• taryngibb

Where to Start?

Anyone who’s owned a house can probably relate when I say we had no idea where to start when we moved into our house. So like every {not so} intelligent, {far from} wealthy 20-something, we just broke out the hammer and started smashing. (Smart right?)

Within our first weekend in our house, we had completely torn down a flimsy bookshelf in our living room., ripped up every baseboard in our living room, and painted our kitchen. If that wasn’t enough, we thought, why not get started on the basement too? We rented a dumpster, had it parked in our driveway, and man did I ever work out some of the frustrations I had at work.


What no one tells you, especially not those fancy TV shows, (perhaps my way to renovate our next house. What do you think HGTV? Pick me!) is that things don’t exactly come back together as quickly as they look on TV. I thought I was realistic, thinking we could get our floors updated, our walls painted, our trim replaced and maybe some kitchen renovations all within a few months of moving in. Let me put into perspective exactly what we’ve done now.

  • 2/3 of the floors on our main floor

  • 1 coat of paint in the living room

  • Put a LOT of holes in walls

  • Broke a vanity

  • Threw away all the main floor doors (for our safety, sanity and relationship, we still have the one on the bathroom!)

As you can see we’re a long way from finishing what we’ve started. We’ve learnt a lot along the way, and that’s what I’m excited to share with you! I have a few tips for you if you’re planning on moving into a new house and starting a renovation.

Develop a Plan:

Sounds simple right? Wrong! We were so excited to move in that we wanted to get our dream house as quickly as possible. I mean, we all know it only takes 30 minutes to complete a whole kitchen renovation on TV right? Unless you have all the time in the world, you will really appreciate having some time to enjoy a room that is still in tact. One thing someone told me when we moved in was “live in the house for a while before you start making changes”. I understand the value in this now. We did wait before we started anything big, but we realized how important things like an open concept and an entertainer’s kitchen was for us. We learned what we needed to make things functional, especially in the kitchen. We also had time to think about what we wanted from each of the spaces in our house. Knowing now how little we use our basement, it probably would have been smart for us to leave the walls in place, the ceiling where it was, and the floors in one piece.

I actually drew out our floor plan. Because we only had access to the house twice after our home inspection, this really helped me to figure out what we wanted to do with each of the rooms.

Set a Budget:

I work in retail, I deal with home improvement flyers on a weekly basis, and I have for a while now. I know what a lot of things cost, but there were a lot of incidentals that I didn’t factor into our projects. We were lucky, with Dave being an electrician, my dad being a steam/gas fitter (he can handle plumbing and gas lines!) and a few friends as general contractors, we had a lot of help along the way. I didn’t think of some of the less glamourous things; when you end up shopping for 6 electrical outlets, 4 dimmer switches and a bunch of pot lights for one room, you’ll see what I mean! You’ll also find yourself upgrading in some cases. We found we didn’t want to change certain things twice, so we spent a bit more up front.

Take things one room at a time:

As I hinted at above, there is nothing better than having a single room that you can use to escape your renovations. Sometimes, I wish we had two. That way we could have escaped from both the renovations and each other! (ha-ha!) all joking aside, we argued over small things, (ie. Dimmer switches, crown moulding, laundry!) and sometimes you just need some space to yourself to unwind, especially when you’re dealing with the stress of the renovations.

Do some research:

I am obsessed with the Internet. Between Pinterest, Houzz, Google and even looking at real estate listings, I found so many things that I’ve planned to adapt, used as inspiration or even copied in some cases. I’ve followed other bloggers, fell in love with small shops and have started planning, long before we even moved in. I had a pretty strong vision, but even still, it has evolved as our projects have. If you want to get an idea of some of my inspiration, click here to check out what I’ve pined along the way!


If Dave reads this post, he’ll probably laugh and ask me where I’ve compromised, but I have (on occasion). If there are two or more people involved in a renovation, you really do need to take the time to level set your expectations, and decide on finishes you like together, but realistically, sometimes a girl just has to get her way! #amiright?

We’re obviously a long way to go, but these are a few of the things I learned along the way, things that may not have been said out loud by other people, but that may have changed the way my impulsiveness rushed things!

I guess you could say Taryn It Up fits based on the fact that we clearly have done a lot of tearing things up, and not a lot of putting things back together (yet.)

- Taryn


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