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:
Looking Back on My First Year of Homeownership
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.
(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.
The living room renovation ended up being a LOT more than I expected…
And my ‘bedroom door’ was actually a tarp for about 3 months while I scraped, sanded, patched, and sanded some more…
Rooms remaining 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…
A typical trash day when you live in a fixer upper.
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.
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!
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.
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!