t looking for a quick investment.

We just wanted a home that we could afford and that pretty much narrowed our search down to fixer uppers, which was fine because J is so handy and we always wanted our first house to be unique. Of course, we didn’t plan for the remodel to take 7 years, but hey life happens and we were living it!

This post is just a tiny little glimpse at some of the before and afters of our first renovation. I’ll post links to the extended version of the remodel for anyone that wants to see more, but this will be the first time I am going to share just how much we bought it for, how much we put into it, and what it sold for. Which, I hope will be inspiring for all the DIYers out there.

The Living Room

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The Dining Room 

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The Hallway

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The Kitchen

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The pictures were taken at opposite angles of the room, but you get the idea.

 

 

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The Master Bedroom

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The House

 

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It was winter grass for the record

 

So that’s most of it other than the two other bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry room. I don’t know if any of you like to watch “Flip or Flop” or any of those HGTV shows for that matter. I love that stuff, and so how can I not show a final tally of how this investment turned out for us financially? These are not exact numbers by the way, but they are pretty close.

We purchased the house in 2004 for $77,000

We spent a little over $35,000 on renovations. Not all at once! Remember this was a 7 year project. I also thought it would be worth mentioning that the kitchen was by far the biggest expense coming in at a total of $13,000! That includes gutting the entire room, putting up new walls, laying slate floors, getting all knew custom built cabinets, crown molding, granite counter tops, the booth, the lighting, and all new energy efficient stainless steel appliances. So it was a whopper, but it could have cost a lot more had we not done most of the grunt work ourselves.

Lastly, we put the house on the market the week of Christmas (talk about bad timing) but miraculously received an offer days later for our asking price of $139,000. How cool is that?

In the end we spent 112,000 (77,000+35,000). We sold for $139,000 giving us a $27,000 profit. Instead of paying to live somewhere we made over $3,000 a year off of our property. Not too shabby, although keep in mind most of the time we were somewhere in-between the before and after. So it wasn’t a classy situation believe me, and I can assure you that there was a ton of physical labor involved. Let’s just say we earned our keep.

Not that it’s anyones business what happened to that money, but we were able to pay off all of our debt including student loans, a car loan, medical bills, and credit cards. It has been such a blessing to be out from underneath all of that! I am really happy with the outcome of our “7 year flip” even though it’s not realistic for us to be home owners right now, I look forward to the day we can do something like this again. I say that looking at all the pretty pictures. It’s kind of like childbirth though, you forget how much effort it took!

 

Have you ever done any major home renovations? Would you do it again?

By | July 28th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Projects|4 Comments