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DIY House Renovation Update


I know that quite a few of you get excited about what’s going on in my life from time to time, and I really don’t mind sharing, so here’s an update on what we’ve been doing since August 2, 2011.

Summary of What We’ve Done

Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve done with the house so far:

  • Removed wallpaper from the kitchen, entry way, bathroom, stairwell, and the 3 bedrooms upstairs. This took a LONG time! Probably 10 evenings of work.
  • Tore out the carpet from all bedrooms upstairs and removed the baseboards (along with all nails and staples as well). This was another couple nights worth of work.
  • Primed all bedrooms and the hallway upstairs. They are now ready to paint.
  • Removed plaster walls and ceiling in the dining room (took it down to the studs), insulated and drywalled. Removed the wall for the back entry and made the layout more open to the dining area.
  • Refinished all hardwood floors (about 1,000 square feet in total). We hired a professional to do this for us. He finished up the last coat of poly last night. I’m so glad we hired out this project. It was a ton of work and took him nearly a month to complete. I don’t even want to think about how long it would have taken us!
  • Removed the old doors from the dining room (that goes to the porch) and to the back entry. We widened them and put in brand new 36″ doors.
  • Removed the laminate tiles in the kitchen and half bath, as well as a layer of 1/4″ plywood sub-flooring and 1/2″ wood plank sub-flooring (probably the original hardwood for the kitchen – too bad it was beyond restoration). We then raised the entry floor to the height of the original kitchen sub-floor.
  • Finally, we decided to tile the kitchen and we have actually just finished laying the grout on Saturday night! We checked on it last night and it looked marvelous! We’re really going to love our newly renovated house.

Recent Shopping Trip to IKEA

Yesterday, we drove across the state to make some purchases from IKEA! As most of you men would probably agree, I think that shopping goes right next to “going to the dentist” on the FUN-O-METER. I try to make it fun and exciting for myself, but that only lasts for about 30 minutes. Then my legs start to get tired, I begin adding up expenses in my head, and then my attempt at a cheery attitude just goes south…

Somehow, my wife was able to put up with me on this trip and we succeded in finding quite a few things that we needed! We purchased a bed frame, a dresser, 2 night stands, two small lamps, a full length mirror, 3 sets of curtains, drawer handles, 4 rugs, and quite a few other odds and ends.

Overall, it was a very successful trip, and we made nearly made it out of there under budget (there were a few items that we really did need, so we actually went $50 over… but that’s ok)! All of our purchases are now at home and in our basement, ready for assembly.

Next on the Agenda

Now that we have the tile laid, we can start to put together the half-bath! The toilet can go back in, we can install our new pedestal sink, and also put up the wanes-coating and chair rail. 🙂

After that, we need to do some serious painting! In nearly ever single room of the house!

Oh! And I almost forgot. We’re having our major appliances delivered today! We purchased 4 LG appliances a few weeks ago: the refrigerator, range, microwave, and dishwasher; all stainless steel! It’s going to look great in our black and white kitchen. 🙂

Photos of Our Recent Project

Here are some photos of our recent DIY projects in the kitchen and the dining room!

This is our dining room AFTER we ripped out the plaster, put up new drywall, removed the wall diving the entry and dining room, and added a new door! But, notice the floors. They were in pretty rough shape, but we knew they could be revived! Plus, we wanted a much darker brown color.

Here is our dining room after much of the old finish had been removed. The wood is starting to look like brand new again! 🙂

Here’s our floors after they received their first coat of stain and Waterlox! Aren’t they an awesome color?!

This is our kitchen floor after we removed the top laminate, the plyrood subfloor, and the original hardwood (remember, this couldn’t be saved otherwise we would have kept it!). This photo was exciting because now it was time to reconstruct the kitchen!

Here’s our old kitchen floor (after we ripped it our of course)! 🙂

Luckily, my dad-in-law lives in the country so we could just take all the wood to his house and burn it all up! It was pretty fun to watch too.

We’re laying tile! On Labor Day, we were able to lay enough tile to cover about half the kitchen. This is the half that was completed and was still waiting for grout.

We’re done! We finished grouting the tile at about midnight when I snatched this photo. I’m actually surprised that my wife could get her arms in the air since she did a large portion of the cleaning, grouting, and then the re-cleaning! Love you hunny! You’re amazing!

So, as you can see, the floors are nearly finished (they are actually black-brown by the way, but they look darker in this photo for some reason), the tile is complete, and we’re ready for our appliances! Man, this is getting FUN!

I hope you enjoyed the updates!

Do any of you have any DIY projects at going on at home? I would love to hear about them!



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Wow. I am getting tired just thinking about all this. Quite a big accomplishment so far. Hopefully, it will all be done soon for you.

    The only handy thing I have done in a while was change a lightswitch the other night that was stuck on and really hot. I turned off the circuit and changed it after work. Took 13 minutes.

    • 13 minutes…. Lol. If I only had 13 more minutes of work left to do on this house, I would be ecstatic! But, to know that we will reach a point where all we have to do is change out a lightswitch once in a while, as well as a few other odds and ends, it’s somewhat relaxing.

  2. Wow. That is quite the remodeling that you did. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with all of the things you just accomplished. How did you learn to do all of these things? Great work.

    • Where to start: a huge dumpster to put all the walls, floors, and ceilings that can’t be revived! 🙂

      My wife’s dad is pretty handy. He’s helped us out quite a bit. Other than that though, we’ve just read the instructions on the package and watched a few YouTube videos. Everything has turned out great!

      • Good to know. I will keep that in mind when I go to purchase my first home. Although, I am not sure I am that committed. 🙂

        • Ha, it’s actually kind of fun. After your done, you get to enjoy the work of your hands. It’s a good feeling. 🙂

  3. You guys are doing a fantastic job. Be sure to take breaks and think of all the work you’ve done. It’s easy to get burnt out and frustrated thinking of all the work ahead.

    But it really does look amazing so far.

    • We’re starting to take a few breaks here and there, but it’s hard to stop now because we feel like we’re so close!!! Hopefully we don’t burn out….

  4. Very awesome. That is an impressive amount of work. On the shopping note however, I typically hate shopping, but I love IKEA. Mainly it is because we can eat swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce for lunch/dinner after we shop, but I also love their products.

    The remodel looks great!

    • IKEA is more fun than most stores, but I’m more of a “get in, grab what you need, and go” type of person. With the wide selection of stuff at IKEA, it makes it tough to do this…. Oh well, next time I’ll just try to think of the swedish meatballs. 😉

  5. Great job! We just (about) finished our master bathroom and guest bathroom. We just need to put the floor moulding and quarter round in. Hurrah!!!

    • Congrats on your progress as well! Feels good doesn’t it? 🙂

  6. I’ve got laminate flooring I’ve had for the past 6 months that I need to put down, but I need an extra set of hands to help me move furniture and get it started and haven’t been able to locate a set yet! Looks like my flooring may go in around November. Then I think it’ll be painting and little things and I’ll be almost done! (except for a second bathroom remodel….

    Those floors look gorgeous by the way!

    • Hope you find that extra set of hands soon!

  7. Seems like you are pretty busy, but it all pays off =]

  8. The floors look amazing. Did you know exactly what it would take when you started? When I started my floors I was clueless. I learned the hard way that a project is almost never as easy as it seems.

    • We had a guy come in and do our floors, and man, I’m glad we did!! He worked for about a month to get them just right! If we would have done it, we’d definitely still be working. Plus, we would have nothing else done!

    • We are doing quite a bit of work. It turned into more than I realized, but it’s turning out awesome! 🙂

  9. It looks beautiful! I remember those days, but glad it is in the distant past. It was a lot of work. There are some things I want to do, but I will have it contracted out.

    • We’re not quite done yet obviously, but my wife and I are having fun! I can see us doing this again. Not in the near future…. but after a few years. 🙂

  10. You are both amazing! I don’t think I’d be able to go through all of that renovation myself. Very impressed with all the work, and the floors look great. Years ago, we rented a house and we thought about redoing the wood floors ourselves, we decided against it because we didn’t know what we were doing. I think it was a smart choice to hire that part out!

    • Thanks for the kudos! There’s still some work to be done, but it’s still fun and exciting! We both love making this house our own. I can see us doing this again someday. 🙂

    • Most of the big stuff is done, but we still have 2 bathrooms to overhaul, paint most of the rooms, and put up trim. So, I guess we have quite a hill to climb yet, but we’re feeling good about what we’ve accomplished. 🙂

  11. Wow! Congrats on the progress! Looks like it turned out to be more work than you guys were anticipating… but it will all be worth it in the end. Good luck! 🙂

    • It’s been worth it already. There’s still quite a bit of work to be done, but we’ll get there soon.

  12. That’s awesome, I actually kinda miss doing stuff like this…

    • It is pretty fun! I’m going to try to bust out a bunch of stuff this weekend. Wish me luck! 🙂

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