Our New (Old) House + A New (Young) Family Member

There’s plenty advice out there for first time home owners, and of course, we took none of it. We learn our lessons the hard way–for better or worse– and in hindsight, I feel a little embarrassed about how high my expectations were. To our realtor, Tyler, and broker, Joe: Thank you for talking me off the ledge and schooling me on the repercussions of the 2008 housing market. I blame my ignorance on watching too much HGTV.

In the end, all the advice proves to be right. We didn’t get the house we wanted, but luck and timing and fate and The Big Guy up stairs had plans for us. Is our new house in our ideal neighborhood? No. Did it meet everything on our wish list? Not exactly. Was it move-in ready AND within budget? No and No. Do we love this house (and the neighborhood) more than we could have imagined? YES.

What we did end up purchasing is a passion project both Joe and I are equally excited about. We spent a long time talking about what really mattered (to us) in a home, and found that we were really looking for the same three things: 1). a home with character, 2). a home in a safe neighborhood, and 3). a home we could afford on one income. We also knew we wanted to put our own “stamp” on the place, and that it would be more rewarding to renovate a space with a few modern updates than to move into some else’s pride and joy.

So we bought an old house that needs a little bit of TLC and a lot of updates. Some could call it a fixer upper, but really, it’s a dull diamond in a great neighborhood that needs a little polishing. I’ll just need to get use to having paint in my hair for the next few years.



I’ve put together a video tour of some of our bigger projects, so you can see a little bit more of the house from my point of view. I’ll warn you: these videos are terrible quality! I’m really looking forward to sharing these projects with you (produced in a much better way!). It’ll be a slow and tedious process, and honestly, neither Joe or myself is very handy. It should prove to be comedy in itself.

OK! On to the tour. Up first are the rooms that sold us on the house.

Selling Feature One: The Living Room. Great bones in here!

Selling Feature Two: The Sun Porch. This space has so much potential.

Selling Feature Three: An open layout in an older home! We love that the dining room opens to the living room.

Now, the projects!

Project One: The Foyer. We plan to repaint, replace the light fixture, fix our sticky door, and install a bathroom on the first floor! It’s common in homes built in the 1920s to have only one upstairs bathroom, but luckily we have a large closet that will serve perfectly as a powder room. More details in the video below!

Project Two: Spruce up the kitchen! This includes painting our breakfast nook, removing corked flooring, painting cabinets, putting in new counter tops, new sink, and new appliances. Wait till you see the stove I’ve been cooking on! I had to split the video into two segments because I’m a really fantastic videographer. Ha. Eventually we may knock out a wall to open the kitchen up into the dining room.

Project Three: The entire upstairs. The biggest project? Remodel the bathroom. This is my least favorite room in the house. You can’t really see it in the video, but the tile is cracked beyond repair and the grout is really dirty. We also have a lot of painting to do upstairs and our master bedroom is a blank slate. We have so much more space to furnish! We also plan to finish the attic. We discovered the attic has huge 16ft ceilings and beautiful exposed beams. We’re hoping to finish that space by using the extra space in our master to put in a small staircase. I wish I had photos to share with you; this space will be my favorite!

Project Four: Raise the best puppy we can in our new home! Everybody, meet Winnie Bear Peters. She loves to cuddle, is very curious, and a quick learner. The kennel training is underway, so we haven’t been sleeping much. But it’s worth it; we love her so much!

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Note: I’d like to keep the location and neighborhood of our home private! Thanks for understanding.

  • Your house is beautiful! It has great bones, and I can’t wait to see the process of your projects as they continue. And Winnie is just the cutest. Worth the sleepless nights, I’m sure!

  • congratulations on the home and pup! (Adorbs by the way!). House buying is/was such a fun learning experience for us as well. You quickly refine that wishlist and see potential in homes that need a little TLC. I see you are having fun making it your dream home!

  • Loved the tour! It is simply adorable and packed with all the character and charm I just love to see in an old house (I mean, those windows, stained glass, built-ins, beams, hardware, tile…amazing). Cheers to your new adventure and I can’t wait to follow along as you make your house your home πŸ™‚ Also, Winnie might be one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen!

  • Congratulations! I love all of the character, especially those windows! Will be fun to follow along and see your realized vision! I’m sure it will look fantastic πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing!

  • So many new and exciting things happening for you, Kate! Here’s to the new journey and sending you lots of happy vibes to keep you going with the renovation and raising that adorable pup!

  • Thanks for being so honest about your home-buying experience! Many bloggers just pop around and say, “we purchased a home” and it’s all perfect and already glammed out. I appreciate you sharing your real-life experience and the ups/downs associated with the entire process. Happy renovating!

  • Kate, I love your new space! It has such fantastic built-in features already and I know you’ll make them shine. And, I love Winnie! More puppy pics, please! I can’t get enough!

  • this house is just beautiful. how great that you found it. or, maybe it found you.
    i love the little kitchen. i kinda like the cabinet color with white walls and sitting area and beautiful wood floor to match, but i’m only seeing your video. you know what you want and like. you have great taste. you bought that home.
    i especially love the upstairs interior doors. those are shaker doors. we are upgrading all of our doors and that is the door i picked. have lots of fun. and that dog…priceless.

  • One of my favorite posts, for sure! We are about to start looking for our first home and hearing things that others have learned/seeing how people can spot the hidden gems feels invaluable! I can’t wait to see what you guys do with the place, and Winnie is adorable!

  • Oh my gosh we looked at this house too! It has so much character and I absolutely love it. Congratulations! I won’t give away where it is, but the neighborhood is perfect! Well done on Winnie too. She’s a doll!

  • If you don’t mind sharing, even via a direct message, I am curious which neighborhood you settled on? Our list for shopping for homes in the twin cities is much the same – character, value, and safety! I’m so curious where you found the sweet spot without completely compromising on one item. Lovely home!