Update on home renovation projects

One of the greatest endeavors we undertook this year was buying our first home and doing much of the renovations. In Southern California the real estate market is over-inflated, and our search to find an affordable home took quite some time. The home buying process in itself is terrifying and tedious, however in a market where there are competing cash buyers another element comes into play. My husband and I wanted a home in an area with good school districts, safe and in between our job locations, which in this region is not easy to come by. We could have sacrificed these requirements and bought a newer and larger home, however in order to buy in our ideal neighborhood we chose to sacrifice new fixtures and size. At first my husband was gung-ho to do much of the renovations himself and wanted to get all the original popcorn ceilings and install new floors before we moved in. He had two weeks of paid paternity leave remaining from after our son was born, and chose to use it to work on our house. 

This project turned out to be a lot more than we anticipated. The first week included scraping off the popcorn ceiling that was throughout all the rooms, except the bathrroms. We used a dilution of dish soap and water spray and then scraped off the popcorn ceiling with paint scrapers. The process itself was fast, but left a huge mess all over the floors. The ceilings had to be prepped to be painted with dry wall mud. This was the most tedious task, in my opinion. Here is my husband scrapping dry wall mud in the stairwell.
This took several days with three people. The downstairs flooring in the bathroom, kitchen and living room was a nicer linoleum that was put in by the previous owners. My husband and I originally wanted to replace this floor, however were advised against it by several people familiar with flooring, who advised us it was not only expensive material, but also very water and scratch resistant. The stairs and the upstairs flooring, however had to go. There was shag carpet throughout the stairs and the upstairs. We took box cutters to all of that ourselves and ripped it out. We then had to go rip out the nails on the original plywood floors and rip out all the old baseboards with crow bars, a labor intensive project my husband and I (mostly husband) took on ourselves.

We were originally planning on putting in laminate flooring on the stairs and upstairs rooms, however were advised to put carpet on the stairs by several people due to our young son climbing the stairs. We picked out a carpet and paid to have that installed on the stairs, as well as a nice gray/brown laminate flooring in the upstairs hall and bedrooms. Throughout this whole process we had crown moulding installed, which ended up slowing everything down as we had to rip down the original poor work done by the first guy and hire another guy to redo it all! The final look came  out nice, but the process was a headache. We also picked out a new ceramic tile for the upstairs bathroom, and my husband with the help of our friend installed that. Our friend ended up priming and painting all of the walls a light gray color, which I am not actually sure of the brand or exact color. I eventually want to do an accent wall to break up all the gray, but that will be further down the line. Here are the after pictures of the upstairs.

Upstairs Bedroom Before

Upstairs bedroom after
Upstairs Bathroom Before (ignore the home inspector)

Upstairs Bathroom After

We replaced the tile in the upstairs bathroom with a new ceramic tile, which was cut and installed by my husband.  We have not replaced the toilet,vanity yet, or bathtub yet,however it's on the ever growing list of things we would like to replace.


Not much has been done to the kitchen yet. My husband installed a new range to give us more counter space, but we would like to get new cabinets and a stove and dishwasher eventually.
Stove and Range Before

With range installed after
Dining Area Before

Dining Area After

My husband installed this hanging light fixture in the dining area we bought from Lowe's. We also replaced the light switch and outlet coverings with more modern-looking ones.

New Outlet Coverings

Stairwell Before

Stairwell After
We replaced the carpet on the stairwell. We picked this one out from a flooring store and paid to have it installed. We also paid a welder to put in more rungs in the bannister for safety as advised by the home inspector. The bannister is extremely ugly, and on my list of things to replace when we get the extra cash.

Lastly, the upstairs patio is in need of some d├ęcor and plants. I am in the process of putting a raised bed and some plants up there to give it some more life.
That is all we have done so far. I will post more updates as it progresses.

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