Bridget’s First House 4 Years Later
November marks 4 years since Matt and I bought our first house and I just can’t believe it’s been a whole four years here!! On one hand it feels like we’ve been here for a long time and have done so much in the process, and then on the other hand I feel like we blinked and four years passed by. How does that happen!?
Stats & FAQs
To celebrate this mini milestone, I thought I would answer some of the questions we get asked most often about our house. What’s our favorite project? What’s our biggest regret? What have we learned from this house? Do we consider our house almost done? Do we plan on moving? Before we get to all of this scoop, here’s some quick stats about our current home in case you’re new to the DIY Playbook:Photo from the day of our house’s inspection
- 1,100 sq. foot Ranch, no basement, one car garage
- 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
- Built in the 1960’s
- about 20 minutes outside downtown Chicago & about 25 minutes to Casey’s (without traffic)
Matt and I bought this house in 2012 before we got married. Matt lived in it for about a year until I moved in after our wedding. During that year, we slowly tackled projects and bought furniture until I eventually moved in after our December wedding in 2013.
I also realized that I tend to photograph each room separately (mostly because of the size of my lens). Because I could never capture wide shots, I was never able to provide our readers with proper context of the layout of our house. We finally bought a wider lens and now I can capture our open concept far more effectively.
I thought today was the perfect time to finally share some very wide shots of our home so you can get a feel for the WHOLE house and how it looks from every corner. I hope this perspective helps!
What’s your favorite project?
It’s hard to choose ONE favorite project because I love a few different projects for different reasons. Here are some of my favorites…
- Laundry Room: my first larger solo DIY project. I’m still so proud that I did it all by myself and learned SO much from it!
- Hallway Board and Batten: Still love the look of this project and loved tackling this project with (and learning from) my dad
- Dining Room Board and Batten: Another dad-daughter project that makes such a huge impact in our house. I’m obsessed with the affordable transformation!
- Built-ins: We hired this project out and it makes such an impact in our space.
- The Bathroom: I didn’t have the budget to gut this already nice enough space, so I never thought I would love it. But with with a few cosmetic changes, I surprisingly REALLY love our bathroom now! And although it’s a $3 update, I still love the look of our bright grout!
- DIY Backsplash: Wow, what a difference backsplash made in our home. Still love the look and really learned a lot from that project!
- Outdoor Patio: We started with absolutely NO landscaping and NO patio or patio door in our house. We hired this expensive project out but wow… what. a. difference! I couldn’t imagine our house without a patio… or grass.
View from the front door.
What’s our biggest regret?
Well, I’m hesitant to call any decision a “regret” because although they were definitely rookie mistakes, they did teach me a lot and have helped me identify what not to do in my forever home. In that sense, I’m grateful they happened and I don’t see them as regrets BUT here are the decisions I’m not a fan of:
- Buying dark, matchy-matchy furniture: We bought it before I knew any better and furniture is expensive, so we’re still paying the consequence of this design mistake.
- Not knowing my “style”: I’m still trying to figure out my style but I do think I have a much better sense of this style now (thank goodness!). I experimented a lot with my style in this home and in the process have lived through styles that are definitely not me. I’m hopeful that by the time we move onto a new house, I will have identified my style so I don’t have to get stuck living with items that aren’t me.
- Rushing into DIY/decor decisions: Because of the nature of the blog world, I usually act fast when it comes to DIY and decor decisions and I wish I didn’t make some of the quick decisions that I did. Of course there are positives to moving fast (… you get a lot done around the house!) but there are some decisions I wish I would have waited on and didn’t rush into (i.e. light fixtures, bedroom built-in, patio furniture, laundry room shelf) so I could avoid design regret. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate these things… I would just do things a bit differently #liveandlearn
What have we learned from this house?
SO MUCH!! I learned…
- I actually LOVE living small and challenging myself to live with less
- Maintaining your home with a full-time job is hard!
- I do almost everything around the house just like my mom (although not nearly as well)
- I hate cooking
- I don’t want a dark kitchen in my next house
- What my style is and what my style is NOT
- What I would look for in my future house
Do we consider our house almost done?
Yes and No. If I lived in this house for 20 more years, I’m sure I can keep myself busy DIY-ing for all twenty of those years, which tells me that a home is never “done”. However I also realize that it’s okay to enjoy the process and take pride in the projects that are done. So I’m somewhere in the middle but probably leaning towards NO it’s not done. I plan on swapping out our guest room and office over the next few months, so there’s still some pretty big items on our DIY to-do list!
Do we plan on moving?
Eventually. I don’t see this 1,100 sq foot house as our forever house because it’s just a bit too small for a whole family. Eventually, we do want to move. The problem is that you can’t get a whole lot for your money in our area. Right now we are enjoying this house, saving as much as we can, and will hopefully start looking for our forever house in the next couple of years. We are hoping that by then we can get more for our money and take the time to really identify what we are looking for. But let’s be honest… my eyes are always peeled for that house 😉
For those of you who have been here since we first moved into this house at the very beginning of the DIY Playbook, THANK YOU! I have loved sharing my journey with you (although I could live without some of the horrible photography in the very beginning). I cannot thank you enough for all of the support, and encouragement over these past few years! This first house has taught me SO much about me, my style, and what I would look for in my forever home. In the meantime, we could not be more grateful for this 1,100 square foot ranch that we have the honor to call home.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.