5 Home Remodel Mistakes To Avoid

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Meet my husband, Al, and I. Newlyweds that got married the summer of 2016 and upon arriving home from our honeymoon, moved straight into my in law’s basement. Alec grew up on a lake that is now so dear to our hearts, (and my parents now live on it too!), so when we got engaged and a little house went on the market, right on the lake AND right down the street from both of our parents, we knew we wanted to go after it! At the time, he was living in a 5 bedroom house he had built, (his family builds homes for a living), and it was just too big for us in our stage of life right now. It is just the 2 of us and our pup, Leo, so this new home we found was perfect…but would require LOTS of work and a year long remodel. Hence why we moved right in with my in laws and spent our first 8 months of marriage there! Remodeling a home can be the BEST time ever. You get to rip out old flooring, update your kitchen, put pretty tiles in your bathroom, and my favorite part – buy new décor and furnishings! After going through a year long renovation, my new husband and I definitely did some things right and some things wrong, bringing lots of learning opportunities for you guys now and for future projects of our own!! Whether you are completely gutting an entire house out like we did (literally down to the studs), or just going room by room, I wanted to share 5 home renovation mistakes to avoid with you guys!

  1. Identify your goals and CREATE A BUDGET! This was probably our biggest mistake if I’m going to be super real and honest with you guys. I think we could have done a WAY better job budgeting. We had this number in our heads, but didn’t keep ourselves accountable of sticking to it. Neither did we really add up our costs as we went along, it wasn’t until almost the end when we realized how much money we had spent! Budget also comes to play when you are thinking about how much money you want to put into your home and for what reasoning. You always want to think of resale value – is this renovation a good investment and going to increase the value of your house? Or are you just updating it to make you happy and be more your style? We definitely did a little of both since our home value did go up, and we did some really fun materials that are more our style so we wake up every morning and love being in our house!
  2. Focus on one area at a time. This one doesn’t apply to our specific remodel since we were living with Al’s parents, BUT – if you are living in your home during the renovation, it’s super important to make sure you always have some sort of living space! Take it one area at a time so you don’t feel like you are living in a full on construction zone. You don’t want all your living space to torn apart at the same time!
  3. Figure out what rooms are the most important to you! This one is similar to number 2 but – if you have a certain budget when it comes to your remodel, you would be shocked at how fast it goes!! My husband and I had talked before and knew that our kitchen was the most important room to us and that it would be the area most of our money went to. The main areas that our guests see and are entertained in were at the top of our priority list! We wanted things like white brick on all walls, a farm house sink, and open shelving. Since we had discussed all of this prior, we were able to cut costs from other rooms in order to spend more in our kitchen and surrounding areas! Another area that Al cared a lot about was our powder or ‘guest’ bathroom since it is right in the main area and all our guests would be using it! We did some cool tile, reclaimed wood, and a pretty glass bowl sink in there to give it some added character!
  4. Pick / research your contractors! This seems like a no brainer, but I cannot express how important it is to hire someone who knows what they are doing and in our case is also slightly a perfectionist! If you are a perfectionist like my handsome hubby, you will notice little things, especially when it comes to your house so you want to make sure you and your contractors are on the same page and that they know how to do everything just how you like it! We hired a family friend and he was so amazing because he gets our style so he did everything how he knew we’d like it, plus he would always suggest new ideas of things we maybe had not seen!
  5. Don’t stress the little things and RELAX. Big things in life such as this can easily consume you and make you feel lots of stress that if we are being real, is not needed!! Make sure at the end of the day you do what you need to do to unwind, (open a bottle of wine or have some hot tea), and enjoy the process that’s being made. This is something we always tried to remind each other throughout the process as move in dates got pushed back, and materials were backordered. Nothing goes exactly as you plan so you just gotta enjoy the time!

Those would be my top five tips when going through a home renovation! I hope you guys found these helpful and enjoy your time remodeling your home because it really is such a joy to customize it and make it reflect you and your family!!

Happy Monday!




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  1. 11.14.17
    Emily said:

    Love this so much! Do you have before and after pictures?

    • 11.17.17
      Karlie Rae said:

      We do somewhere!! I need to rally them up! Maybe get some after photos taken with a nice camera and I could do a blog post showing before and afters!! That’d be fun! Thanks for the idea love!! xo

  2. 12.2.17
    Alicia said:

    Is this a wallpaper or real brick on the walls in the kitchen picture?! It looks so good whatever it is. My boyfriend and I bought a little fixer upper/first home almost a year ago. The house is from the 70s and I am struggling with removing old wall paper. Someone told me they have new textures of wallpaper that are amazing, just curious if that’s what I’m seeing in your photo. Thanks 🙂

    • 12.5.17
      Karlie Rae said:

      Hi Alicia!

      The brick is real brick in our kitchen!! I have seen amazing versions of wallpaper though I’m sure you can definitely find something that looks awesome!! There are so many cool ones out there!

      Happy to help! Feel free to reach out whenever! 🙂

      • 12.5.17
        Molly said:

        Hi Karlie!

        I LOVE the brick. Is that original in the house or did you install it yourself? Is it stained or white washed?

        • 12.6.17
          Karlie Rae said:

          Hi Molly!

          Thank you so much!! It wasn’t in the house originally! We picked it out ourselves and had a man we know who installs it for a living come install it for us! It’s already white and has the coloring like that! 🙂 The name of it is Tundra Brick!!!

          Hope this helps!!

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