We have been working on Renos for about 15 months transforming our standard "Starter Home" into a place we love to be. We started this process because we asked ourselves, "Why would we search for the perfect home if we have the skill set to make an affordable starter into something we love...especially if we know we are going to be staying for awhile?"
Our theory is that too many people live in conformed boxes and they wonder what is wrong with their lives. There are people who just go home to sleep and live at work and perhaps for them home is not priority but for a family that does not love vacations, we wanted our home to be our haven. We were willing to put in our savings, time and labour to commit to a plan to transform our home into something that inspires us. We started originally with making transitions in our living room and kitchen ( arches ect) see this post for more.
Our first big project was changing our master room into our daughter's room. We ripped out the cheap carpet and re floored and re painted...
This is just a pretty view of the sunlight on a living room wall and our entry mirror and living room below.
Next we worked on our basement which only had concrete to begin with. We decided to move our master and two boys rooms downstairs. The picture below is our son's celestial Garden room:
Our master room in the basement is the size of our kitchen and living room and laundry room combined. We moved one window from the side to the front and put our bed at the back. I made a headboard out of a wall quote and old door with cheap fabric hanging for visual affects.
Our master bathroom is attached to our room.
Cleaning up and preparing to decorate;
We thought for fun we would make a little fort in the corner and reading nook since we had room. My husband is a Journeyman Carpenter and I like to design. I gave him the plans for spaces ( I think most homes do not use space well) and incorporated a lot of my reading from Susanka's Not So Big House series.
I wish the pictures could capture the scope of the room and layout of the home. Once all our projects are complete I may have to do a time lapse video of the house to capture the essence. It's cozy to us and we don't care about resale. Too many people live in their home concentrating on resale value when they spend at least a decade of time in them. Why not make it what they want? Someone will eventually appreciate it or it can be changed later. Home should be a haven of beauty and inspiration. Perhaps the urge to go on vacations or grand adventures would be lessened with roots and adventures incorporated into the home?
I have heard a few comments about how others wish they could do this...perhaps if you are not handy it would be tougher, but there are multiple ways to make small changes that make big differences. This has mostly happened because of hard work and sacrifice. We saved, and lived in the empty starter for five years before we could even start on our dreams. We did tiny projects once a year to inspire us but otherwise did not start until we could. We made a goal to pay off debt first, did all the work by ourselves or exchanged with friends and had a few sweet souls help us out, we sacrificed time...my husband cut his work hours and came home for three day weekends for the last 15 months to put in longer days at home. I took over everything in the house with the help of the kids and we all were on constant clean up. But it was worth it! The rewards have outweighed the hardships. We used our imaginations and collective creativity to come up with cheaper ways to make our dreams work. We also cut out all unnecessary outside commitments and time with others for 15 months...which also taught us a bit about boundaries and what is actually important...and what can get done when time is not given away! The fact is, we made this work. We are still considered under the poverty line surprisingly but we put away money whenever we could. We don't live like we are under the poverty line because we got our starter home at a steal of a deal and put our extra money into renovating it.
We have also done this with our front yard and added a large retaining wall with faux brick and many trees...
We have named our home Anam Cara which means Soul Friend. Our home is a friend of our souls…and hopefully soothes, inspires and creates magic for those in our lives who need a place of respite or imagination. It is infused with our love and work. We want to inspire our children and have them be part of the house that builds them...