This small fixer upper house continues to teach us about simple living. We purchased it about two years ago and have been on a journey renovating and remodeling it basically on our own, with no experience, no architect, and minimal contractors involved!
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Since we wanted to live simply and spend the least amount of money as possible, we bought the smallest and cheapest house we could find. And it was of course, a fixer upper! The good news is that it’s in a really great location so has the potential to increase in value.
You can also watch a video about this here.
We live in an urban area that is very walkable. You actually don’t even really need a car in our neighborhood as there is a daily farmer’s market nearby, a grocery store, several restaurants and cafes, a park, library, and post office – all in walking distance. And if you do need to travel farther, there is a public train nearby.
We want to share our journey with you and what we learned along the way – what worked and what didn’t work for us. If you are also renovating a small fixer upper or building a tiny house, maybe you’ll find some inspiration here!
Small fixer upper – first time walkthrough
The day that we purchased our small historic fixer upper, we immediately drove to the house with key in hand to check out our new property. It was a rainy and gloomy day, so that just made the fixer upper look worse than what we remember from the sunny open house.
We realize that some people who buy move in ready homes have a bit of a different experience opening the door and touring the new home they’ve just purchased for the very first time. Our home was in no way move in ready and we weren’t completely sure when it really would be. And as you will see later, we end up moving into it before it was, well, actually move in ready! You may be in for a shock. More to come on that one soon!
This is our new home! What did we do? That was our first thought as we turned the key and walked into the very first home we’ve ever bought. Maybe it was the moldy smell or the overwhelming sense of what we knew was ahead – A LOT of work! I don’t think at this point though, we realized that we would end up literally gutting the entire house! Maybe if we knew that beforehand we wouldn’t have bought the house! In hindsight, maybe that is a good thing then?
We processed many things during our walk-through such as what tasks we should start first and the placement of our kitchen. My husband suggested we move the sink and place it under the kitchen window instead of having it face the back wall of the house. That is something we did actually end up doing later.
small fixer upper renovations – removing flooring
The very next day my husband got to work! The first thing he decided to tackle was the flooring in the first bedroom, which we have dedicated as an office space for now. The flooring was like a modern cheap laminate type style. Since we knew that we’d be replacing it with hopefully some type of hardwood floors later, it was time to begin removing them.
We also wanted to check out the foundation below the flooring as we knew that it was another project we would have to work on as the flooring was uneven in several areas and even sunk down in many places, which was an indicator that it was rotted and damaged.
It was very moldy under the flooring due to a lot of water damage. This was clearly the reason why the master bedroom was sinking down so bad in the corner. It was masked underneath the flooring with pieces of random cardboard to soak up the moisture I guess.
The kitchen had floating floors like peel and stick tile and plywood. Little did we know how many layers were actually in the kitchen! It was as if we discovered a time capsule of vintage flooring from previous decades. We’re just getting started here!
small fixer upper renovations – discovering original hardwood floors!
When we looked at the house with the realtor at the open house, he mentioned how there was probably plywood under the flooring instead of the original hardwood floors, so we had no expectations of finding any. However, when my husband began to peel away the layers of the current flooring, he actually did discover the original hardwood floors! It was exciting at first, until we realized that most of it was damaged due to moisture.
The good news is that we were able to salvage some of it and still working through what we will be able to use when we get to the point of restoring our floors. Yes, I know, it’s been over two years, and we still haven’t gotten to the flooring! Since we are both working full time jobs, it has been a challenge to move more quickly on some of these renovations.
These original hardwood floors are smaller planks and not like the more modern hardwood floors that are wider. It seems as if these small ones are unique to older homes and perfect for a tiny house! They are just plain cute and lend themselves to the doll house feel of the place.
My husband was excited about the new tool kit he was able to purchase to work on removing the hardwood floors to inspect the foundation underneath. He noted that they must have been on there for a long time as they were nailed down to the foundation and that is not common in modern day construction.
This is only the beginning and there is much more to come! Stay tuned to follow our journey.. you are in for A LOT of demo and DIY renovations!
check out our videos!
If you want to see how we purchased this small fixer upper and a video about our small historic home, click on the links below.