1 year anniversary of homeownership + visual diary

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

YOU GUYS. It’s officially been one year since I closed on #mytinybungalow (or #mytinyshitshow as I refer to it IRL) and what a freaking year. This has felt like both the longest and shortest year of my life. I have so many words to describe how I’ve felt about this past year of homeownership: frustrated, overwhelmed, emotional, proud, accomplished, depressed, joyful, totally broke, humbled… and so many more. I’ve alway viewed this house as a list of things I need to fix. Sometimes that boosted me to do more, but it also made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough and wasn’t doing it fast enough. I’ve sort of been keeping a running list in my head and lately noticed that I actually have made solid progress in this past year… so I wanted to share my progress report with you in celebration of this anniversary… and some of the unscripted, un-styled, very REAL stories that have come with this year, too:

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

Moving day was a daunting one. I hired movers and it only took a morning for them to totally clear my loft and deposit all of my things into my first stand-alone house, ever. That photo you see above is what my living room looked like… so I opened a bottle of tequila (true story) and got to work.

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

(That’s Tim the painter. He’s basically a saint.)

During the summer, I dove head first into my first renovation project ever, the living and dining rooms. I learned how to strip paint, patch large holes, re-skim drywall, and sand for hours upon hours. I also learned what joint compound tastes like and what I’ll look like with totally white hair.

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

The living room renovation ended up being a LOT more than I expected…

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

And my ‘bedroom door’ was actually a tarp for about 3 months while I scraped, sanded, patched, and sanded some more…

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.comit's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

Rooms to be renovated:

  • living room – done!
  • dining room – done!
  • bedroom – next!
  • bathroom – maybe this fall, if I can rebuild my savings a bit more.
  • kitchen – next year, I hope?

That’s it… 2/5 of the way there! I’ve never been more glad that I bought a tiny house.

Then there’s the exterior…

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.comit's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

A typical trash day when you live in a fixer upper.

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

Last spring, I engaged in what I called “taming the jungle.” I became an expert at dead tree stump removal. I had a policy of ‘everything must go’ and literally removed anything and everything from the ground surrounding my house. This year, I’m hoping to continue taming the beast, but also to plant some flowers and veggies. I also need to buy a lawnmower this year. Last summer I was the white trash neighbor, letting my grass (read: weeds) grow up to mid-shin levels. I tried to buy a lawnmower, but essentially dissolved into tears in my local hardware store at the thought of one more expense, one more thing to store in my leaky shed, and one more responsibility I had to deal with for the house. So we left the store and I kept letting my grass grow. Now it’s dead, but I’m feeling more emotionally prepared this year and read to be an adult about lawn maintenance.

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.comit's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

Have you ever been able to see entirely through your house? I was treated to that surprise when I replaced my roof last fall.

I also want to remove the god awful chain link fence and replace it with an adorable picket fence that matches the style of the house way better. I will go on record to say this: there is no cute DIY hack for a chain link fence, no matter what Pinterest says.

This coming summer I also need to remove all of the peeling trim paint, replace some rotten trim pieces, and re-paint. The house is mostly vinyl siding (gross, but at least it’s white and in decent enough shape), so I just need to do the trim.

And lastly… my battle with the rats. The inspection revealed that the house had a history of rat invasions, so a lot of my time has been spent putting an end to that. I have a bi-monthly pest control team come out and have spent a pretty penny reconnecting ducts that the rodents messed with, sealing up the tiniest holes ever, and learned about how creepy a crawlspace really is. In the course of a year, we’ve discovered 3 dead rats. I think that’s a good sign that I’m winning the war?

My exterior checklist:

  • refinish the deck – done!
  • new roof – done!
  • paint front door – done!
  • paint french doors – done!
  • strip, prime, and paint exterior trim – this summer
  • refinish front porch – this summer
  • new mailbox – this summer
  • chain link fence removal/replacement – hopefully this summer
  • landscaping: planter boxes in the front, veggie garden in the back. Maybe even some planter boxes in the parking strip!

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

And the good stuff:

  • nest thermostat (amen for turning on the heat with my phone)!
  • new, full-sized washer and dryer!
  • new water heater!
  • new roof!
  • new plumbing!
  • I bought a grill and used it pretty much every day in the summer and fall.
  • a fire pit, aka the perfect place to gather with a cocktail and friends.
  • my herb garden
  • this house is SO quiet. I don’t think I could ever share a wall with anyone ever again after living in a standalone house. It’s amazing.
  • I had my first trick-or-treater (only one, but I was prepared to have maybe 500. Note to self, only buy 2 bags of candy this year.)
  • we celebrated Christmas in my house with a tree and everything.
  • I decorated the exterior with garlands, twinkly lights, and a gorgeous wreath.
  • Sean moved in with me!
  • my new neighborhood. I’m so glad I moved to Ballard and have been enjoying all that this neighborhood has to offer!
  • I recently got to see my house in snow and it is soooo cute.

it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.comit's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.comit's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com it's the 1 year anniversary of buying my first house, a fixer upper! What a year it's been... lots of adventures, renovations, makeover reveals, and yard work! Check out the full visual diary on Jojotastic.com

Through it all, I’ve relied so much on my friends, Sean and his dad, and tequila to council me through what the hell to do when selecting a new water heater, whether to get OSB or plywood for my roof, and emotional support when disposing of the 2 dead rats I found in my yard. I also have constantly thought of my grandpa during this year and how freaking proud of me he’d be. He would absolutely love this house and marvel in what I’ve done to improve it over this past year. And that’s what keeps me going, chipping away at the list piece by piece.

Here’s to another year!

  • Congratulations! You should be proud of all your hard work on making your house a home!

  • jenn lynn

    How lovely is this I know it is a lot of hard work! I am looking at a condo/house thing and its like semi new but there is so much not done. They are discounting it so i can do the rest on my own. This is such a great inspiration.Its amazing how much was done in a year! I bet next year it will be a whole new place! Changes are good. Adulting done at its best!

    • you’re lucky to have a good mix of old and new! homeownership is always an adventure ;) have fun!

  • Kristina Rau

    I’m going through the same thing over here in Hawaii. It’s been almost a year in our house and we’re still camping out in the bedroom while the rest of the house is a construction site. Instead of rats, we have geckos and termites. And the months-long hand scraping of paint has given me tendinitis. I too have cried at the thought of never-ending expenses and while watching The Money Pit ironically. But, it’s so inspirational to see your light at the end of the tunnel and it motivates me to get back to work! For now we’re also the scary house on the block (we call it the upside down), but small changes on the inside are helping to ease the stress. Your house is turning out beautifully and I can’t wait to see more finished photos. If you ever need a place to stay in Hawaii, just lmk… in a year or so… ;)

    • awww thank you! it means so much to hear your story and know that my own story is helping with yours :) hang in there, it DOES get better. now that the living room is done, i feel like i have a respite away from the madness. granted, I’ll be sleeping in the living room while we work on the bedroom, but hopefully that will go a LOT faster now that I have more of a clue of what i’m doing…

      and i’d LOVE to visit you in hawaii! stay tuned ;)

  • Mrs. Sweet

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing. You are so adventurous! I wish I had more guts to well, gut stuff in my own house :)

    • Mrs. Sweet

      Oh and lawnmowers are the worst! Bought one for $500! I could’ve done soooo much with $500!!!!

      • i’m so glad you liked the post!! hearing comments like your own help me to feel a lot better about my situation ;)

        oh yeah and why are lawnmowers so expensive?? it seems insane to me.

  • I am so into your IRL posts. I love your sense of humor, and honestly, it’s just cool to see a less-manicured home post…it takes a lot of work to make things beautiful! Congratulations on year one! x sc

    • ahh, thank you!! i’m really happy to hear such positive feedback. it really means the world to me :) posts like this feel so much more natural and exciting… and REAL. that is just so important to me. xo and thank you SO much!

  • Leigh McGilvray

    I love this so much…it feels so similar to my own experience in buying a house last year. Particularly the rats!!! It is so wonderful watching your home progress : )

    • i’m so glad you enjoyed the post! and aren’t rat problems the worst?? every time the pest guy comes, i want to hug him.

  • Oscar Bravo

    Wow you have accomplished so much ! All the work you have done is definitely something to be proud of. So far, so good!

    • thanks so much, Oscar! I can’t wait to tackle the next room…

  • Rebecca BloggerNOTBillionaire

    You are SO impressive to take on all of that and follow through to completion. The rooms you are done with look absolutely amazing! We should swap lawn mower stories sometime. Thank you for sharing your journey!

    Xo- Rebecca

    • aww thank you!! and i’d totally love to swap lawnmower stories… especially cuz i HAVE to get one this spring. ugh.

  • Karen Marie

    You have done such an incredible job and in such a short time!! I am so glad I stopped by :) Keep on keeping on! Your house is friggin adorbs.

    • thank you SO much. i’m totally on a mission to put the cute back into this little house!