Friday, August 12, 2011

Home Is Where the Heart Is

There is only one thing my husband and I fight about, and it's home improvements.  I am sure we aren't the only ones, we tend to take on a lot all at once and it just always turns into an argument.  My husband always says, "if you own a home you better learn to work on it."  A statement probably learned from his Dad, who feels the exact same way.

I am from a different school of thought.  We have the money, we saved the money, so let's hire someone to do all the work while we sit around and enjoy our summer.  Nope, Ian always wants to do it himself.  And, it has totally paid off, he has learned so much, bonded with his dad and our house definitely has all of our blood, sweat and tears built into it.  As much as we argue, after it's all done, it was totally worth it.

Usually Ian does all the work, with the help of his Dad, and I end up getting upset about something falling through the ceiling, the noise, the mess, etc.  I guess I am a girl that way, I just hate when things are disorganized and want everything to be perfect.  Two summers ago we took on remodeling our kitchen ourselves, this year Ian and his dad replaced all the attic insulation and we painted our house and redid our planters.  I am so stupid and think things like, "How hard can it be?"  And projects are always more work, take longer and have a lot more involved than I thought.  It has been a crazy couple of years, and we have worked super hard, but our house is SO much cuter for it and after all of it - it WAS worth it.  (Ian - are you reading this?  I love you!)

I bought our house in 2004 with the help of my best friends Jenny and Christie at Twins & Co Realty.  I was only 25 and it was my first HUGE purchase and I knew nothing about buying a house.  These ladies walked me through it and helped me out so much, and I ended up with a 1959 block home in south Scottsdale, AZ.  It had the layout I always wanted, was over 1700 square feet (big compared to my 1100 square foot rental) and I knew that over the years I could update it.  Boy, I had no idea what those words meant until I met Ian.  

Here are some before and after pictures from when I bought it in 2004 and then when I decorated it and moved my furniture in (keep in mind, I was younger so my decorating style wasn't the greatest):

(Living room)



(Master bedroom)

More pics from that era:

(Den shelving)

(Kitchen window)

(Living room door)

Obviously it needed a more modern update as I got older.  Here is our living room now (I know, what was I thinking with that red and leopard?!):

(Yes, all those dots are hand painted.  There were no stick on decals back then.  My sister-in-law Kelly, Ian and I finished them at 2am before our engagement party in November 2007).

And pictures of the den and our bedroom updated:

And, now the kitchen.  Here is a video Ian made of us remodeling it and some pics:

(Original kitchen when I bought the house.)

(View from living room after we painted it in 2004.)

(The teeny tiny window that became MUCH bigger when we started taking the cabinets down!)

(The wall we knocked down.  There was old water pipes, a gas line and lots of electrical in it.)

(We did ALL the work ourselves with the help of our family.  The only thing we hired anyone for was the electrical.)

(My birthday almost 3 years ago.  This was where the wall was from the original pic above.)

(Bigger window!)

(New door, paint, molding, everything!)

(Brighter view right after we finished remodeling.)

(Brighter view before we put the hood in.)

Now the paint and flower beds.  Here is our house before:

And during - this summer:

(We had to scrape our paint because it was chipping and on the 3rd test we found out the original layer was lead paint.  Our house had only been painted twice since 1959.)

(It was all over everywhere and was a mess before we realized it was lead.  We had to spend a lot of extra moola and time cleaning it up.)

(Before we painted we tried to fix our automatic pool fill and then ended up replacing our entire pool pump with a new one.  That set us back from painting too while Henry and Ian installed it.)

(Since I'm not allowed to hire anyone, I have to help!)

(My father-in-law Henry - he has helped us SO much with every project!) 

And now:

(Never mind our plant coverings, it's summer in AZ but we wanted to plant!)

(Succulent/cactus garden)

So, there you have it, this is how we spent the first half of our summer this year and our whole summer two years ago.  It is indeed a labor of love and has taught us a lot about each other and ourselves.  A couple that can remodel together, can do anything - I truly believe this.  My husband and our families have worked so hard to make this house so nice for us, and I can't wait to one day raise our own little family in it.  

This is another small blessing I suppose.  If I had been pregnant this year we wouldn't have replaced 20 year old crumbling insulation and harmful lead paint - both things that were probably making us sick.  A blessing in disguise and one more step to making our house a safer place for our next little muffin.  

We are ready for you little baby, just patiently waiting for you to make your appearance again . . .


  1. Wow girl, you have been busy! I love home improvement projects too because it's so fun to change a space that you're in each day. Comparing before and after pictures is really fun too. I love, love, love those "flower-like" light fixtures that you have in your den. Where'd you find those? Loved your video too, what a fun way to remember all the work you guys did together!

  2. Thanks! It has been a lot of work and as I look back, we had some fun too. Ikea makes those fixtures, cheap but a pain in the butt to assemble! Your nursery makeover posts were some of my favorites too!

    Watched The Business of Being Born the other day and thought of you. Wow, what an eye opener!

  3. The Business of Being Born is definently one of my all-time favorites! I thought of you the other day too...I finally got that Body by Bethenny workout DVD (I think you told me about it a long time ago) and I really like it! ( : Bethenny is hilarious and it seems to be a great full body workout. Thanks again for sharing about it.

  4. I seriously do that DVD once a week with the weight portion and double booty bonus! I know it all by heart and I love it, glad you like it too! :)