We did it…we purchased an OLD HOUSE!

An old house that builders wanted to tear down and build a mini mansion in its place.  We’ve spent a lot of hours watching HGTV and fantasizing how we would renovate our very own fixer upper.

We saw ONE house, put an offer in with THREE other parties and WE WON!  Let the fun begin!

Why wait?

The day of closing my husband goes to our new “old” house and starts tearing down walls.

Fast forward one full year of fixing up our old house…thankfully we are NOT broke and my husband and I have NOT divorced!  The one piece of advice I will share…it is very important to talk to your spouse about the timeline for getting all the work down.  In my case, my husband wanted everything done yesterday!

I think there are four categories you can fall into when deciding to buy an old house.

  1. Hire professionals to do all the work
  2. Have a husband or wife who can do all the work. (You will notice that I am not in any pictures below)
  3. Combo of both 1 & 2
  4. Love your old house as it is

We chose option 2. With some exceptions.

Here’s a run-down of some of the projects we did in our first year:

Take a look at my Instagram #tomlinsonhomes for some before and after pictures. (https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/tomlinsonhomes/?hl=en)


We did a full kitchen renovation on a major budget.  IT CAN BE DONE if you have a husband who can pretty much do anything and a penny pincher (ME!).  With two walls removed and a few beams to hold the ceiling up we now have a dinner party friendly kitchen.

The Vision

We had a vision of copper and Pinterest inspired, minty green two-tone cabinets. Thankfully, I had a last minute change of heart and I decided to go with a blueish gray called “Jagged Granite” and white cabinets.

We purchased these cabinets that are unfinished (http://www.homedepot.com/p/60×34-5×24-in-Sink-Base-Cabinet-in-Unfinished-Oak-SB60OHD/202020625). We painted them twice. The first time we had to rush and we hired cheap help. The paint job turned out terrible!

Eight months later it looked like below and the second time was the charm;

Painting and Décor

You can make some minor changes to a room with paint, molding and new furniture knobs.

I’ve been tasked with the majority of the paint work in our house.  I personally think a bathroom is the hardest job to paint and I painted two of them.  I made one big paint mistake… so I suggest choose your colors wisely and bring sample paint home first. (What I thought was a gray color turned out to be more purple and now I’m left with a purple and beige bathroom!)

Easy Bathroom Fixes:

  1. Paint old bathroom cabinets. (See how mine turned out below)
  2. Change knobs on old cabinets (Homegoods always has cute knobs see below. Also check out: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/drawer-knobs/)
  3. Add a frame to a plain mirror. (See how it turned out below)
  4. I have not attempted this yet but…paint tiles. (How to here: http://www.domesticimperfection.com/2013/11/how-to-refinish-outdated-tile/)

Little Things Can Hold You Back

We found out three weeks after closing that our house got denied for homeowners insurance because it didn’t have a handrail on the back patio steps. All other project stopped and we got started on the fix.

Of course we could have hired someone to come in and add handrails but with a little Pinterest motivation, wood, paint… oh and a husband who likes nailing things together, we have our fix!


Let’s just say that a city girl from NY and a California dude should NEVER have attempted to landscape in Atlanta… in July!  We spent a full day, $800 and everything died! Red clay dirt and poison ivy is no joke! (See 2nd picture of flowers before they died).  This time around we bought flower boxes, painted them and color blocked our curb appeal. We still have yet to plant anything in the ground. I’m thinking a tall feathery grass, what do you think?  (See the purple feathery grass below).






Purple feathery grass



It’s been a year and we still have more to do… more to paint, more to renovate, windows, siding, the list goes on and on.  Buying an old house is definitely not for everyone!

Written by Lauren Tomlin

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