We just moved in three weeks ago, but there is already a long list of items that John and I want to update on our home. For any new readers, John is a general contractor/handyman. He owned his own handyman company here in Charlotte and he worked for himself when we lived in Phoenix as a sort of jack-of-all-trades. While I’m lucky that John can do a decent amount of updates himself, he can’t do everything and there are some areas where we’ll need to hire out (coughelecticalworkcough).
So, here’s what we’re planning on doing to our home over the next few years.
New House Remodel Checklist
Paint the entryway. This is something John will, thankfully, do on his own. The walls were a yellowy color (which you can see in the photo) and I wanted them to be a blue/grey like we had in our rental house. Yeah, the color I chose was a LOT darker and more blue than it looked in the store. Unfortunately, we purchased 5 gallons of this color and most likely won’t use any of it. We bought samples of two other colors this past weekend (both natural tans) that I hope will look good. John’s deadline for this project is the end of October (when my parent’s are visiting!). I’ll make sure to post an update once this is done.
Update: We chose a color and John painted over the blue!! Yay! The entryway looks good now, but we still have a long way to go. The ceilings are super high by the front door (which you can’t see), plus we’ll need to paint the upstairs foyer because all those walls are connected.
Fix the gas stove. We have a gas stove that I actually really like even though I thought I’d hate it. Unfortunately, about a week ago the electrical part blew out. John tried fixing it but just can’t get to the bottom of the problem. If you turn the stove on, gas comes out but it doesn’t light. So for now we’re using a lighter to light it when we need to cook. My dad might be able to fix this problem, but if not we will rely on Contractor Connection to hook us up with someone who can get the job done. Contractor Connection connects consumers to quality professionals for any of your home remodeling needs. Estimates are free and quality is guaranteed. You can’t beat that, especially for people like us who are new to the area.
Remodel the kitchen. This is a project that will be done within the next 2-3 years. Kitchen remodels are expensive and we need to save money before diving into this project. Luckily, I do like the layout of the kitchen, so all of the changes will be strictly cosmetic. We want to change the back splash, add granite countertops, remove the wallpaper, repaint the kitchen, and get new appliances (everything except the fridge). John can do some of the work (wallpaper, painting, and installing new appliances), but the rest we’ll have to hire out. While John technically could do it by himself, he really does not have the time with working FT and having the kids. I do not want to live in a construction zone (especially in the kitchen!) for any longer than I have to.
If you are also in need of a kitchen remodel, call Contractor Connection to get a free quote. Preferred contractors come with a 3-year workmanship warranty.
Paint every other area of the house. The paint colors in here aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re not our taste. Eventually, this whole house will be painted. The entryway is first on the list because the yellowy color was just something that I couldn’t get on board with. Everything else will be completed within two years, hopefully. Again, John will do all of the painting but it’s just a matter of finding the time.
Furnish the house. Does this count as remodeling? I’m saying “yes” simply because it could probably cost us as much as a kitchen remodel (just kidding, sort of). Our house is furnished for the most part, with the exception of three rooms: the formal living area, the bedroom attached to the master, and the screened in porch. The screened in porch is our first priority and the only reason we don’t have it furnished now is because it’s really hard to find patio furniture this time of year in Charlotte. We will probably order something online from Home Depot within the next few weeks, though. Next up will be the formal living room. I want a simple couch, a rug and a coffee table. Finally, we’re turning the room attached to the master into a media room. The homeowner before us used this room as an office, but it has a tiny tiny window, is far from the rest of the house and there’s already a room I can use as an office downstairs (plus let’s be real, I work on the couch). So, after much debacle on what to do with that room, we finally agreed on a media room. Realistically, we probably won’t furnish this for 3-5 years as it’s definitely not a priority.
Redo the flooring. The carpet is brand new – yay! And I’m a weirdo who actually likes carpet in the bedrooms. It’s cozier to me and I kind of like vacuuming. The rest of the house is light hardwoods. While I don’t mind them, I prefer dark hardwood floors. This is something John can hopefully refinish instead of replace, which would save us a ton of money.
How to Save Money on Home Improvements
Insource whatever you can. Small projects and things like painting can normally be done by yourself. There’s no need to hire someone to do something you can do on your own, especially if you’re on a budget.
Outsource when needed and do so strategically. John worked in the construction business for more than 15 years and we can both tell you that it is HARD to find good, quality work. There are many contractors out there who will take significantly longer on a project than they originally told you, or they just won’t show up one day, or they’ll end up charging you a lot more than you originally thought. It can be a mess. If you have to outsource, interview a good amount of potential candidates before deciding. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals and use trusted sites like Contractor Connection to find the right contractor for the job.
Save up money and pay in cash. Unless the project is absolutely necessary (such as flood damage, mold, a foundation issue, etc), save up for it and pay in cash. John and I are currently rebuilding our emergency fund. Once that’s complete, we will save up for our remodeling projects. Going into debt for granite counters or new furniture is never a good idea. And if you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know I’m all about enjoying life! However, that doesn’t mean financing non-necessities that really won’t add that much happiness to your life.
In your current home, what is it that you want to update?!
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Brian @DebtDiscipline saysat
The new house look beautiful, congrats! We have been in our house for over 15 years, so we have a lot of cosmetic refreshing to, mainly paint. I just completed painting the exterior of our home and it looks great.
Sarah Brooks saysat
Awesome!! Repainting makes such a difference! It makes the whole house seem cleaner and fresher, plus gives it a new look if you change the color. Congrats on painting the outside – that is no easy task!!!
I love remodeling and changing things so there are an endless number of projects I could take on. Right now, I am not sure what to do! There is a wall I want to knock out one day but it would require us to redo all of our floors downstairs.
Sarah Brooks saysat
Oh wow that sounds like a project! But if it expands the space then it’s worth it. I LOVE our big, open floor plan!!
Christina @ Embracing Simple saysat
LOVED getting to see more of your house 🙂 It’s seriously so beautiful! These are awesome tips that I’ll have to keep in mind. I think it’s actually fun to be able to remodel things and then pick out exactly what you want everything to look like. Our house now is completely updated, which was convenient when we first moved in, but I wouldn’t have picked a single countertop or cabinet out myself. It’s just not my style! So I’m excited to be able to renovated a new home in the future!
Sarah Brooks saysat
Yes!!! It can be fun to change it as you save money and grow your income. I’m really excited to make it our own!!
House projects are so exciting! How about mixing white with the 5 gallons of blue and making a lighter shade to use somewhere else?
Sarah Brooks saysat
We considered doing that actually!! Only then we would have a TON of that paint and I can only think of two rooms that I would want that color. For now, I think we’ll paint the guest room the blue color and possibly the dining room, but not sure haha
Shirria @ GDTH saysat
I love your kitchen and the floors, probably because they resemble mine! In my home, I’d really love to update/finish the kitchen and the upstairs the most. Baby Prince is still in our room and desperately needs his own room for all his toys.
Sarah Brooks saysat
Awesome!! I like our floors too 🙂 John wants them darker eventually, but I’m afraid then nothing will match. Right now the lighter colored walls all match the flooring which is nice. And yes, definitely get your baby over to his room!!!
It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room, we painted a bunch of rooms with brighter colors to open them up and it made a world of difference. Plus, it’s a quick and (relatively) easy way to have a big visual impact without spending a ton.
DC @ Young Adult Money saysat
My wife and I bought a total fixer-upper for our first home and we’ve been here about 3 years now. I’m starting to find value in putting off whatever we can for as long as we can. I would list everything we’d like to change but it would literally be about 30+ items long. All I know is our next house won’t be a fixer-upper 😉