You bought a home on the Island that needed a lot of work. What made you think, “I can turn this in to a gem!”?
Honestly, we had no idea our home was going to turn out as wonderful as it has. Our home wasn’t even on the market for a whole day when we viewed it, and we knew if we didn’t act quickly someone else would see the same potential in it as we did. The location of this home, and the deal we got it for made us jump on the opportunity to buy it.
How did you know where to begin? And what was the first step?
There was so much work to be done that we struggled with what to start on first. My father-in-law, Steve Winchester, drove in from California to help my husband and I because we soon realized we were in over our heads. With some guidance, we learned to work our way from the ceiling to the floor. Our first step was scraping the popcorn ceiling down, removing old cabinets, taking wall paper down, texturing, painting, installing new doors, and base boards, painting, then finally, laying the tile down.
Where are places to spend more money than other places when concentrating on a total remodel? Any tips or tricks you’re willing to share?
Our primary focus during this remodel was the kitchen. Kitchens and bathrooms are safe places within the home to put money into, because you’re more likely to get that money back when it comes time for resale. We spent a large portion of our budget on installing granite to give our home a classy and updated feel. Then we replaced the appliances.
A big money-saving tip we learned was to shop around, buy knobs for cabinets and new light fixtures off of amazon. If you can save old cabinets by freshening them up with a coat of paint, do so! Also, shop locally! We quickly learned the tile we almost bought from a big box store was 50 cents MORE a square foot than it was at a local ma and pa shop here in Corpus. If possible, pay attention to sales, and buy things you know you may need in advance. And finally, if you can do the work yourself instead of paying someone else for the labor, you will save thousands. Luckily, the labor my husband and I didn’t know how to do, Steve and my grandpa did.
What’s your favorite room and why?
The kitchen by far! This is where we spent most of our time and money. It was also the biggest transformation in our home. The new appliances have to be one of my favorites. We had recessed lighting installed in the living room and in both bathrooms. We also painted the fireplace and added a new mantel that really made the living room look more modern. We installed wood-looking tile throughout the whole house to give it that beachy vibe.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to do a complete home renovation on their own?
First, do not trust the renovation shows! It is WAY more work than HGTV makes it seem. Second, be sure to have a contractor or someone with experience close by. You might think you’re saving yourself money by not hiring anyone, but you could be wasting a lot of money on unused materials. Finally, even though it was a lot of work and very stressful at times, it was totally worth it in the end. Not only did we create our dream home, but we created irreplaceable memories with each other and the family members who volunteered their time to give us a beautiful first home. When doing the work yourself, you learn to appreciate your home on a whole other level.