This year marks 11 years of homeownership for Corey and I. We’ve lived in three houses and have drastically transformed all three of them from where they started. Eleven years feels like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things we still have so much to learn! But, today, in honor of our house’s birthday week, I thought I’d take a second to reflect on some of what we have learned.
Because it’s been a lot.
So, here are five of the most important lessons I’ve learned (so far) as a homeowner.
1. Take your time.
When we bought our first house, I had no patience. I painted most of the walls before we even moved in. We ripped out some cabinets within the first month of living there (and didn’t patch the hole from it until we moved, six YEARS later). When we had an issue in our shower, we ripped the entire thing out without a plan for how to renovate it. And then it sat like that for about 18 months before we actually did anything.
I was young and eager and excited. All good things. But, over time I’ve learned it’s far better to take things slow when it comes to renovating and decorating your home. And I don’t just mean the obvious stuff like “don’t rip out cabinets until you have a plan for what comes next.”
I think more than anything, this house has taught me patience. It helps that when we moved in it was a blank slate. We didn’t have ugly, dated fixtures to deal with. We didn’t have any major eyesores. It was just a big ol’ white box. And so, I didn’t feel an urgent rush to fix things. So I went slow.
And guess what? I love what we’ve done in this home so much more than anything else I’ve ever done. Because I did it slow. I knew I wanted to install an electric fireplace in the living room before we even closed on the house. But, I waited over a year to get started on it because I wasn’t absolutely positive about what I wanted it to look like. If I had rushed forward and just tackled it right away, it would look completely different than it does today. And I wouldn’t love it half as much.
This house has taught me how to trust my gut, and that I shouldn’t move forward with a project until I know it’s what I want.
2. Your style will change
I think sometimes we get caught up in the idea of a “completed” house and forget that we, as humans change over time. Shouldn’t our home, as well?
In previous houses, if I decided I wanted to change something in my home, I felt like it was because I had failed. Because I had gotten it wrong the first time. Like I was rectifying a mistake.
Maybe this type of wisdom just comes with age, but now I know that desiring a change doesn’t mean the old way was wrong. It just means I’ve shifted, and I want my house to shift with me!
A perfect example? The kitchen cabinets in our first home. When I painted them blue and white, I loved that color combination with my entire heart. It was exactly what I wanted. It made me smile.
But, after we had lived in that house for about two years, I wanted something different. Calmer. Even though we were about to move, I repainted the cabinets to a more neutral greige, and it was like a puzzle piece clicked into place that I didn’t even know was missing. It was perfect, and exactly right.
But, if I had chosen that color from the beginning, the Amanda from two years prior probably would have thought it was boring.
We shift and change. It’s okay for our houses to shift too!
3. you can do so much more than you think.
In our first house, if I had to do something as simple as hang a picture, I would wait for Corey to get home from work. Power tools? Forget about it! I can’t do that!
But, by the time we left that house I was slowly starting to push myself to try new things. I was picking up a power tool here and there and realizing how fun it was.
11 years ago, I couldn’t even imagine any of that!
Being a homeowner (and someone who loves DIY) has taught me that I can do so much more than I realize. Many projects still intimidate me. I still get scared before I start a new building project. But I know I can do it now. Because I decided to just try.
4. Trim Makes ALL the difference.
My journey with adding trim and moulding to our walls has been a slow but steady one. In our first house, we barely had any trim on the walls. The only room we added it to was Jackson’s nursery.
Why? I have no idea! So many spaces in that home would have benefitted from some shiplap, accent trim, or bead board. But, it wasn’t a thing I thought about much when I was planning rooms.
In this house? Well, all bets are off. Eventually, I think it’s safe to say every single room in this house will have some sort of trim treatment on the walls. Why? Because I’ve learned that they add so much texture, dimension, and life to a room. I’ve learned that they make things feel cozy and elevated. And they make me happy!
Don’t ever underestimate the power of trim, my friends!
5. Lose the Fear
And finally, one of the most important lessons. This is honestly one that I haven’t ever struggled with much, but it’s a lesson that I desperately wish I could implant into the brains of every single person reading this post.
You shouldn’t be afraid to make your house your own.
Worried a paint color will be too bold? Who cares? It’s just paint! Re-paint it!
Scared that a trim treatment won’t turn out the way you envision it? Pull it off and try again. You’ll get there.
(Besides, it probably will turn out better than you even imagined.)
I think so many people live with a home that doesn’t feel like them because they’re scared. They’re scared to get it wrong, to make a mistake, or to mess something up.
And guess what? You will!
You’ll tackle projects that you decide you hate two months later. You’ll make a zillion mistakes that you need to fix. You will mess something up and have to go back and fix it later.
And that’s all part of the process. And the beauty.
It sounds so cheesy, I know, but DIY is a journey. Learning how to have the confidence to tackle projects in your home takes time. But I promise, it’s worth it! If you start small (hang a picture! Paint a wall!), and work your way up to bigger things (like trim or even building), you’ll be amazed at what you can do.
Just lose the fear and try something. It’ll be worth it. I promise.
Happy third birthday to our cute, cozy, new construction home. Sometimes I still marvel at how we found each other, but I’m so grateful we did.