Saturday, April 21, 2012

How I've tried to make my house my own

When Matt and I bought our house in Paducah we topped out our budget.  I had eyes bigger than my wallet and fell in love with the house.  The problem is I'm never completely satisfied with something someone else has picked out.  Nothing was in bad condition in Paducah or even ugly for that matter but it just wasn't "me."  The problem with maxing out your house don't have room to make changes.  Other than paint (which I did a lot of) we had to slowly do things over time.  I found in that house constantly thinking of another project that I could do to make the house better for us.

When we decided to move to Murray we took a different approach to house hunting.   We were trying to "downsize" our payment and streamline our life (aka get rid of the clutter, crap, and space we were wasting).  When we started looking at houses we knew that we would have to put some work into it.  House after house wasn't quite right.  When I walked into this house it was perfect....well almost.  It had "good bones" (a term we learned from our hours and years of watching HGTV and proudly use like pros).  Matt and I enjoy watching renovation shows and dreaming of things we can do.  Our realtor learned that we had a special eye for things we could do and usually immediately agreed on a course of action needed or potential for any house.  She even showed us a few houses that she said in their condition she wouldn't show to anyone else because we would be able to see the vision.

We've tackled small projects in the past and I've painted A LOT in the past.  Though we weren't sure about all of it we felt we could totally tackle a house reno that was cosmetic in nature.  We were excited to find something that had a great base but was just like a blank canvas begging for us to put our stamp on it.  The only hinderance (and something that I don't recommend is that we began this entire process when I was about 25 weeks pregnant).  Originally we had looked and thought we'd be in a house before the years end.  I'd never imagined it would take until my 30th week (aka not so mobile anymore) to get finished.

The things that made our house "the one" was....

* 1st of all the backyard.  Our house in Paducah had an amazing backyard which is pretty much what sold Matt on the house.  Not only was our backyard good size, it was fenced and to Matt's delight it had an extra garage.  We spent many birthday parties, summer days, and cool nights sitting by the fire in that backyard.  When we started looking the yard options were awful.  Either the yard was overlooking a neighbor dog that looked like he wanted to eat my kids for lunch or was a less than appealing view of neighbors I was sure would be arrested weekly.  When we saw this yard (3 acre spread of flat space and completely privately blocked by trees) we were sold!

* Next our house had some key features: hardwood floors (nothing old that needed to be ripped out and replaced - AKA $$$), tile in kitchen and bath (again with no extra money needed for ripping out).

* The windows needed to be replaced but other than that everything was ready for us to make it "pretty" and not just functional.  Good layout, and just ready for our stamp.

After some tough negotiating (something we'd never done in the past - our history had been getting so anxious we'd never find another house we loved as much and getting scared we'd lose it and paying more than we should have) we were able to strike a deal.

Matt and I got busy watching shows, browsing lowes, and taking pictures from everywhere to hone in our style.  The key to a project of this magnitude, in my opinion, is a husband who is on board.  We spent 2 months of working all day and staying up till midnight working on the house.  We only wore work clothes and were covered in paint, dust, or other reno junk at all times.  We did nothing but work on this house.  The crafty girl in me wanted to do everything possible ourselves.  The tight budget we were on got Matt on board for this.

I was convinced when we started this project that I could achieve a totally custom look and make this house completely us for less than you can buy cookie cutter basic option stuff.  At times our styles differed and Matt and I both seriously buckled and doubted a few of our choices in project process but in the end we totally love it.  This house may be a downsize for us, and we do have a little less space and storage....but being able to customize and design a blank canvas to perfectly suit our needs has allowed us to enjoy this house and be proud of it in a way we haven't been before.

I'm going to be creating a series of posts (for those of you that have asked me) to explain and show some of the things that we did along the way.  I wanted to share the "cheap" finds and cool money saving ways that I found to get a look for less.

I hope you enjoy!

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