Monday, September 19, 2011

our home {in process}

A few weeks ago, Erika invited me to guest post with her.  I shared some things my husband and I learned since becoming homeowners in April.
me and the mister soon after buying our home
We both lived in Boston for a few years (five for him and three for me), yet loved the idea of having our own yard and driveway (among many other urban traits that are hard to possess in Boston).  Additionally, I had lived in several parts of the US growing up, while my husband is from Tennessee, so we agreed we wanted our house to have a New England feel and look.  I just couldn't get into owning a ranch...doesn't "feel" like New England to me.  After trudging through A LOT of snow since we were looking at houses in January/February we placed an offer on a 89 year old colonial that fit our "must have" list:
  1. More than one bathroom (most homes in Massachusetts only have one)
  2. Formal dining area
  3. Three bedrooms
The actual home buying process was pretty difficult and quite drawn out since the property was a foreclosure.  Following two months of waiting, we finally closed and were able to move into our first home.
the house in April, just after we bought it (at least there wasn't any snow when we moved in)
Thankfully, my husband is very skilled and truly enjoys carpentry (sidenote: I first learned this when were dating and he offered to build a TV stand for me and my roommates...it turned out beautifully).  In the first six months we were married he built this table and the top is made out of an old window!  We use it as our coffee table with storage inside (sorry I don't have a better photo).
coffee table, the top made from a window
Since we moved in, five months ago, a lot of work has been done, and all by my husband.  I often say "we" but I mean him (...I'm working on that).  Unfortunately, we he (now it sounds like I'm blaming him) has not completed one room yet, so there are no true "before and after" photos.  But the kitchen has come a long way!  We both love to cook and felt it was most important to start there.  We have new cupboards and counters and are waiting to refinish or install a new floor.
photos of the progress: (1) widening the doorway between kitchen + dining room
(2) pulling up three layers of linoleum over hardwood (3) new cabinet + pantry from
IKEA and counter before it was cut (4) laying tile in the second bathroom/laundry room
We've learned a lot in the process of owning a home in five short months.
  • It's a lot of work...but you can do whatever you want (paint, knock down walls and rip up floors) as a homeowner...if you're up to the job.
  • The yard (among other things) can wait.  Decide what your priority(ies) is/are and focus your efforts there.
  • There are discounts + sales to take advantage of!  Sign up with Lowe's for their coupons by filling out an online form telling them you've moved (which Home Depot also honors).
  • Don't be afraid to return it if it doesn't work out.  Home Depot has a very liberal return policy; you may wind up with store credit but that's better than having something hang around you won't use.
  • Almost anything can be undone or redone.  I'm talking moving doorways and I first learned this when we started gutting the kitchen...down.to.the.studs.
I don't take my husband's hard work for granted.  I am so grateful for his skill and willingness to learn new things.  He had never moved an electrical line when we bought the house, but he's since learned a good deal about electrical, installing boxes and running new lines.

Do you own or rent?  What have you learned in the process?

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