We bought a house!! It has always been my dream to own a home, and I can’t believe it has finally come true! After a somewhat stressful home searching process, my boyfriend and I have purchased our dream 1980s fixer upper. This home has tons of potential, and I can’t wait to share my DIY renovation series with you starting with the empty house tour! Home improvements on a budget are in the works for the coming months.
Why We Decided to Buy
My boyfriend recently got a new job in a quaint commercial fishing town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is quite the change from living in Vancouver and only accessible by a ferry! I was extremely excited by the thought of moving here, and luckily I run my own business that I can pick up and move anywhere.
While we did not intend to immediately buy a home at this point, it quickly became the best option. There were little to no available rental units in the area. Fortunately, house prices here are a lot more reasonable than those in the Vancouver area, so we were able to explore the option of purchasing.
Buying Our First Home
The home buying process wasn’t quite a walk in the park. There was very limited inventory on the market and lots of competition once a home was listed. We didn’t live close by, so planned some weekend trips to look at homes. After seeing a home we really liked sell before we had a chance to make an offer, we lucked out when the home next door went on the market. Seeing all the potential it had, we loved the neighbourhood, and before we knew it we bought a house! We finally signed a contract on our perfect first home that has since been named the Hardy House!
We moved into our new place on October 31 of 2020. Before I get ahead of myself and tell you about all the exciting updates we have completed and have planned, let’s take a quick empty house tour of our 1980s fixer upper!
About the House
The Hardy House is located in a beautiful wooded neighborhood that is just a 5-minute walk to the ocean. It was always in our plan to purchase a place that needed a full-on house remodel. My boyfriend and I aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty to achieve our home improvements on a budget and my dad has volunteered (enthusiastically) to help us out! So there will be plenty of DIY renovation videos and blogs up ahead!
Our 1980s fixer upper is bursting at the seams with character. From the high ceilings in the front room to the statement wood stove, we see tons of potential waiting to be tapped into. For our design style, we will give the home a West Coast feel since it is located in the Pacific Northwest and not far from the ocean. Along with the ocean, we will grab inspiration from the nearby forests and mountains for an organic, cozy feel.
The home has a wood stove which is the primary source of heat and electric baseboards throughout which will be used less. Keeping the home warm through the winter will be our first challenge!
DIY Renovation Planning
Our very first plan of action in this DIY renovation will be to remove all the carpets and existing wood flooring and replace all the flooring throughout the home. We will also paint the entire interior and install new doors, baseboards, light fixtures, ceiling fans, closet organizers, stair railings, etc. This will give us a good base to start personalizing the home. From there, we will complete our home improvements on a budget one room at a time, starting with the three bathrooms followed by the kitchen and laundry room.
We also plan to make replacing the wood stove, which is the main heat source. Replacing the windows are also a priority on our list. We hope to complete most of this work as a DIY renovation, but will certainly leave the more complicated tasks and projects up to the professionals. Below is some inspiration for the changes we plan to make over the coming months and years.
Our Empty House Tour
Check out my empty house tour on YouTube and read on below for all the details!
Our 1980s fixer upper is best described as a contemporary home. Their entire home is sided in wood cladding panels that are currently somewhat of a sage green colour. Our front door is just about centred with our garage door on one side and a row of four window panels on the other. The entry door is recessed from the very front of the house and accessed by a few front steps. The recessed entry space is covered with warm bricks. I really love this and can’t wait to highlight with some minor cosmetic changes.
The landscaping at the front of our house is slightly overgrown and will need a bit of refreshing. The previous owners also widened the driveway with gravel, and we need to figure out what to do with that. I have a feeling that soon we will be home improvements on a budget experts!
A nice backyard was a priority for use before we bought a house and this place certainly delivers! The backyard is accessible from our casual living space and first leads out to a wooden deck. The deck is covered with a clear corrugated roof which will be great for those rainy evenings, but something that in the future we will upgrade. Off of the deck is a fenced in yard space. There is a large section of grass bordered by gravel.
Our doggie, Beau, has been loving the outdoor, grassy space! There is a covered hot tub on the side of the home, and we will need to see if it works before we decide if we keep that.
The First Floor
Immediately upon walking into our home, you are welcomed by our front room/foyer that features extra high ceilings. From the front entry, there is a line of sight down a hallway to a view of our backyard – I love this feature! In the short hallway, there is access to our second floor stairs along with a hall closet.
Off the entrance way is a living room that is on the front of the house. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in tons of natural light and offer a view of the road. This room features our statement wood burning stove front and center. We will use this space as our formal living room.
The room has plenty of existing wood features that we will highlight in our final design including wood floors, wood ceiling beams and a chevron wooden accent wall separating the formal living room from the dining room space.
The front room is open to the dining room space. The natural light carries into this area with a nice large window. I will be replacing the existing chandelier with a modern alternative that brings a sense of style to the room. In between the front formal living room and the dining room, there is an opening to the second floor staircase. I can’t wait to replace these stair railings to bring in another design element.
Next up on our house tour, is the kitchen! I am most excited about our house remodel when it comes to the kitchen and bathrooms. These rooms tend to be more costly renovations, so I am excited to challenge myself with home improvements on a budget. Our kitchen already has some great features including a large window above the sink, a somewhat open floor plan, newer appliances and a functional layout. When we bought a house, we made sure that the kitchen had a layout that would easily transform (eventually) to what we wanted.
Eventually our kitchen will be completely overhauled to fit my ideal West Coast bright and open design style. However, for now, it will work just fine with some minor adjustments.
Directly off of the kitchen is our second living room that will be used for more of a casual, hangout space for TV viewing. The wonderful natural light shines in this space as well through a pair of floor-to-ceiling windows along with a single French door that leads to our backyard.
Much of the charm of this 1980s fixer upper is in the wood accents, but they do need some work as this one above has been stained a dark colour that we aren’t in love with.
Just past the second living room is a small powder bathroom that will be perfect for guests. I like that it is a little bit separated from the public space for more privacy. The powder room is connected by a hallway to the laundry room and a mudroom space.
Our laundry room is a great size and has tons of storage potential. Right now it features just a washer and dryer, a spare refrigerator, and a bit of shelving. I plan to better utilize the space with tons of cabinets and shelving to maximize the functionality. One day I would like to put in a dog wash station and built in cabinets.
The Second Floor
As you walk up the main staircase to the second floor, you are greeted by a small landing area that includes a small loft space and a mini storage closet. I can’t wait to make the loft area into a cozy, little reading nook or even a workout space! From the stairs, there is a hallway to the right and left that provides access to the rest of the rooms on the second floor.
Bedroom #1 – Guest Bedroom
Directly across from the landing area is the first bedroom, which we will use as a guest bedroom. This room is a great size and includes a nice closet for clothes storage. It will receive new flooring and new paint, but otherwise the updates will be minimal.
Bedroom #2 – Office
To the right immediately off of the landing area is the second bedroom upstairs, and it will be used as an office. Again, this room won’t receive any major upgrades and just needs new floors and new paint.
The main upstairs bath will be mostly used by overnight guests for now. It is one of the more outdated spaces in our home, but has tons of potential, and it is a great size! The current layout works well and there is great natural light. The current shower/tub is straight out of the 1980s, complete with a mirrored sliding door, and is begging for a refresh. You don’t buy a 1980s fixer upper without some decor treasures like this!
Some more significant portions of our house remodel will happen in the primary bedroom. As soon as you walk into the primary bedroom, there is some built-in shelving and the entrance to the ensuite bathroom on the left. Eventually, we will remove this built-in shelving to help expand the side of the ensuite bathroom. I can’t wait for this DIY renovation project, as the current bathroom layout feels a little small, and it is certainly outdated. This is one DIY renovation that needs to happen ASAP! The dark brown doors will also be replaced and should be a big improvement.
When we bought a house, we were glad to find one that had ample storage space, so losing this small closet wasn’t a big deal.
The bedroom itself is a huge space with more of that awesome natural light and a huge walk-in-closet – SO grateful for this! We will eventually update the shelving in the closet to better utilize the space. The walk-in-closet even has its own window for some natural light, which makes me so happy! We are so lucky that this 1980s fixer upper has plenty of windows.
If you are excited that we bought a house and all the upcoming home improvements on a budget, you might also like 10 Tips for a Quick Bathroom Refresh in a Weekend, What You Need for Your First Apartment or Keep Your Indoor Plants Alive While on Vacation – Houseplant Tips.
What’s Next for the Home Renovation for this 1980s Fixer Upper?
We are super excited to get our DIY renovation started! And lucky for us, our families are as well! As soon as they heard we bought a house, they could not wait to help with our house remodel. They will be joining us soon for renovation kick-off week, and we are super grateful for their help. We will start demo-ing and replacing the floors, painting the walls, and completing other cosmetic updates. That will create a blank slate for our design.
Our empty house tour is just the first blog in our renovation series! Up next, we will be choosing the floor and paint colours. The goal will be to keep it all in line with our home improvements on a budget.
Stay tuned because we are going to be busy that now that we bought a house! Good thing we enjoy researching DIY renovation techniques and decor inspiration.