First off, I want to thank you all for your kind words after Monday’s post (even if you didn’t comment but you thought kind words, I’m still thanking you!), it made me feel so much better and a lot less cuckoo crazy.  🙂

The Scottish and I are slowly accomplishing things on our to-do list and I know we’ll get to a comfortable point soon.  We’re looking forward to a three-day weekend of house projects because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Next weekend is my MN shower and we’ll be hosting two family members in our guest bedroom (which currently has no bed), which means I have a goal in mind for having the house picked up and everything somewhat put away by then.  I’d also love to have window treatments up, but they aren’t super high on The List and I am severely challenged when it comes to buying curtains and/or blinds.

Despite my emotional failings I did do a few things right in this home renovations process and I thought I’d share them with you guys in case you happen to be in the same situation soon.

Additionally, since I won’t be able to post the before and after pics for a few more weeks (I need the “afters” to be completed first) I will post a few of the progress pics from the painting-palooza weekend.  Enjoy!

Before the weekend even began I had to remove this Noah’s ark wallpaper from the nursery.  Don’t even ask me what kind of technique they used to get the paint underneath the wallpaper to make it look like that, I have no idea!  FWIW, I used the wet sponge method and a putty knife to remove the stickiest part of the wallpaper and it worked pretty well!


The Glue and The Sister painting the hallway spice delight (to cover the old blue) and having a snack.  My snacks were a BIG hit by the way, thank you Sam’s Club.


The BFF taping the window (or doing trim work) in the master bedroom.  The new color is fresh day to the right and the old color is that taupe-y brown.


1. Don’t stress about receipts.  Your gut will be to meticulously save each one, and that’s what I did, until I realized I was missing the exact two receipts I needed to return a few specific items.  Are you kidding me!?!?  Well, receipts might get thrown away by mistake or lost in the move. The key is to shop at places close to your new place and return everything for store credit, because let’s face it, you know you’ll be back there soon.  For instance, we are replacing the black toilet (yes already because the lid is broken and it shows so much dust for only living there a week, unreal!).  We’ll be using Home Depot credit from our returns to offset the large purchase of a toilet.  We also did this with Menards.  Receipts, who needs em?

Goodbye ORANGE (why??) kitchen, hello a more subtle color of weathered sandstone.


2. Make large purchases in advance.  I had a few people tell me that I should wait until we were in the house to buy everything but IF you know what you like and IF you can be decisive, and IF you are in a bit of time-crunch like us, I recommend buying as much as you can (plate covers, outlets, light fixtures, W/R, and furniture), BEFORE you close.  Buying large appliances and then having them scheduled to arrive after you close will save time in the long run.

I felt so helpless with an entire month of time to wait for closing so it was nice to check a few items off The List.  I was grateful I had purchased standing lighting because none of our bedrooms came with overhead lighting and it would have been real tough to paint in the dark. Plus, by having extra pieces on hand when my family was helping that weekend we were able to get WAY more done than just painting. If I hadn’t purchased baby furniture in advance, it still wouldn’t be assembled!

ETD: A good point was brought up by Kristie, it IS frowned upon to make large purchases before closing because they are looking at your finances and bank statements and they want to see your money stay static, otherwise you will have to explain yourself.  Our situation was a bit different because we had a credit card we were able to use for big purchases that did not tie into our paperwork.  (Also, things you can buy ahead of time from your checking account are smaller items such as light bulbs and paint.)

Thanks BIL and Scottish, the crib looks great!  Wall color is called misty moonstone.


Note: While we did go in and measure closet spaces for new doors and windows for window treatments, we didn’t end up buying any of those ahead of time, which is fine because it’s also good to live in your house for a bit so you know what you will really need/want.

I’m really digging our new track lighting in the kitchen from IKEA.  Thanks Father for putting it up!


The Scottish and I painting the hallway spice delight.  Nice bump shot right?  🙂


3. Buy your paint and paint supplies well before your scheduled work day.  When you are planning a “work day” make sure you have everything lined up and ready to go, like brushes and rollers sorted into piles and plastic covers on the carpets, etc before anyone arrives.  Make sure you have doughnuts and coffee OR Gatorade (pregnancy craving oh yea) as well.  Start really EARLY in the day so you can finish earlier and gorge on pizza before passing out. If you plan on making paint decisions or buying supplies that morning, it will be a waste of time and you’ll get started much later than you wanted to, whether you have others helping out or not.

Also, we underbought if that makes sense, hoping and praying our paint would go farther than it did, so we did have to go back to the store twice for extra paint that weekend, which I guess is better than buying too much.

The view from the dining room into the great room, note the great room’s dark color.  We actually liked it and decided to avoid painting the largest room on the main floor.  It was a good decision.


4. Ask your sellers for a home warranty (this doesn’t have much to do with renovations but still important).  Maybe everyone knows this and is like, DUH STEPHANIE, why wouldn’t we ask for one?  But in case you wouldn’t think of it, know you can ask your sellers to purchase a warranty for you.  We have a year-long warranty that we already get to utilize because our AC unit isn’t working. Oh joy, summer plus pregnancy plus no air conditioning.  Somebody punch me, they can’t come check it out until next Wednesday.

5. When moving all of your stuff in, do your best to delegate which room it should live in to avoid unnecessary lifting.  (This is just common sense but it’s worth mentioning.)  Bringing our boxes to their correct rooms wasn’t really possible for us with all the painting going on but our bedroom furniture was able to go immediately into our bedroom because it’s two coats were dry..  Unfortunately, most items got dumped in the great room and we had to organize them later which meant many trips to the basement with heavy tubs/boxes.

The Glue and The Tape (in the mirror) helping with the bedroom furniture. DSC01523

The great room packed to the brim, and this isn’t even everything!  Luckily the couches were staying there.


Any other tips to add?  How do you like the house so far?

As far as next week goes, I have a Scottish and Stephanie fight to share (one of us overreacted, the other is just oblivious, I’ll let you be the judges), and hopefully a post about our IKEA Pax closets we installed.  So far I’m thinking they were worth the extra money!  Happy weekend everyone!

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4 Responses to “Home Reno Tips From An Unqualified Source”

  1. Kristie

    Painting sucks lol…we painted every room in the house except the kitchen because every room was white with dark brown trim (and boy was that hard to cover!). We were actually advised against making any large purchases before closing on our house. We had to provide bank statements several times throughout the process and were warned if we were out there spending lots of $$, we may not have gotten the loan. Guess it may depend on the company/area you live in.

    Good luck with the renos…I know it’s a &%^$&…we’ve been in our house 5 years and aren’t done yet (mostly because we are lazy!)

    • Stephanie

      Yes, painting SUCKS. And that does sound hard to cover!

      You’re absolutely right about the not making large purchases, I can’t believe I didn’t mention that, but I edited the post to say because of our specific situation we were able to do it but it is frowned upon when they are looking at all your bank statements, etc. Thanks for bringing that up!

      Thanks, we’ll see how far we get before we poop out! 🙂

  2. Ann

    I do enjoy home makeover posts. It’s great to have family and friends helping you.


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