top of page

Home Renovation on a Legit Budget: Part I - the background

Okay, y'all. Here are some thoughts and background.

One - I realize that to some, $50,000 for a home renovation is laughable. Some people will roll their eyes and scoff at what products we chose in order to save money. On the other hand, I realize that to many, $50,000 is completely unattainable. I fell into that camp. It seemed like no matter how we saved for projects, the finish line kept moving due to inflation, supply chain shortages, labor increases, etc. For example, the front porch I designed had a 2019 quote of $6,000 and I *guffawed* at that. Now that same design in 2023 is coming in at over $9,000, and there is simply no way we can swing that in one fell swoop.

Two - I made design choices based on two things: making our home comfortable and enjoyable for us now, and keeping things just neutral enough to help with resale. While I do not know the future and what it has for us, we do not feel like this is our forever home. I say this because OF COURSE I'd prefer to hire an interior designer (looking at you Lauren Bradshaw and Meghan Kardow) to make the mind blowing choices I do not have the imagination or expertise for. So while IKEA bathrooms and kitchens may not be for everyone, it was the perfect choice for us with where we're at in life.

Just some things to keep in mind as I walk you through how we updated our 1978 ranchette.

So without further ado - here are some pictures of the home when we purchased it. These are all from the listing, thus the superb quality. Ha.

It was the perfect starter home for us. After leaving our tiny one bedroom bungalow in Santa Monica, California, a three bedroom, two bath ranchette on 1.5 acres felt like PALATIAL. We started by painting every wall, door, trim, and ceiling bright white. Something we learned is when you buy a long, rectangular house in the middle of the woods, you don't get much natural light. So I chose bright white (color matched Benjamin Moore's Super White at Home Depot) to lighten up the inside a bit. Eventually, we replaced the vinyl sticker floor tiles (cannot emphasize the nightmare both removal and installation was enough) with laminate my sweet Wesley found at a close out store. Other than that, it was just small diy renovations I could do on my own (like painting the bathroom linoleum) until we could save up for the real renovations.

Another side note. Not to get all food blogger burying the recipe on you, but I learned a lot about myself, about contentedness, about consumerism and materialism during the last few years in this house. Because I work in a visual industry, and due to the nature of many of my clients being very well off, my expectation of how I should be living was skewed. But here I learned how to let go of a lot, and I am so grateful. I'm grateful for our small closets, because they were built at a time when the homeowner only needed one coat. I'm grateful for our small rooms, because they keep us cozy and force us to reduce our spending on things we most likely don't actually need. I'm even grateful for our low ceilings, because even though every home construction in Nashville right now has huge, vaulted ceilings that make a home seem so fancy and new, our low ceilings keep our utility bills low. I only mention this because if you're like me, and have the same desire to keep up with whomever is inundating your feed, think about using it as a growth opportunity. :)

OKAY. Food blogging over.

Here's the breakdown of our spending for these renovations. I will say this repeatedly throughout the next few blogs, but finding a trustworthy contractor is worth it's weight in GOLD. We are SO FORTUNATE to have an incredible jack of all trades down the street from us. Daniel LeBeau ( is an artist, he's capable, he's honest, he's tireless to get the job done. If you're in the Nashville area, I cannot recommend him more highly. He will hands down be your best hire in any renovation job. The same goes for Spencer Maige (, our electrician. He is honest, reliable, and quick to jump in any help wherever he can. These two likely saved us thousands of dollars just by their integrity alone. We did end up getting a little hosed on drywall labor, but we didn't know it at the time. Probably could have saved a thousand or so there, but a lesson learned. Thankful it wasn't more of a hit.

Okay! Next up is the breakdown on our bathroom renos. I guess I am sort of a food blogger. But this is just getting too long...see you in a couple days!


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page