A couple of weeks ago, my little home was “featured” on a new Instagram account called Halifax Living Space. The account spotlights the interiors of apartments, houses and homes in general of Haligonians and each feature shows very different interior design concepts and interior design tastes.
Participating in the account got me thinking about how far my little “close-to-retirement-aged-house” has come over the past five years. Buying an older home is not for the faint of heart. Old homes can come with equally old plumbing, plaster walls, small/awkward room sizes and little-to-no storage. They can come with layers of chipping paint, scary basements and windows that are painted shut. On the flip side, older homes can come with the kind of character that is difficult to replicate. Solid wood trim, retro built ins and walls that have witnessed years of love and life.
When I bought my house, I knew there was a lot of work ahead of me. I knew it needed an oil tank and gallons of paint. I knew the windows needed replacing, the floors needed refinishing and I knew that I would have to pick away at things over the years. I also knew that it would be a process and that there would always be another project waiting in the wings. I realized that new furniture would have to wait, that kitchen reno’s likely wouldn’t happen for a decade and that I was going to have to get creative. What I didn’t realize was how expensive renovations can be and the importance of learning a few handy skills to make your space livable while remaining affordable.
Over the years I have replaced the roof, the oil tank, exterior doors and thirteen (!!) windows. I have re-painted every surface at least once and many are going on their second or third paint “face-lifts” because paint it cheap and can transform anything quite dramatically. I have had the floors refinished, I have slowly replaced some furniture, upgraded light fixtures and I have thrifted endless amounts of DIY decor. Yet, there is still so much to do!
My renovation list for the near future includes kitchen flooring , shiplap in the bathroom and a new vanity (but for now my retro one is getting it’s third “paint-lift”). I still have light fixtures to install and more paint for the bathroom walls waiting in my basement for a day where I have a little spare time. Eventually, I would love to tear down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and reimagine the whole thing into a more practical, storage savvy place that makes better use of the small footprint. I just need another five years and some extra shifts at work.
My advice to people who are struggling to find a style, to renovate on a budget or to pair down an existing collection into key pieces would be to amass a collection of things you love. Peices that are authentic to you regardless of style, price or vintage. What will result is a home that reflects you. A home that tells your story!