This is going to be an image heavy post. On November 8, 2008 I took possession of my little house. In June 2014 I moved out and in September 2014 I put it up for sale. I currently live with my sister, renting a house that my parents purchased to fix up while I wait for my house to sell. I was going to do this post in one go but it turns out I have way, way too many pictures. I did so much, it’s hard to give a clear overview without missing too much or adding too much.

Exterior before and after

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The only exterior projects I did not complete were adding gutters and putting on a new roof. Someone is currently looking at purchasing the house and I’m holding off on the roof… I don’t exactly have money for it anyway and I’m hoping to get an offer. Stuff I did outside:

Landscaping, new floor, roof and siding on shed + moved it, installed patiostone paths around the house and to the front door. New doors, all new windows except the sunroom, built on an addition, got rid of the firepit, removed a dead tree, removed old deck and added a new one. Total cost? At this point I have no idea anymore

Old porch and newly built-on bedroom

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2014-09-07 17.13.05

This is by far the largest project I did, the most time consuming, the one where I learned the most and the most expensive coming in at around 10-12k.. Stuff I did here:

The foundation under the old small porch had crumbled, I removed it, filled the hole and had a new bedroom built on. I had the framing, roof and shingles done by a family friend. I finished the interior insulation, heating, drywal, flooring, trim and paint myself. When I look back it’s like a blur… I didn’t know how to do half of it when I started and I’m still not sure I do now. The end result turned out great though!  I added about 130 sq ft to the house and once the bedroom was completed built the deck off the back. It was hard, it was lonely and expensive. I wouldn’t do it again on my own.

Sunroom (the room with all the windows in the front) turned laundry/mudroom

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The sunroom has always been my favourite room of the house, it’s bright in the summer and gets so nice and warm you feel like rolling up in a ball like a cat and just enjoying the sunshine.

I removed the old door, and the entire wall with the help of some friends. Some of the beams had rotten so part of the floor was replaced too. There used to be a window facing into the livingroom, at some point that was an exterior wall. I closed up the wall and drywalled over it to make room for the cabinets and washer and dryer. This room got all new electrical, drywal, trim, the washer and dryer were moved here after the old porch was demolished to make room for the new bedroom. My dad did the tile and vinyl on the floor and the bright squash colour was daring, I haven’t regretted it once! It’s done now… and I never got to use it!

Haha, alright, on to part #2. Check back in a few days 😛

Looks like it has been more than a full month since I’ve last posted an update on how my renovation is going so it’s time for an update!

If you’re new around here, this is what’s been going down:

I bought a rickety old house, built in the 30′s, in November 2008. I was broke then and I’m still broke now but I’m slowly making improvements and fixing things that BADLY need fixing. The foundation underneath the porch on one side of the house had partially collapsed  and the corner of the porch was resting on the edge of a concrete pad that happened to be laying there functioning as one ginormous doorstep. This needed fixing ASAP.

The porch was demolished, a new addition was built, drywall was hung and then I was left to install a floor, do a lot of painting, add trim and in short… finish the room that was just built onto my house.

I knew that I wanted to keep with the character of the home, but also make things look more modern and clean. With that in mind I started looking for ways to finish the space.

It was my fathers suggestion to add a tile pad by the door, I agreed and he installed a small tile pad using leftover tile that I also used in the kitchen, in a cool grey colour.


For the rest of the flooring I picked the same laminate in this room as in the adjacent living-room for a seamless look. I went with 10mm laminate because that’s what I laid in the living room (in lieu of finishing the original pine board underneath, I laid overtop, leaving the option open in the future) and it’s been great for easy cleanup. I also got a good portion of the flooring at 25% off the sale price (which was 10% off) by negotiating to buy all the open and damaged boxes on display.

I laid the floor myself, it didn’t actually take me very long to do! The main thing to remember is to stagger the planks so you don’t get lines in the floor. Where every second row of planks ends and starts at the same spot – it looks funny.

bulk of the flooring in

After that I decided to hang this great chandelier that I found at Home Depot for $20 a few years ago. It’s been sitting in my cluttered sunroom for the past 3 years… but no matter. I installed a dimmer so when I get my bed moved in I can dim the lights… and sexy time, YEAH.

i have always wanted one!

I added the ceiling medallion because 1) I cut the hole in the drywall too big and 2) I’ve always wanted one , as well as a chandelier and a dimmer. Three in one!

From there I decided I wanted to paint at least three of the walls in the same cream colour as the rest of the house. It just works with all the original trim and it’s very neutral so it’s easier on the eyes for future renters or for a future buyer.. I also happen to have a 5 gallon pail of it that I got as a mis-tint and it works with the floor I chose… bonus? I thought so! I wasn’t sure yet on what colour to pick for the feature wall.

Also, fyi: you should paint BEFORE laying the floor. I got all the walls and ceiling primed and painted once before laying the floor, I’m now carefully finishing the last coat of paint by using dropcloths, not the smartest move.

I went with cream on three walls and a moody grey on the wall that will have my desk/mini-office. I’ll explain in a bit how I ended up with the grey.

Igore the mess please!

As you can see, I still need another coat of grey:

Going in reverse order – floor, trim, then paint?

After the fiasco with 9 coats of paint on my front door I learned that to paint with red you need the right primer, I used a moody, warm grey primer that I had custom tinted to prime my back door and then still had a good 3/4 left of the can. After seeing the paint and testing a small patch  of the grey primer on the wall in the new bedroom I loved it and decided to do the whole wall with it.  Cost: $0, bonus!

Since this room has LOTS of windows and doors; one each in two walls, one door to the living room and one french door to the backyard where there will be a future deck, I wasn’t sure what to do about the whole privacy thing… I added simple blinds to the two windows for now and used a curtain rod and a shower curtain I wasn’t using on the back door:

Nothing is better than free!

The curtain is a bit short unfortunately but it does the trick for now. I’m considering sowing a band of fabric on the bottom if I can find something that won’t look odd.

And that’s where things stand today, I’m hoping to tackle the remaining paint-work this week. I start my courses again this week and with winter I’ll be quite busy at work so it will be good to get this done and out of the way. As well, it will be nice to finally move my bed into the room and start using this as a proper bedroom (with desk). 🙂 Have you tackled any home renovation projects over the holidays?

 PS: You can find more about The Littlest House progress so far on The Littlest House page. Go check it out!

I’ve got a big renovation going on at my house. Well, it hasn’t started yet but the bills have sure started rolling in!

I’ve got my permits, my plans, my cost breakdown and a contractor lined up to do the work. Now, we’re just waiting to get started since he has another job to finish first, emptying out my stuff and tear-down starts this weekend and another few weeks before my little house turns into chaos.

This renovation has cost me countless sleepless nights already because I really don’t have the money to rebuild part of my house. I’ve been mulling and mulling it over and today I sat down with YNAB and planned my budget.

I’m going to try to get through the rest of July on a very bare budget and I have all my expenses, food, everything and a little blow money figured out for the next two months.

My budgeted expenses are;
– $1150 for August and
– $965 for September

I’ve figured out that during that time period I will then be able to put $4,117 CASH towards the renovation! Since the whole thing will run at about $7,500, in fact renovations usually go over, I’ll only have to borrow about $4000 on my SLOC to do it all! I should also be able to pay that all off and keep up with paying extra on my student debt by Dec 31st.

All in all I think that I can finish off the year owing about $5,000 on student debt with the renovation PAID in FULL. And, even if things don’t run as planned… my original goal was to have my student loan below $10,000 for the year WITHOUT this renovation so I think I’m going to get through this year okay no matter what. (Eck, then I’ll have to start thinking about my tax bill though)

But, it is very important that from this point forward I can’t be breaking my budget at all. I have a mostly new wardrobe, new shoes, I’ve got everything I need… a roof over my head, fun new toys to play with, heck I even have a fancy new phone. Go go gadgets. I’ve got blogs to read and write and awesome friends to hang out with, I’ve got a few cooking skills so there’s no need to be eating out all the time and I should be able to control my spending. There is no reason for me to break my budget other than lack of self-control or extenuating circumstances.   (Feel free to send me a stern email if I do try to wiggle myself out of that one)

This all makes me very very nervous though. It’s so easy to justify spending $5 here and there. I don’t deal with stress well, but this renovation has to happen… EEK!

Have you dealt with any big expenses that just had to happen? How did you handle it?