Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1 Year House-Aversary: What We Know Now

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of us becoming homeowners with our old fossil! So today we thought we would recount all the things we've learned along the way, and how far we've come in just 1 year.

What We Know Now:

1. The saying is true - once you become a homeowner, the to-do list never ends.
2. Never underestimate the benefits of having good neighbors, especially when there's 4 feet of snow outside.
3. Every project has a hump. Deal with it.
4. Every project is an adventure.
5. When you dig in your yard, you never know what you'll find.
6. Like a cement patio.
7. And wooden scraps. And doors.
8. Ripping out tiles is an art.
9. Baking soda can fix anything.
11. If you want it done right, DIY.
12. If you encounter a problem, rig it.
13. Research your house before you demo it.
14. Asbestos is BAD.
15. But wearing crazy apocalypse-style masks to do laundry is kinda fun.
16. Improvisation is either lazy or ingenious. Only time will tell.
17. Nothing in the house is level.
18. The dog likes to eat carpet padding. And drywall. And grout. And nails.
19. The dog must be special. Or he knows something we don't.
20. We must be special - we tuck him in at night.
21. Being poor at Lowe's has it's upsides.
22. Wood expands and contracts.
23. Paint doesn't.
24. Closely examine all closets - they could be hiding showers.
25. All projects take at least 2x longer than you expect.
26. Don't assume the employees at Lowe's know everything.
27. Demo is the best part of any project.
28. Home improvement is appropriate for any occasion - holidays included.
29. There's nothing that a car-jack and bucket can't fix.
30. Leaving time capsules for the next owners/demo'er to find is like leaving buried treasure without a treasure map.

And finally: being homeowners is about making memories.

Our Progress After 1 Year:

Roughly half the house has been remodeled to date. We think that's pretty good! Are you ready for a trip down memory lane? Here's all the havoc we've wrecked on this ol' Fossil to date so far:

Exterior Before:
When we bought our house the exterior wasn't in such bad shape. It mostly needed a few upgrades for security purposes, so we installed a new front door, storm door, lights, got a new garage door and did some landscaping to up the curb appeal.

Exterior Now:

Living Room Before:

The Living Room was one reason we fell in love with the house. It boasted a great cathedral style ceiling, large picture window which lets in plenty of light, and a corner rock fireplace. However, the existing floor tile was falling apart and the carpet gave off a foul odor. So, we ripped out the carpet and installed wood laminate flooring, new tile and painted the walls.

Living Room Now:

Dining Area Before:

The Dining Area connects to the Living Room, so we ripped out the carpet (this time lovely outdoor carpet), installed wood laminate flooring, removed the door, painted the walls and installed a new light fixture.

Dining Area Now:

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen Now:

Basement Before:

The basement was another big challenge we faced in remodeling our new home. To update it (and make it smell better), we installed new drywall, ripped out the carpet (along with the vinyl tiles underneath), installed new doors and painted

Basement Now:

Guest Bedroom Before:

Our best guess is that the Guest Bedroom was intended to be a Nebraska Cornhuskers room (people here in good 'ole Omaha are huge Huskers fans) due to the red and black color theme. However, we had a different vision in mind. We installed new carpet, new doors and painted for a light, airy and welcoming room that guests would love to stay in.
Guest Bedroom Now:

Guest Bathroom Before:
The guest bathroom needed a bit of work. We have big plans for this space, but so far we haven't had too much time to spend on it. To date, we've painted the trim and the wood wainscoting, brightening and cleaning up the space. Oh yes, and we also discovered a hidden shower.

Guest Bathroom Now:

It's always nice to look back and see how far you've come along since the beginning, as it's easy to get caught up when in all the little things and you can miss the bigger impact that all the little things add up to when you're remodeling a house.

We will celebrate our 1 Year Homeowner Anniversary tonight by doing something a little special, and reminisce about what we were doing 1 year ago today when we signed the papers and were handed the keys: we drove straight to the house and walked around it, gazing in wonder that we actually owned the place, grabbed a few things from our rental to transport over (like our bamboo plant and some very important toilet paper) and then ate burritos from Chipotle on our living room floor, all the while feeling that everything was very surreal and disbelief that we possessed the keys to our very own house.

So we are wondering: What did you do the once you were handed the keys to your first very own casa? And if you aren't a homeowner yet, what do you think you will do once you find the house of your dreams? Did/will you run around and scream like a silly little kid (like we did)? Did/will you start moving your stuff over immediately (again, like we did!)? Did/will you start painting and remodeling that very same day? Let's swap First-Day As A Homeowner stories!

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  1. Oh my goodness Chelsea...Happy House-aversary! I didn't realize it's only been one year. You guys have done SO much!!! Aamazing..can only imagine what the next year will bring, or will you rest on your laurels and enjoy it a little.
    We're on our 3rd purchased home and it's always exciting to get the keys (we actually made settlement at the kitchen table in this house...REALLY exciting!). We usually get right to work, whether it's painting, pulling up carpeting or ripping down wall paper.


  2. Happy Anniversary! Love the recap - I'm experiencing kitchen envy and will need just as thorough of a makeover as yours did. The first thing I did in my house is paint the ceiling of EVERY room in the house and get the carpet cleaned. It was really quite nasty. We even found press-on fingernails in the carpet!

    Thanks for this post. Since I'm only a few months in, seeing what really CAN get done in just a year is wonderfully motivating.

  3. Wow - what a transformation! Just think of what you will accomplish in the next year! Happy houseaversary! I can't wait until I can celebrate my future house's anniversaries, too!

  4. Reading Sarah@TUDH's comments reminded me of our last house. It was SO dirty when we moved in. There were dust bunnies (on carpet) about 2 inches thick under where one of their beds had been.
    Great idea to paint the ceilings first, such a PITA job once everything is in!

  5. LOVE the recap and seeing all the amazing changes you guys have made. Everything looks so fresh and clean in the after pictures! I think my favorite transformation is the kitchen since you guys made such a huge impact on a small budget! :) Great inspiration for all of us. We have owned two homes, and I got right to work on both of them. Our first one I painted the living room while furniture was being carried through the door, and our second place I was ripping down wallpaper and puling up carpet right after we got the keys. I was so excited to see what it would look like once those two items were gone!
    Can't wait to see what you and Tom will do in the next year!!

  6. Congrats on the House anniversary! We are on our 2nd house now and were super excited with both closings. The first time we couldn't believe we finally owned our own home, and the 2nd time it was more "Oh boy what have we gotten ourselves into?!?!" (Our current house started out with 10 bedrooms & used to be an adult care facility. Currently it has 5 bedrooms & a whole lot of blood, sweat, & family memories)
    Can't wait to see how much you accomplish in the next year! It's so much fun don't you think?

  7. Freeze, Lady! What did you do with the fireplace? I have a corner stone edifice myself, and I need ideas!!!

    I love how light and bright everything is. You did a LOT in just a year. I need a Red Bull just reading this, honestly.

  8. Thanks, guys! We are so proud of what we've accomplish thus far, and are super-excited to see what we'll be able to tackle this next year. Maybe we'll even be able to get around to some really fun stuff - like decorating! I gotta admit, right now we only have 2 things hanging on any of our walls (10 points if you can guess what they are!).


  9. @Cynthia - How fun! Haha, the "What have we gotten ourselves into?" is probably what we will be thinking if/when we buy our 2nd house! I totally agree with you on the fun factor with remodeling - it's tons of fun, but it's also lots of hard work. But mostly fun. Especially when you see the end results! :)

    @Sunny - You're the first person to ever mention the "missing" fireplace in the After photo of the Living Room (I know, I really need to snap some more pics of it!). And honestly, we didn't do anything at all to it. It looks the exact same as the Before photo. I struggle between leaving it as-is and painting the whole thing white (I've seen that done before and the end result looks pretty fab). What do you think? Do you have plans for your own fireplace?


  10. Amen on #25. Projects always take me 10x longer than I expected them to. It's crazy! Your before and after pics are amazing. I love the wainscoting you have throughout the house. The guest room is adorable.

    Happy House Anniversary!

  11. my goodness, you've done a lot of work! you should be very proud of yourselves - your house looks amazing!! happy house-aversary!

    btw... how did you find out about the asbestos?

  12. Thanks, guys!

    Micah - Oh, the asbestos. Where to begin? The smelly, nasty, mold-infested carpet in the basement had to go - fast. So we attempted to tear it out, and soon realized it was GLUED (no padding) to tiles underneath it. So we bought a floor tile ripper-outter thing, and went to it. Well, those were old vinyl tiles and they didn't want to come out - so there was lots of smashing and bashing, with chunks flying and dust and debris all over and in the air. After a couple of weeks of this (it was hard work!), and we were 60% done, all of a sudden I thought of asbestos. I honestly don't know why, as I was pretty young when that big scare was going on, and it mostly involved ceilings, but I couldn't get asbestos out of my head. So I researched it, and what I learned stopped me cold: those tiles we were destroying? They could have asbestos in them! So we took a piece to a lab in town for testing, and sure enough they were 10% asbestos. After that, we had to spray down the area before working, wipe everything down when we were done, dispose of the tiles appropriately, wear asbestos-filtering masks (they were expensive!), and treat the area like a biohazard zone. No wonder the carpet was glued down - they didn't want to drill into the tiles to put down the carpet tacks because the tiles had asbestos. Anyways, the only way to be sure is to have the tile tested (was about 60$) by a lab, but sometimes you can tell if tiles are likely to contain asbestos due to the color, size, and age of the tile. Perhaps I should write a post on that little adventure... :)


  13. Came over from Met Monday and have been reading all the old posts! You have great photos and layout - I knew you must be involved in some sort of design!

    And then I read you're from Omaha and decided to follow! I'm an hour north of Des Moines! Come visit me -


  14. Hi Katie!

    Thanks for dropping by and becoming This Fresh Fossil's newest follower! :)



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