Holy moley. I have been a homeowner for three whole years. Wow. Buying a home is a big undertaking, no matter what. I found out the hard way that even in the 21st century (at least in the South), buying a home is incredibly difficult if you’re a woman. I was asked why my husband wasn’t looking at houses with me and all sorts of other impertinent questions, and one realtor refused to show me the home because I wasn’t married.
I hunted for houses for a year. Of course, I was looking in a very specific price range (aka: low) and also knew the neighborhood I wanted, so for me, it was worth it to hunt for so long. When I found my house, I was ecstatic. Wood floors, 12-foot ceilings, a big backyard, a huge closet, and a really big kitchen. So I made an offer. Thus began two months of hell. The buyer was absolutely nutso. She kept attempting to back out of the contract. She lied to me about the appliances and eventually threatened to kidnap my dog if I didn’t pay her $800 (for a 10-year-old washer and fridge). Yeah. So closing day wasn’t exactly the thrilling moment I had anticipated.
But. I have absolutely, positively loved owning my own home. It is so incredibly satisfying to be able to paint walls and move furniture and even weatherproof. I have worked to make my home my own, and I love it. The most obvious change I’ve made happened last summer when I hired my sister’s boyfriend (who does such work) to paint the exterior. I always hated the butter yellow with cream and blue (!) trim. The screen door was hideous and blue, while the front door was burgundy. There were other projects I wanted to come before it, but I had some exposed wood (the prior owner didn’t prep well before painting) and knew that would only deteriorate further if left unpainted. So here’s the house on the day I moved in way back in 2009:
And here’s what it looks like today:
Here is a rundown of everything I’ve done to the house with links (if I have them) to the projects:
- Painted bedroom, living room (with sunporch floor), kitchen, front bedroom (all in 2009)
- Changed fan to light fixture in living room (2009)
- Ripped out scraggly rose beds in front of house; planted beds (2009)
- Had central air and heat (with ductwork) installed (2010)
- Laid vinyl tile over awful linoleum in bathroom (2010)
- Painted kitchen again (2011)
- Painted dining room (2011)
- Had bookshelves built in dining room (2011)
- Had exterior of house painted (2011)
- Painted front door (2011)
- Tore out warped cabinets in laundry room (2011)
- Sanded and painted kitchen cabinets (2011)
- Scraped and painted cement porch steps (2012)
- Repainted trim in (future) half bath (2012)
Here are just a few things I’ve learned:
- For any given home project, you will make at least half a dozen trips to the hardware store.
- How to cut in! No more taping for me when I paint.
- That unless it’s electricity or plumbing, I’m not afraid to do it.
- That people will think you’re crazy half the time.
- That nowhere is as good as home.
- That the smallest projects take you the absolute longest to get to.
- Budget about a third of any project’s costs extra for random purchases/takeout food/gasoline spent going to hardware stores.
- That having your dad around to help you hang cabinets is so great.
- Even if you can do it yourself, it’s always nice to have company/someone to catch you if you fall off the ladder/someone to dial 911.
- Mowing the lawn sucks.
- Wearing paint-spattered clothing to the hardware store is a badge of honor.
- Oh yeah, designate some painting clothes.
- Just pick a damn paint color already. 🙂
- A 6-foot ladder will not reach lights mounted to a ceiling that’s 12-feet above you.
- A detached garage is a scary place.
- That Valspar paint is truest to the color card.
I’ll include a small gallery of some of the projects/rooms I haven’t blogged about. If you’re curious about any of them, tell me in the comments, and I’ll plan a Fridays at Home post! And if you’re a seasoned homeowner, what are some things you’ve learned?