Design + Living
Comments 2

Renovating our First House

Now that back-to-school is out of the way for us, I find myself thinking heavily about our new house. This is our first biggest purchase ever and we are still adding to the total amount by taking on a full renovation. It was a old house in a lovely neighborhood, zoned to the best schools and about a stone-throw away from my work, which is a lifesaver, because this girl right here is tired of waking up early to face the metro-Detroit traffic.

Building vs. Buying

When we started the process of looking for a house, we explored the idea of building and then we got into the whole building loan vs. mortgage loan and how that can be a pain in the behind for first-time home buyers. Plus the cheapest lands we found were way outside of our way and also meant sub-par schools. We decided to just do what every American does, which is to buy a new or previously-owned home. We then got into the issue of distance to work and how for me as a full-time working mom who loves to do my own home-cooked meal amongst other stuff, needed to be home early enough. So, my fiancé God bless his heart decided to take on the 30-40mins drive to work. I feel for him, but this girl right here only has a 5mins commute. Its also amazing because my daughter’s school is right across from the sub-division.

On Tiny Living

However, the bad news is that we are currently living in our tiny apartment still. And while I understand that this is a first world-problem, its simply not what I am used to. Especially as a Texas transplant who enjoyed a 2800 sq.ft. home and bought lots and lots of furniture and household items. Also, because we are renovating the house, we order things on the daily from Amazon to the point where we now have an offer to join as Amazon Business members because it is just easier for them to make our house a drop-off point at this stage I guess. Needless to say, we are living in boxes or rather tripping over boxes as we try to get around the our tiny apartment.

The Budget

One thing no one ever talks about is how much of a time and money guzzler kids, ahem, a renovation can cost. I mean, we are talking 100% over our budget and a confusing and surprising shortage of contractors. I for sure thought there would be a sea of contractors ready to work, boy was I wrong. I am hoping and crossing fingers that we are able to move in sometime next month. The fiancé has assured me that things are going smoothly (he is out there 100% of the time when he is not at work). I feel so bad for him, but he feels even worse for me because I have to face a 45mins commute everyday to work and school drop off.

Juggling School kid and Commute

Speaking of school. Because we already purchased the house (and might I add, paid taxes already, seriously?), we were able to enroll my daughter at the local school zoned to our house. And like any other 3rd grader who wants to make new friends in the neighborhood, she requested to be dropped off at the bus station so she can ride on the bus. So, every morning, we drive 40mins to the bus station, and the bus takes exactly two mins to arrive at school. I really need to start my application for mother of the year, because I am killing it!

So far we are being very patient and trying to focus on the good things which is that, we will have much more newer home to move into, lots of yard space, and hopefully make lots of new friends.

I plan to share some before and after photos here on the blog once the renovations are complete.

Have you ever renovated your home? How was the timeline and budget? Just curious, not that I am jealous or anything that you are already moved in.



  1. Rae B says

    I’ve gone through this due to the flood last year and we’re still going through it. We hope to be finished before Christmas so we can host it. Renovating my home destroyed my savings that I had been so proud of building. But luckily, the insurance payout finally came through and helped me restore my savings. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel — but I think this process has been a bit easier, contractor-wise, since my fiancé & his family are in construction. There have been a lot of fraud cases and a few of my neighbors were victims.

    Hang in there and trust God in all of this. Patience is key.

    I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!! And congratulations!!!


    • Oh my goodness, I had no idea you went through a flood. That must really suck; glad insurance came through though and you have a great support system in your fiance and his family. That really is a life-saver.

      We are almost at the tail end of our remodeling, so I am grateful.


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