Hi reader! One small note before we get started: that title may be a bit misleading. Okay, okay…it’s a complete lie. The truth is we just bought this home and since this real life, not HGTV, total home renovations don’t happen in a week. In fact, most minor renovations don’t happen in a week. It took us ten days of work to peel wallpaper and paint two bedrooms and a bath, so expect that pace. We hope you’ll come along for the probably years-long journey as we turn this once-loved house into our dream home.
What can you expect from this blog?
- Human names for our houses (surprise! We actually have three we’ll be blogging about!)
- A full kitchen renovation*
- A bathroom addition
- Bathroom renovations
- Changing the purpose of nearly every room
- Roommate shenanigans
- AirBnB and rental pros, cons and lessons learned
- Mistakes (lots of them)
- Shoutouts to our friends who are totally willing to help with all of this
- Inspiration, we hope
- DIY ideas
- Budget breakdowns
- Pretty pictures
- Real before and afters
- Wallpaper (please, Zach?)
- Budgeting tips and real-life numbers, the boy likes numbers
- Daydreams of saving all the houses
- Polls where you can help us be decisive (not a strong suit)
- Crafts and weekend projects
- Cute pup photos
- Artwork ideas
- A glimpse into the lives of two non-professionals trying to restore the life into a home with great bones, on a budget
*At least one, possibly two! Or even two and a half!
Who are we?
Maybe this part should have come first. Anyway, I’m Cici. The boy is Zach. The dog is Snape (yes, like from Harry Potter. He liked it, what more can I say?).
I (Cici) grew up with DIYer parents in a home perpetually in a state of renovation. I didn’t have a living room until I was 13. I redesigned my bedroom every few years, repainting a sewing table I still have today with each new color scheme. The house I grew up in had hardwood floors throughout, so I’ve never really dealt with carpet. I chose the tile for our only bathroom when I was 8 (it was a great choice I still stand by, unlike my bedroom schemes). I quickly moved from holding the flashlight/screwdriver/insert random support item while my dad worked to hammering in nails to using the miter saw. He taught me everything I know and always taught safety first (which is why he will be so disappointed when he sees me sawing in flip flops or knocking down drywall in sunglasses – should I even tell him about this blog?). I insisted on painting my bedroom gray a few years before the trend swept the nation, despite my mom’s strong objections, and rocked millwork accent walls before they were cool. I bought my first house at 21 and did a top-to-bottom renovation, including installing nearly 1,500 sq ft of hardwood floors and completely gutting the powder room to the studs. I bought my second house at 28 and my third at 29. I have a soft spot for old houses and get way too excited walking through a house in literal shambles because I can see the potential! My only real “hobbies” are home renovation and reading home blogs, so I figured I should try my hand at one. I’m also hoping this keeps us accountable in fixing up Mildred House on a reasonable timeline (yes, yes I’ll introduce Mildred House in a second!).
Zach should probably write his own bio but since he’s not here I’ll write it for him. He’s a numbers guy – finance major, procurement specialist, professional negotiator. He’ll make sure we stay on budget (ha) with all our renovations. He grew up in the Atlanta suburbs in the same house his parents still live in. His dad has an incredible workshop – impeccably organized, it’s a dream. His dad is super handy and is always tinkering with something – switching parts on vintage lawnmowers, making wooden shields and swords for his grandsons, reading woodworking books. Zach, however, did not learn any of this from his dad. Kid had never painted a wall before last week. Let me say that again for emphasis, Zach had never painted a room yet agreed to buy a fixer-upper. Isn’t he wonderful? He bought his first home a few years ago in an up-and-coming area in Atlanta. It’s beautiful and needed nothing more than new paint and carpet (which he hired out). He’s proving his dedication to this new hobby already though, and I can’t wait to see all that he learns. He’s pretty great so far.
Meet the Houses
This blog will mostly focus on our primary house, Mildred House, since she needs the most love. And also because it’s where we live… But, we each kept our houses as investment properties when we decided to move in together. Beatrice (Cici’s house) will be used as a crashpad. Gammon (Zach’s house) is being rented by our sweet friends. We’ll talk a bit about them on the blog, what it’s like to be landlords, what the heck a crashpad is, etc. We’ll also dig in our phone archives to document some of the projects we’ve done on each of the houses already, and there’s sure to be more.
Mildred House, named after the single owner Ms. Mildred, is a 1963 brick ranch on a full partially-finished basement with an apartment. She has three bedrooms and two baths (technically a master, though the master bath is teensy – pretty sure it was once a closet). She also has a formal living room, formal dining room, kitchen, family room/den and an addition we call the sunroom. We have lots of plans in the works though that will change pretty much the entire footprint of the house.
Beatrice is a 1922 brick English cottage-style bungalow. She has three bedrooms and two baths, including a master suite, a formal dining room, living room and kitchen. I did a lot of cosmetic work, some big-ticket but not so sexy projects (new roof, new windows, refinished hardwoods), renovations to improve storage/flow and decorated her just to where I wanted her…then moved.
Gammon was built in 2005. He has three bedrooms and two and a half baths, open-concept style kitchen/dining/living space. He also has a laundry room and pantry which I’m very jealous of. He’s a beautiful two-story craftsman in an up-and-coming area. He also has a hot tub. Wait, why didn’t we move in there?!
Well, we’re already over a thousand words (this is nothing, just wait, I’m very chatty) so I suppose I should cut it off here. To try to reconcile some of your trust with the whole title trick, I’ll leave some before photos here for you. Feast your eyes on these beauties*:
*Note: These are the listing photos so they don’t fully represent how disgusting the carpet was or how stained the walls were or how small the kitchen is, and generally made it appear nicer than it is. For context, it took my mom and me 15 hours (each) just to make the kitchen and two bathrooms habitable…