What I've Learned from My Home Renovation: ThisYoungHouse.com

Posted by Paige Thomas ~ February 10, 2009

As the old saying goes: Hindsight is 20/20.

Looking back it's easy to see where things went wrong, or what you would have done differently.

For a homeowner, having the helpful hindsight of others can be priceless, especially if you're a new homeowner with big renovation plans on your mind.

To help you avoid having "woulda, shoulda, coulda" renovation moments, I'm working on compiling the insights and experiences of a number of my favorite bloggers who are working through their own renovations and remodels...and doing it successfully!

Our first feature is from John and Sherry of ThisYoungHouse.com. This young couple is documenting the remodel of their home in Richmond, Virginia. A modern, fresh and young take on home renovation this couple's blog is a testament to the great changes you can accomplish - even if you're on a budget!

Because of their success on their own home, they've also taken to helping others fix up their spaces as well. When readers write in with pictures of a space screaming for a makeover, John and Sherry provide mood boards and color swatches to help the reader understand a vision for their space. More often than not the transformation is breathtaking.

Sherry was kind enough to answer my questions and talk about her backyard wedding, working through some 50-year-old bathroom plumbing issues, and of course where she goes for inspiration.

Take it away Sherry:

1. What has been your greatest accomplishment while working on your home?
Our greatest accomplishment has been completely overhauling a dated and dingy home on a serious budget. From thrift store trolling (where we found our living room coffee table and our armchair in the den) to brainstorming creative low-cost solutions (like using bamboo blinds as "cabinet doors" in our laundry room) we're really thrilled with the result. 2. What is one thing you wished you would have done differently? One of our biggest regrets is that we didn't complete more of the renovation before our at-home backyard wedding in July of 2007. We knew it was possibly the only time that many of our distant friends and relatives would see our home so we did our best with what we had (painted the walls and trimmed the bushes). But we'll probably always wish that our kitchen remodel and our dining-room-to-third-bedroom conversion along with our new mocha wood flooring could have been completed before the wedding so our friends and family could have seen the big transformation. Ah well, better late than never, right?

(John and Sherry's Final Kitchen Remodel)

3. Has there ever been a project you started where you realized it might have been way over your head? Switching out our bathroom's shower knobs was quite a debacle! With 50 year old plumbing we knew we were in over our heads the minute we tried to loosen a bolt and were sprayed in the eye with water. Thankfully a local plumber came out and saved the day. Three hundred dollars later we had completely updated bathroom plumbing behind the walls and shiny new bathroom fixtures too. The lesson: we can handle electrical projects, but we'll leave major plumbing jobs to the experts.

(The oh-so-chic! master bedroom remodel)

4. If you had one piece of advice for someone starting out on major renovations, what would you tell them? Well, first we'd tell them that budgets will be exceeded and timelines will never be met. It helps to manage your expectations ahead of time so you can enjoy the ride instead of gritting your teeth the whole time. Then we'd just say have fun! There's nothing like watching your house become your dream home before your very eyes.

(The remodeled den)

5. What are some of your favorite remodeling resources?

As far as blogs go, we adore the blogs MakingItLovely, Decorno and Decor8 for constant inspiration. We also look to glossy mags like House Beautiful, Domino and old copies of Cottage Living for eye candy. And as for our favorite places to shop for yummy home decor and furnishings, we love ZGallerie, The Company Store, West Elm, TJ Maxx, Jamali Garden (for great cheap little accessories) and of course Target and Ikea for inexpensive and affordable staples. Oh and JC Penney has some surprisingly fabulous finds on a budget. Most people don't believe that every room in our house is filled with inexpensive furnishings from big retailers like Target, Ikea, and West Elm but we're totally cheap when it comes to our house, so we prefer to mix inexpensive pieces for a deceptively high-end look on a dime. In fact, you can click here for a room by room rundown of our furnishings and accessories. Long live inexpensive interior decorating!

Thanks John and Sherry!

Next week: Check out another interview with Leah of House Obsession

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