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We Love Our Frugal Renovation

  February 26

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home renovationRight now, the hubs and I are staying next door to his parents. We’re living in a house that belonged to his sweet grandmother before she passed away.

I think it’s actually kind of nice for the hubs and brings back a lot of memories.

He loved his grandmother so much and spent a lot of time in this house growing up. The thing is, for the longest time, this home was a museum and storage room of sorts.

Every time one of hubs’ siblings would move or have an over-stuffed apartment, they’d store their belongings here.

So, when we found out that we’d have about 5-6 months in between moving home from Grenada and then moving to the next location, we asked my in laws if we could stay in the house since no one was living there.

Of course, they had quite a bit of work to do renovating it and really worked hard to ensure the house was clean and ready for people to live in it. No one has slept in this house for 15 years! We’re so grateful for all the hard work they put into getting it ready for us because now we have a place all our own that we can bring our babies into for the first few weeks of their lives.

My in laws didn’t want to spend extensively on a renovation since we wouldn’t be living here long term, so they used a lot of frugal techniques to get it ready to go. We love what they did for us, and here are some tips for keeping things frugal and under budget when it comes to renovations:

1. Resist The Tendency to Over-Improve

Although my in laws went back and forth over whether to add a second bathroom, they decided not to. It was probably for the best since like I said, we’re only going to be living here temporarily, and bathrooms are expensive!

2. Remember That Paint Does Wonders

Cleaning the walls, painting closets, fixing cracks, and in general sprucing things up were all inexpensive fixes that only took a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of time. My in laws even helped me paint the nursery so now it’s all ready for the beans.

3. Refinish Floors By Yourself

My in laws could have hired a professional to refinish wood floors but instead my father in law rented a sander and he and my brother in law slowly but carefully did it all themselves. It was a huge labor of love, and the floors look really, really great.

4. Refresh Cabinets

Although a new home buyer might want to replace the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, they were still in decent, workable condition. My mother in law just cleaned them, put in new drawer liners, and spray painted all of the cabinet knobs to make sure they looked new. After living in less than 300 sq ft in Grenada for almost 3 years, we think this whole living-in-a-house thing is quite the luxury.

Overall, the renovations really helped make this house the perfect home to bring home our twins. (You can see a little sneak peek of the nursery in the picture above!) Plus, if you want to do something similar, I just learned that you can actually get something called a 203k loan which you can use to renovate and refinance your house (usually mortgages don’t allow for a renovation loan.) This is great for people who want to improve a new-to-them home, a foreclosure, or the one they already have. Of course, if you go that route, still try to keep things simple and frugal. Remember, we never really need as much as we think!

Are you interested in renovating your house? Do you plan to do it mostly yourself or hire a professional?

32 responses to “We Love Our Frugal Renovation

  1. Aww, I think it’s super sweet that you’re stay at your hubby’s grandmother’s home. Like you said, I’m sure there are a ton of great memories for him in that home (and soon there will be great memories for both of your there). I love that rug in the nursery!

  2. Aww that is so awesome that you are staying so close!

    We have a lot of things that we want to do to our house. We are sort of taking a break though because we have done a LOT in the past few months. Need to stop spending money on the house! haha

  3. When we first moved in, most of the stuff we did inside the house was really frugal – the big spending was on more structural things like a new roof, AC system, and siding. But after the success of the garage, we’re starting to make plans on finally redoing the tile inside the house and making big changes in the kitchen and though we’ll save a lot of money doing most of the work ourselves, it’s still going to cost a pretty penny…

  4. I will be so nice to live nextdoor to grandma and grandpa! That is so sweet that they fixed up the house for you. We are in the market to buy a home, and expect to buy something that needs “refreshing,” so I will keep these tips in mind. I completely agree about the kitchen cabinets — I’ve seen some cabinets that are really high quality but just have dated hardware. That’s a really simple fix!

  5. Looks awesome Cat! We refinished our hardwoods floors ourselves, and although it was a HUGE pain in the ass and I was sore from head to toe the next day, it was definitely worth it. I think we spent about $100 between the rental for the sander, the stain, and the seal. Beats spending 10x that to hire someone!

  6. Paint is a miracle worker. It is the least expensive but often times the most impactful DIY improvement. I’m so happy your family has this home available for you guys. All the best!

  7. Dig that rug! So cute!

    My dad redid my sister’s hardwood floors as a birthday gift a couple of years ago, and it ended up saving her a fortune! She was so lucky!

  8. Oh the baby room looks so cute. It’s so nice that your parents-in-law were able to fix up the house for you so you. I’ll bet that house is full of love for the babies already!

    My boyfriend and I are talking about doing some decorating and sprucing up of his place. It’s functional, but I HATE the paint (it’s like a yellow-white that makes everything look washed out), so I’m slowly bringing him around to letting me decorate. I’m pinning so much DIY decor stuff right now 🙂

  9. It looks very “clean” – I hope one day our place looks that clean and cozy. Love.

    We try to keep our place having a modern and clean look to it but it always ends up as a mega fail! 🙂

  10. After 7 years in my place I have begun the renovation process! I will be painting the bathroom tomorrow morning, changing the bathroom fixtures and getting my bedroom floor changed. I am super excited about these changes because they echo the changes I’m making in my life! The babies’ room looks fantastic.

  11. It looks great, Cat. How special for you and your new family. You are right, paint does do wonders and I am always surprised as to how different a room can look with a fresh coat of it.

  12. That’s really a great picture. I can’t imagine fixing up a house that no one had slept in for over 15 years! We have a ton (A TON) of renovation projects to do in our house. Some we can do ourselves, others we will hire out. I think it’s important to know your limits when it comes to renovating. Right now I have a relatively easy project that I just started last night – taking down the wallpaper in our second bedroom. Now that Lena is gone we don’t need a place for her litter box so the room can be fixed up and set up as a guest room. First step is the nasty wallpaper coming down!

  13. How awesome that you get to stay in his grandmas house! We got a 203k loan when we bought our house. Because of how the loan worked we had to hire a contractor to do the work but it got us floors, repairs and appliances. If it weren’t for that loan I have no idea how we would’ve been able to afford to fix up the house!

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