Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Sharing my oh-so-valuable (albeit limited) nuggets of wisdom about what it's like to survive a home renovation, along with some long-awaited before & after photos

For those just now tuning in, a few months ago the husband and I embarked on what can only be called a wild journey to buy and renovate a 1930s bungalow that had been abandoned for the last 20 years. 

Much like other major decisions in our life – ranging from whether or not we should go to Brazil in a few weeks (we most definitely should!) to whether or not we should buy a boat (already did!) – we sort of jumped into this adventure headfirst with little hesitation. 

Right about now I wish I could share some cliché, inspirational quote – something about fun, spontaneous living and letting go of control – and call it a day, but if I am being completely honest with my perfectionist self, then I must confess that it's been a real challenge for me to remain calm in a constant state of transition and change. 

For those of you considering tackling your own home renovation, here are four life lessons that I have learned so far and would like to pass on to you, my sweet little sugar plums:

  1. If you have even the slightest perfectionist tendencies, prepare to have them – along with what's left of your sanity – completely demolished the minute you begin your house demolition. Oh sure, everyone warns you to prepare to be flexible, but no one tells you just how complex the proverbial "Lotus Headstand" of renovations is. You thought yoga was hard?! Try renovating a house!
  2. Stay away from the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. If you accidentally find yourself on Pinterest, it's very difficult to leave without having questioned your sanity because you simply can't get it through your head why "you can't just keep changing your mind every week." The first step is to put down the device that got you in this predicament in the first place. Trust me, you don't need that loft above the kitchen; you've already fit three bedrooms into a space only meant for two. Next, abort your attempt at finding someone to help you with your Pinterest addiction. Your friends, although they mean well, will be the first to say, "I bet Pinterest has a ton of ideas that would help you!" – singlehandedly forcing you into another relapse. Finally, if your husband happens to be next to you, resist the urge to describe in excruciating detail the million and one ideas you happened to catch a glimpse of in the five seconds you spent scrolling through the app. Everyone knows that Pinterest emits harmful waves through your phone screen, which cause innocent comments like, "Check out this marble countertop..." to take on passive aggressive tendencies, forcing your voice to rise ten octaves in a matter of five seconds. I suggest you flush your phone down the toilet to ensure you're never tempted to visit Pinterest again.
  3. Lists and spreadsheets will suddenly become your new best friends, which may sound sort of pathetic at first, but at this point you're sort of out of options. Your real friends are "so freaking tired" of hearing you go on and on about the house; besides, they're not a good influence on you anyway (See point 2). So really, you're just doing yourself and the world a favor by befriending a spreadsheet software program.
  4. You can bet there will be tears. And disagreements. And arguments. And possibly full-on tantrums. But mostly tears – lots and lots of them, especially if you're terrible at yoga (See point 1). If anyone has the audacity to ask you why your eyes are puffy, look them square in the face and say, "I'm just not myself today..." – even if you have to repeat that nonsense every day for the next three years. Soon enough they'll stop asking, at which point I suggest you turn to making lists on your phone as a way of keeping your sanity. Oh, but wait, you can't because you flushed your phone down the toilet. You are truly helpless. Just give up, already.

All joking aside, because we are doing most of the work ourselves, the process has been rather long and at times a bit discouraging. But I am happy to report that there is, in fact, a light at the end of the tunnel – which, alone, is a major cause for celebration. So while these photos might not portray much progress to you, I am over the moon excited at all we've been able to accomplish so far and cannot wait to share with you what else we have planned for this space!

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So FarHome Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

Home Renovation Progress Report + 4 Life Lessons I Learned So Far

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Posted in HOME DECOR, OUR BUNGALOW RENOVATION.

28 Comments

  1. Pingback: 10 DIY Projects to Add Character to Your Home | FOXY OXIE

  2. I loved this post so much! My boyfriend and I are looking at buying a house and have played around with the idea of getting a fixer upper!

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, Nicole! I’m happy to report we’ve finally started purchasing items that we’ll actually be using (as opposed to building materials). Can’t wait to share more progress photos! XO

  3. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Amanda! And yes, Pinterest is as helpful as it is distracting! It’s near impossible to settle on something when there are a BILLION AND ONE ideas out there! Maybe you’ll have better luck! XO

  4. Oh my goodness that is a major renovation! My parents had several homes we did this to when I was younger and sometimes we were living there. I remember having no kitchen one whole summer and cooking outside. It was like camping at home! Good luck!

    • Oh my, that sounds dreadful! Thankfully, we’ve been able to rent a town home while we renovate the bungalow, and although it’s not the greatest having to pay rent, a mortgage AND construction, there’s really no other alternative for us – the bungalow is missing a few essential details like AC, electricity, plumbing, etc. :)

  5. WOW! It looks like an amazing transformation. I’ve never renovated a home (but I hope to one day). I know the stress of a renovation will break me down at some point though…I’m totally prepared for tears.

    • Thankfully there haven’t been any tears at our house, mainly because my husband is the most patient person to ever walk on this earth! :) It’s really not that terrible… Sure, it’s a ton of work, and I and my OCD tendencies are learning to be flexible, but it’s also very fun and rewarding.

    • Too funny, you have no idea how many people have said the exact same thing! I even know which “Fixer-Upper” house you’re referring to! I actually came across that episode when trying to decide whether to leave the fireplace as is, or to modernize it a bit. The decision is still out!

    • Isn’t it lovely? I was oh-so-excited when I first learned of the fireplace! Now, if only I could decide what to do with it… We’re thinking to clean it and leave as is (much like a recent episode on HGTV’s Fixer Upper), or to build a small wall around it and cover it with a modern tile. Any ideas?

  6. What a fantastic transformation! Doing it yourself is a huge chore, but that way you know you’re getting exactly what you want. I couldn’t relate more to #4, while we haven’t done any major renos yet, my boyfriend and I have made over furniture pieces and made all decor decisions together, so we have had our fair share of arguments about design!

    • As far as getting what you want, most people tend to think that’s how it is, but reality is that if there’s a budget involved, you’re likely settling for what’s in your budget as opposed to “getting what you want.”

      But it’s really nowhere near as terrible as I make it out to be (most of the article is sarcastic, anyway). While remodeling is definitely stressful, it’s also as much fun (if not more) and extremely rewarding!

    • Isn’t it lovely? I was oh-so-excited when I first learned of the fireplace! Now, if only I could decide what to do with it… We’re thinking to clean it and leave as is (much like a recent episode on HGTV’s Fixer Upper), or to build a small wall around it and cover it with a modern tile. Any ideas?

    • Hi Kenzie, Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I’m always hesitant to share progress photos, because remodeling tends to look incredibly worse before it looks better – if that makes any sense. Fixer-uppers are definitely fun and rewarding, but also a ton of work – way more than one typically anticipates! I consider myself very lucky in that my husband is extremely patient. :)

  7. Pingback: Home Renovation Report | Interior Decor Plan

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