Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Year of Home Improvement Mistakes and Successes

This past week marked an anniversary for us: purchasing our second home.  This was a great memory for us as we bought this house with the idea of our family expanding in mind.  This home needed, and still needs, a lot of TLC.  It has tons of potential and space, which is what made us want to buy it.  After a year of DIYing, renovating and planning, our second home still needs work but has created a wonderful place for us to share special memories.  
Reflecting on our past year's home improvement projects we have learned a few things and also shared in some successes.  Here's a look at what we've learned from our past year's home projects.
Fence building.  This was our first big home project we decided to tackle.  Our 75 pound golden retriever loves to run and have his freedom.  Plus, neither JC nor I wanted to have to traipse around our backyard in the middle of the night with Wrigley.  We were hoping this project would take a weekend.  The weekend of the project produced rainy, cold weather, making it hard to work quickly. In the end, this project took around a week. 
Lesson learned from fence building: build the entire fence as you go rather than dig all the holes first and then add fencing.  We dug all the holes first, and then added the fencing.  Big mistake.  What we ended up with was a large gap between the fencing and the posts – meaning we had to re-do a good portion of our work for the fence.

Painting.   This is probably the easiest, least expensive, and most fun part of home improvements in my opinion.  We’ve painted a good portion of our house now.  I love how Anderson's room has turned out -- and our cool grey color in our Master Bedroom.  When we bought the house everything was white.  Now it is a colorful pallete – probably too colorful in some areas.
Lesson learned from painting: a beautiful color on a paint swatch may not look so great on the walls.  Bold colors are nice in some places, but it is okay to stick with neutrals as well!  We may be repainting a few rooms to tone things down.

Flooring.  The worst part of the house was the yellow shag carpet that covered the stairs and front living and dining room.  This carpet was not only ugly, but was also smelly.  Having the flooring replaced was the second big project we tackled – and are still trying to finish.
Lesson learned from flooring replacement: it is okay to pay a little extra for the convenience of professionals getting a project done!  JC thought he would try to tackle the flooring in parts of the house, but it turned out to be a lot harder than anticipated.  Plus, neither one of us have time to dedicate to these detailed projects.

Light fixtures.  JC has become a pro at electrical work.  He’s replaced most of the plugs and switches in the house, and also replaced a lot of the light fixtures.  By far the hardest light fixture to install was a small chandelier in the dining room. 
Lesson learned from light fixture installation: laughing at your husband’s struggles during home renovations doesn’t help the situation – just makes him madder!  But we did laugh together later.

House exterior.  The week before Miss Anderson arrived JC spent the majority of his time on a ladder painting our shutters, and front door.  The exterior of the house was fairly plain.  All white and tan.  Up JC went to fix that problem by adding a little bit of contrast to the outside.
Lesson learned from painting shutters:  be prepared for wasps or bees to come flying out at you when taking the shutters off the side of the house.
We’ve had some interesting experiences on our home improvement process – and I’m sure will have plenty more.  No matter if our project turned out to be a struggle or instant success, we've enjoyed making the house our "home" and take pride in our hard work.

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