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Adventures In Home Renovation

For the past couple of weeks our new house has been torn completely apart. I'm talking stove in the middle of the kitchen, absolutely no flooring (it's all piled up on our back deck), and the better part of a wall in the bathroom was knocked out and rehung. There's more drywall dust in that house than snow in Aspen at this point. We've spent long, exhausting hours working on it and trying to get it ready for new flooring. We're finally almost there. Our bedroom needs one more coat of paint, the bathroom needs to be painted, and the cut in behind the cabinets needs to happen. Then we'll hopefully have flooring be laid tomorrow/this weekend.

It hasn't all been sunshine though. When removing the vanity in the bathroom, Mike accidentally busted one of the water pipes under the house. It was pitch black, 30-some-odd degrees, and this town is so small there was literally no one to call. Luckily between Mike, myself, my uncle, our floor guy, the past tenant, our soon to be neighbor, and one city employee (with the help of neighbor's handy dandy metal detector), we finally found our water main... an hour and a half later. In the middle of our driveway. (Who puts those in the middle of a driveway?!) Yes, you read that correctly... seven adults. It was completely covered over and it was like a wild goose chase. Guess that's part of the fun, right?! We'll look back on it and laugh, no doubt. 

BEFORE // DURING

Here are a couple of (crummy iPhone) photos to show you what we've been up to. I'll snap some better ones once it's all done, before we move in. Let me just say this: the kitchen and hallway was a horrible red (and so poorly painted), the living room was yellow + green smeared together (yes, really)... my new office was bright pink walls with purple carpet!!!, our bedroom was a yucky peach (painted over green?), toby's room was a dark brown and the bathroom was the brightest turquoise ever... with wet sand colored accents. AWFUL! We've pretty much painted everything grey, with Toby's room a light sage, and the bathroom will be pink (I know, I know.) I can't wait until I actually looks livable and we can start moving over some stuff. I'm seriously considering having an indoor yardsale at our Nashville house once we get out everything we're moving. If you're in/around town, stay tuned hopefully!

The flooring that we're laying is a darker wood in the entire house, then black and white vinyl tile in the kitchen and bathroom. A very 50's/retro theme if you can think of it. You can get a glimpse at our new dinette set in the second set of photos below, on the right... we seriously planned the entire kitchen around that set!

BEFORE // DURING
It's a lot of work but we are SO excited. It'll be exactly what we want and we can make it fit us rather than the weird rental limbo of fitting into a space. Mike has already expressed his love of renovating and said he'd like to try his hand at flipping houses at some point in the future. (Let's maybe just skip busting a water main under each house though...)

Have any of you tried renovating a house? Any tricks or tips you can send our way? Or better yet, funny stories?

PS; Because I know it'll be asked - no, we didn't buy this house. It's actually a rental that my parents own and lease out. We made the decision to move out of the city mainly for safety + educational reasons (for Toby), and we'll be taking over the mortgage. It's about $900/mo less than what we pay in East Nashville, and it's definitely bigger. It'll allow us to get Toby into preschool and sports, as well as see his family more often. It'll also allow for us to decide over the next few years exactly where we want to be planted. We feel so very fortunate to have the opportunity to take up an offer like this. We know not everyone has the opportunity to scoop up a house way under market value. We felt it necessary to get out of East Nashville for our own benefit, as living so expensively was foolish because we didn't have anything truly keeping us there. Plus I can live without all of that insane crime. We're doing all of the renovation work, but the house needed updating anyway. Who knows, we may stay here forever. This has and will continue to affect a lot of our business decisions but we're pretty stoked on it. :)

70 comments:

  1. Looking good so far - cant wait to see it when you're finished! We did the same thing when we moved into our house, just not so drastic. I'm hoping that our next one is a big fixer uper. We love remodels!

    xx Ashleigh
    www.ashflynn.blogspot.com

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    1. mike has definitely said he wants to buy "a real crap hole" if/when we move/buy. haha he's super into fixing it up, and honestly, i love having exactly what we want out of a space :D

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  2. So cute!! I am sure you are seeing this already, but it is so worth it. When we bought the house we are in now, it was SO BAD. I literally cried the day we closed. But Kerstan saw potential, so I went with it. We ripped everything out before we moved in. We did it all ourselves, too (with the exception of the countertops). It was a crazy adventure, but now everything in the house is exactly what we wanted. Of course now we're moving, but we're planning on renovating again in Denver because the end product is so rewarding.

    Most of my funny stories are because of my wonderful father-in-law, who forgot to put the adhesive on the bottom of our new tub, so it was like a trampoline. We had to cut a hole in the wall to get to the bottom of it to fix it! He also somehow knocked a hole in the ceiling, which created a geyser all over my brand new kitchen. And finally, after I spent 3 days stripping and repainting the kitchen cabinets, my in-laws gifted us brand new ones (which was great, but I still have a scar on my hand from where the paint remover ate my skin. I would have liked to avoid that). Best of luck to you! I am sure it is going to be amazing!!

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    1. oh my gosh! what a ride! we've been looking at new bathtubs and have found one we'd like to replace it with, but that'll mean tearing out three more (small) walls in the bathroom to install. Mike is 100% up to the challenge but I'm not sure my nerves can take it! haha

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    2. I usually roamed around IKEA during the super stressful parts, haha!

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  3. wow it looks great from what I can tell. and what a fun experience!

    I always forget how expensive it is to live outside of where I'm currently at... you're paying less per month than what we pay including bills plus some total per month. so crazy!

    can't wait to see the finished project!

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    1. east nashville is truly overpriced thanks to the "hip" area it's been deemed. it's also SUPER sketch/crime ridden so LATER ALLIGATOR! haah :P

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  4. I can so appreciate how much work you have put into your new home. The new colors are a big improvement and I dig the newly painted white kitchen.

    My husband and I bought an long-unoccupied fixer upper gingerbread cottage this time last year. We did most of the work ourselves - landscaping, wallpaper removal, painting, carpentry, light electrical work, some flooring, etc. We hired a contractor to do the big stuff like our kitchen, using a loan called the 203K (which is a great product for those looking to roll the cost of reno into the mortgage).

    Unfortunately, just weeks before we were suppose to move in, the contractor walked out on the job. We lived without a kitchen for four months, as the replacement contractor was finishing up the space. Our remodel ended up costing us TWICE as much as we had anticipated. We had a sewer line break, a major boiler repair that needed done (thanks to the douche contractor capping the lines), some plumbing issues, we bought all the wrong size appliances, etc. So I can totally relate to your story about the water main. Our renovations were crazy stressful, especially with both of us working f/t, but totally worth it in the end. By taking on a DIY renovation, you can put your own stamp on the house. And everytime you look at your handiwork, you'll puff up your chest and feel proud that you did it yourself :)

    I blogged a few times about our home, which if you're interested, you can read about here: http://clotheskarma.tumblr.com/tagged/house%20tour

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    1. oooh i love it! your house is so darling! i love the craftsmen interior doors. that's what we're hoping to get so we'll see!

      sounds like you experienced a lot of exhausting drama with it! yowza! i only hope it makes you more prepared in the future, ya know? <3

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  5. Amen to getting out of East Nashville! I know it's cool, but I would NOT want to live there. Keith lived there for two years, and I hated sitting on his back porch and hearing gunshots. It happened at least once a week, and I was so glad when he moved in with me. You are so smart to move Toby to a safer area.

    But let's talk renovations. Holy crap, the previous tenants were living in a hellish Crayola box! I like the gray you chose. Slight bluish-purple undertones, yes? In July, I painted my red dining room the same shade of gray, and I love it.

    A word of caution: If you can stay somewhere else for a few days after the existing floors are removed, I recommend it. I replaced my water-damaged hardwood floors last month, and I got sick from all the wood dust in the air after the floor was torn out. You don't want to go through that!

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    1. ughhhhhhh east nashville. i truly feel like raising kids in east nashville can be such an added stress factor, i just didn't feel comfortable. but the paint is "rocky slope" by valspar. it's gorgeous! it's the perfect neutral grey in my opinion. i just hope everything fits well with it! haha

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  6. Congrats on the house! Can't wait to see the finished product. My husband and I moved into our first house a month ago, so I can relate to the craziness of renovating/fixing things up. Sounds like you're making some really great decisions for your family. Best of luck!

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    1. ah, sending you all the best with your own reno!

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  7. Those before and after pics are really day and night! Wasn't painting the cupboards a pain the the behind? I did that to my inlaws place, the sanding, the priming and finally the painting. Could drive a person insane! Ha
    Best thing I could suggest, always have a damp clean rang around of accidental paint dripping. And if you want clean looking trim, use paintable caulking around the edges and joints, works wonders!
    Best of luck on the rest of the reno

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    1. OH MY GOSH, yes! we'll paint the cabinets with oil based Kilz primer, wait a full day, do another coat, wait another day, try to touch it up, do the corners, wait, wait, wait. Finally today is the day we can put the final coat of actual paint on them. phew! we still have to do the doors though! ahhhh haha

      the good thing about this house is we didn't have to be careful with the paint. we just let it get all over the floors and carpet because we tossed it all anyway. that was definitely a blessing! :P <3

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    2. That's great that you didn't have to worry about the floors! And I'm wishing you all the best!

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  8. I love what you guys are doing with the place, and the fact that you're doing it all yourselves is even more awesome. Your house will truly be an extension of YOU!

    (By the way, I find it a little sad that you have to put that disclaimer about how you came to own the house at the end... it shouldn't be anyone's business and no one should be asking! Manners, y'all!) :)

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    1. your last part : so very true! but i feel like it's best for me to be as open and honest as i'm comfortable with in order to avoid the inevitable "you can't afford a house!" "why would you renovate a rental?!" "your parents pay for everything!" haha sounds so silly, but i've definitely been on the receiving end of all of them. nothing is getting "handed" to us, and even if it were i would feel no reason to be ashamed. we're excited for the doors that this opportunity will open :)

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  9. Looking good! I needed to have a lot of walls and some ceilings replaced in my flat, plus the windows, plus the shower, plus put in some insulation (it's the North of Scotland!) and then the intercom broke... and I was living here through all of that; you're so lucky to have the time to renovate first! I'm really looking forward to seeing what you create.

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    1. oh man, i can't imagine living in the house while doing all of this! the dust and oil-based paint are enough to drive us mad even 30 minutes in! it takes a special and patient person to be able to juggle the two!

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  10. It's so awesome seeing someone renovate and remodel! I hate watching shows where people turn down houses and rentals because it's not perfect. OF COURSE it isn't! You have to make it truly yours! :D I think you and Mike are doing a great job and it sounds like you have such great reasons for moving to that new area too. I've never done more than repainting or choosing new floors, but even something as simple as a can of paint can make SUCH a difference (as obviously shown in your pics)! Great job! Can't wait to see what awesome decor y'all end up with. :)

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    1. honestly, i couldn't agree more. even the smallest thing can truly change a space and i think it's really broadened our idea of what a "dream" house might be in the future :)

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  11. I'm in the process of renovating a rental property right now and my only advice is expect everything to take longer than it should. We were thinking 1 or 2 months and we're in month 5. Plus, we kept finding weird little isses that needed to be addressed that we hadn't anticipated. With patience and a whole lot of elbow grease, we're almost done. Good luck!

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    1. good point! we're lucky that we ended up getting the house an entire month early, so we've got 4 weeks up on it already (almost 3 weeks in) and we've covered so much ground. the actual packing + moving + unpacking doesn't sound fun though! it's a race against the clock!

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  12. Wow, I love the colors so far & I just love your style! You guys are doing a great job! I did the same thing to my home with my father! I was pregnant when we started and we were lucky to get just about everything done in time for our lil' boy.

    Only tip I have is if you don't have completely flat ceilings it can expensive to redo the ceiling and very difficult to do with isolation above it so we just took car siding, painted it white and used a nail gun to fix it to the ceiling. It gives the rooms more of a cap cod look. Its so cute and I told my husband if we ever move I want to do it in a room because its adorable.

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  13. That's so awesome that you were able to take over from your parents! That's actually exactly what Rhett and I did, except we didn't renovate anything...and I rented it from my parents for a while before we got married :) It's amazing how these opportunities come up. It sounds like it's going pretty well! If the only trouble you've had is a busted pipe, you're probably doing better than most people :)

    This is really making me want to paint...I made some bad decisions with paint in the past and I need to fix it. haha

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  14. It's obvious that this place will look good :)
    I haven't got any expierience at house renovating, but I'm thinking of renovating my room lately. It's really small and I can't figure out how to at least move furniture, so the room wouldn't look crowded with things :D

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  15. That's looking great! We'll be buying our first house this year, so I'm super excited!

    -bethsquidly.com

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  16. I love it Kaelah it's looking so much better already with what you guys have done. I can't wait to see the end result. I love renovating I can't wait to do that some day for my own house.

    xo
    Tabatha

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  17. I love what you've done so far!!! My boyfriend and I are currently working on our little basement apartment! I can't wait to see the finished result of your home sweet home!!

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  18. Good luck on the renos. I can tell you this much - owning a home, there is something always going wrong! Especially when you buy a "fixer upper"

    We own a victorian - http://veranellies.blogspot.com/p/house.html
    and have been doing all the work ourselves. it currently needs everything hah- new roof, new porch, new electrical, new plumbing, new heating, walls..yup those would be nice. we are actually only living/using 3 rooms and a teeny bathroom. I can't even fathom what it will be like when its done and to actually have a full home with WALLS and usable space. It's in pretty embarrassing shape right now. i don't let anyone in (including my own family)

    if i were to give anyone advice - it would be to not "live" in a home while you are trying to reno it unless you are totally committed and in love with the home. it really does take its toll on you - there have literally been YEARS we havent done anything to it because we were just so overwhelmed and dreading the whole mess. so stay focused and motivated. oh and ONLY do one room at a time!

    xx
    trisha
    veranellies.blogspot.com

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  19. Wow! You really lucked out on this one. Good luck on the rest of the renovations~

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  20. Ah so exciting! It's going to look great, can't wait to see how it progresses :D

    It makes me want to settle down and have a place I can make completely my own, but then I also want to travel forever as I really struggle to stay in my own place. What I really need is a teleporter that can teleport my house to different locations when I get itchy feet. That would be awesome.

    Anyway, hope you had a great Xmas and good luck with the renovating! Happy 2013 :D

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  21. How exciting! I can't wait to see more updates!

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  22. We completely renovated our little house ( I just posted a home tour a few days ago), and while it was a lot of hard work, it is totally worth it! We still have work to do, but the main part is done (and of course, I'm always changing something because now I know I can). We adore our little house, it is truly our home. Keep up the good work & can't wait to see how it all turns out!!

    http://aclosetintellectual.blogspot.com/

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  23. So excited to see your home renovations!!! Railroader and I remodeled our last home top to bottom ourselves(literally roof to sewer and everything inbetween!!)All while living in it with 3 kids and our dorky dog. Definetly take lots of photos of the process, gives you inspiration when your covered in dust, paint, and spakeling crying over your fastfood sitting on the bare subfloor thinking you'll NEVER be finished;) Now we've moved and get to start the process all over again!

    xo the Rebel

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  24. Today I was have a break from study with a blogger friend, and I told her that I really love fashion blogger with tatoo and so personal style.. :)She told me about your blog and your style.. OH MY GOD!! YOU ARE AMAZING <3 Sorry for my terrible english :( I follow you dear !!!!
    Kisses,
    Cecia

    PS: I'm moving to a new house too :)

    http://morfeoarms.blogspot.it/

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    1. aw thank you! i'm so very flattered! and thank you to your friend for sharing the LCH love, too! <3 best of luck with your move!

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  25. DUDEEEEEEE I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU GUYS!! I can't wait to see the house as it progresses... and see it when it's done!! Bonfire parties, yeah? :D

    I'm so glad y'all are bailing out of East Nashville, even if it does mean you're moving forever away (well, in Nashville terms, I mean :B). Toby is going to have a million times better quality of life out there, and you would be stupid to not take advantage of the savings combined with the bigger & better house. East Nashville is way too overpriced for what it actually is, especially with the added gunshots and worst drivers in all of Nashville, haha!

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    1. i can't wait for you to come see it! i think you'll dig the kitchen. i'll tell you all about it tomorrow night. the slumber parties will have to be a regular deal!

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  26. Sounds like you're doing a world of good to that house! My parents are renovating their house, which has been interesting to live in during my 3 weeks of winter break from uni. Nothing like waking up to the sound of hammers in the room next to you first thing in the morning! They got a hot tub though, so I guess that makes up for it. :P

    -Lindsey

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    1. oof! i would live with that for a hot tub too! :P jealous!

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  27. I'm in MJ, so I'll definitely come to an indoor yard sale...as long as it's during the day! ;-) I've been to East Nashville twice, and I'm okay with maintaining that record.

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    1. bahahaha this. i'll try to get my act together to organize it asap!

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  28. Sounds to me that someone went ape-shit with a rainbow of colors in that house. Nice work though with the renovations, keep it up!

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    1. haha best way to put it. and all veryyyy poorly painted haha

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  29. These pictures are so inspiring already! Our house doesn't need much doing but it feels like loads just to put our stamp on it. :-)

    I will admit to being one of the readers who wondered if you were renovating a rental or had bought. No judgement though as we used to live in a rental owned by my parents and the only reason we own now is thanks to a LOT of help from them. I don't see why anyone should have to apologise for the way they are able to afford a home. Sometimes it's awkward to mention it as I don't want to seem spoiled you know? Well of course you do you had to put a disclaimer on a personal blog! :-)

    Your new area sounds lovely and I hope you settle in easily and Toby enjoys his new neighbourhood! Oh and the girls of course ;-)

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  30. So awesome Kaelah! Congrats!

    We just redid our kitchen this summer. Yay for black and white floors (our choice too). You can check out the before and after shots of our place here: http://blog.vividotonline.com/2012/12/the-big-kitchen-reveal-before-and-after.html

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  31. that is so great! what a good opportunity. we got to live rent free for a year (in columbia) and it gave us time to save up for a house down payment and really pick where we wanted to go.

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  32. We did! You can see our before photos here: http://www.aileenbarker.com/2011/09/the-house-tour/

    I never did official after photos, but there are pics all over my blog of the house now heh.

    We did the painting and some of the other stuff ourselves. We were going to do the flooring and such too, but our realtor got us a loan that we could roll into the mortgage for fixing it up since it was run down, but it had to be professionally done. So we hired that stuff out.

    I still have a few things to work on like... our windowsill in our bedroom is still blue (lol) and stuff like that. I just dread painting again. We literally spent 3-4 full weekends painting the house. So. Many. Walls! Not to mention we were simultaneously planning a total DIY wedding that was the next month, so that was an exhausting time for us!

    You guys are doing a fantastic job!! I can't wait to see when it's done. I really want to paint our kitchen cabinets white, but they're relatively new and I think they're the kind that will be hard to paint since they aren't just solid wood.

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  34. excited to see more home improvement stuff. We've done some but nothing so extensive!

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  35. 'Before and After' pictures are one of my favourite things, I can't wait for your 'After's!

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  36. It looks so much more light and airy already. I know painting kitchen cabinets is such a pain! We're moving to Nashville (as soon as we sell our house, which could be anywhere from 1 month to a year...) and we want to move somewhere east of East Nashville. Compared to Birmingham, Alabama, there's not really a bad part of Nashville!

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  37. Eek! This is so exciting for your little family! And I am SO excited to watch your renovations progress. There are renovations looming in my near future too, so it's really handy to see what you're up to and read through everyone else's comments. And it looking so much better already! Good luck with it all lovely!

    Katie xx

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  38. My husband and i are in a rental right now that is a red matte/glossy thick stripes combo on the walls . . . as if its not already bad enough the floors on the kitchen are faux marble green linoleum. Its like christmas from hell in there haha and to top it off, we're thinking of trying to purchase the house and my husband actually likes the pinstriped red walls, i foresee myself painting them something less gagtastic while hes at work :)

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  39. My husband and i are in a rental right now that is a red matte/glossy thick stripes combo on the walls . . . as if its not already bad enough the floors on the kitchen are faux marble green linoleum. Its like christmas from hell in there haha and to top it off, we're thinking of trying to purchase the house and my husband actually likes the pinstriped red walls, i foresee myself painting them something less gagtastic while hes at work :)

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  41. My husband and I bought our first home 2 summers ago and COMPLETELY gutted it and renovated everything. There are only outside walls and some interior load bearing walls that are the same as they were. It took 16 weeks and the only person we hired was the plumber, the rest was family. Never. Again! LOL! Although it was before our wedding and was actially a great way for our families to get to know each other.

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  42. If only my bf could muster up some of your motivation. He went so far as ripping up all the tiles/cupboards in his apartment till it was an empty concrete shell.... 5 months later and he still says every weekend "this week im going to start the apartment" GGGRRRRRRRRRRR

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  43. You're lucky you didn't have to peel any wallpaper. D: I did in my old bedroom in my mom's house, and then I offered to re-do her spare room last summer because I knew she wouldn't ever do it herself. In there I had to peel TWO layers. One on top, and then one underneath that was extremely old and thin so it only came of in tiny bits at a time. Word of advice, NEVER put up wallpaper. You'll have to peel it off someday you you'll hate yourself. haha

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  44. Wow, what a difference already! It's coming along nicely!

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  45. It's such a huge difference! Home renovations are definitely a massive adventure, and I hope you'll always enjoy it!

    -Kati

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  46. Thanks for the update. I really appreciate the efforts you have made for this blog.

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  47. If you are renovating your home in enjoying manner it is always breath taking.It can effect your pocket but the joy it gives is above all the sorrow we faced in doing it.

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  48. Its worth it just to haveb everything like you like it! And knowing that you won't have to do it again for awhile it worth it!

    Sar

    www.etsy.com/shop/owleyevintage

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  49. I say it's worth it! There's nothing like having a home that expresses who you are as an individual. It's unique and intriguing!

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