Our Fixer Upper Renovation – One Year Later

“There’s no place like home.”

– Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

A year ago this week, our family made the leap and moved into our house.

The hubby and I had previously lived in a small townhouse for over 10 years. T spent three wonderful years in that condo with us, but it was evident that we outgrew the space.

We bought an old fixer upper house built in the late 50s. We are only the second owners. The original owners were teachers and raised teachers too. So while the home was very old, I love the sense of family and history that I felt when I walked around during the open house.

We also bought this home, because it was within our budget in this insane urban real estate market, because it needed so much work.

The hubby and I knew this would be a long term fixer upper journey. He’s a huge fan of HGTV shows and we both saw it as a project that we would do while watching T grow up.

The first reno we did was to add a furnace, because the home was so outdated that it was being heated by electric baseboard heaters, which gets very pricy in Canadian winters.

We hired a contractor to reno our upstairs, which had three bedrooms and two baths.

When you are watching a reno show, everything gets wrapped up in 30 minutes. Our experience was not neat and short.

From the first day when our bedroom ceilings got ripped open, so that duct work could be added, I felt the stress.

We would come home from work and our entire house would be covered in dirt. I wasn’t even sure if it was safe to be in our house.

The hubby, T and I set up our sleeping space in our barren living room. We slept on mattresses and used boxes as our closet system.

But you know what, those five months living together in that tiny corner brought so many warm memories and moments of bonding.

I loved falling asleep with T next to me and waking up in the morning while the rising sun came in through our kitchen window and seeing the hubby and T still in their dreamy state.

T became a wonderful helper. Where it made sense and it was safe for him to help, we got T to do reno tasks like pulling old nails from the floor. T was so keen to help and did a great job.

Our upstairs reno is now complete. Our hubby asked for a craftsman style look to our doors and trims. We chose neutral colours for walls and doors.

For T’s room, we went with a sedate and grown up look and feel for two reasons. First, this was a room he was going to grow into. Second, for kids with special needs, it’s best to keep the bedroom room simple and uncluttered to minimize sensory overload.

We are now taking a pause with renovations to save money for the next phases, which include updating the kitchen and main floor.

The hubby and I are in no rush, because this is the home we will grow old in and watch T grow into the wonderful young man that we know he will become.

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