It’s been 6 months in the making but I can finally say that my family is living in our new home in Florida!  We bid on the short sale home on January 26 and we got our keys on June 28.  My husband moved down from Syracuse to Florida after our home was packed up at the end of February.  Earlier that week the boys and I flew to Charlotte, NC to stay with family.  We all assumed we would move into the hotel with my husband for the expected 3 month wait.  Thankfully we stayed behind because it took much longer than we anticipated. More on that story in a previous post.

By now several people have asked me “Was it worth the wait?”  I’m not sure how to answer that question.  Truth be told, the wait wasn’t the hardest part.  It was not knowing if waiting was going to result in the home, or when the waiting would end.  Had we been told “You will definitely get the home in 6 months.” it would have been a piece of cake and totally worth waiting for.  Instead we were told “It should only take 3 months.  You won’t know if you are getting the home until the bank tells you and there is no way of knowing how long that will take.”  We were in for an insane emotional roller coaster but finally, we are home!

Now that the wait, and uncertainty are over, the real fun begins.  We purchased a 4 bedroom 1976 ranch home on a cul-de-sac with old growth oak trees.  We also purchased the home “as-is.”  Before I list the many issues I don’t want you to think I hate my new home so I’ll explain WHY we bought the home.

Shade!  This house has shade tress all around and these beautiful oak trees also have romantic spanish moss hanging from them.  There are several palm trees and other plants around too but the trees mean that my kids can play outside even on hot summer days.



Cul-de-sac!  As a parent I am trying to keep my kids as safe as possible.  Living on a cul-de-sac allows us to also get some asphalt playing time with our ride on toys.  If you have never lived/played in a cul-de-sac then you don’t know what you are missing out on.





Charm!  Our street is so charming.  Or creepy.  Or both.  When I saw it for the first time it was at dusk and the orange sky was behind the shady oaks with their spanish moss hanging down.  It was a picturesque Halloween Street.  Every home is unique- most are ranches and a few are 2 story.  Some are brick, some have stone facades.  Each home has a unique mail box that matches their home’s style or bricks.




One level!  I despise stairs.  I like to have access to my kids.  Even though the home is fairly large I can be right at the scene of the crime as soon as a cry is heard.  I’m a bit of a worry wart and an paranoid of NOt hearing a cry so this is perfect.  Also, I don’t like carrying laundry up and down stairs.  Call me lazy… In Florida having one story makes it easier too cool the house too.

Pool!  Okay, so this one is a plus and minus but my husband really loves the idea of a pool.  He just had to shock the water tonight so the reality of pool upkeep is creeping up on us.  However, the kids both LOVE swimming and since it’s Florida almost everyone has a pool.  We have some more childproofing to do on this one too.  I’m a “worst case scenario” kinda mom so I’m thinking of every far fetched (but still plausible) way the kids could get to the pool when we are sleeping/showering/blinking.

When my husband and I were  younger and would talk about our dream home I said “Victorian” and he said “Brand new.  I don’t want anything old and dirty.”   Somehow we ended up with an old and very dirty home.  The bones are great, the layout is good, but the interior is YUCK.  Think 1970’s outlets, paneling, shell shaped sinks, and random stone planter in the great room.

It’s renovation time.

Since we are mostly unpacked (don’t tell that to the 20 boxes left in the garage… shhh) the real hard work begins.  The guest bathroom is getting completely remodeled.  We are removing the paneling from the walls where it exists and hanging dry wall, then painting.  We also have to replace all of the interior doors, repaint every single wall, remove the stone planter and fireplace, and somehow make our kitchen work with no pantry and very little overhead storage.  The lawn is just miserable and we’ve already had landscapers come just to remove the massive amount of leaves left over from years of neglect.  There are electrical issues, holes in walls, grime, and a deck that is just sad looking.

I have BIG plans and a tiny budget.  Pinterest, take me away…..

I’m not a home renovation or DIY blog but you might see some posts here and there about our home progress.  It might be interesting to some of you and if not, just skip to the next article.  As you can imagine our family is undergoing a lot of change at the moment.  I just got my Internet back and still haven’t unpacked my filming equipment.  Family (and sanity) come first so please bear with me during this time in our life when I might not be updating the blog as much as usual.  Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and support over these long 6 months.

It really is true what they say about home being where your family is.  My fears about adjusting to life together again were quelled immediately as we all just went back to life as usual like it was 6 months ago in Syracuse.  Except now we have more room to play and more sunshine!

Gallery of the inside of our home before any work has been done.  The theme is orange.

30 Responses

  1. Well…you could move the kitchens bar area and give yourself more cabinet space along the wall.  My kitchen is super tiny.  Even smaller than yours.  We live in an apartment right now so I use my dining space closet as a pantry.  My neighbor has standing extra shelves. 

    Your house could be way worse (okay, I realize it’s pictures and probably more to tell up close and personal).  I’ve lived in 70s houses my entire life.  My condo was/is pink.  Pink wall paper.  Pink carpet.  Pink tile in the bathroom.  Hideous.  The dining area had 1 foot by 1 foot mirrors glued to the wall, floor to ceiling.  Not joking.  It looked like I lived in a fun house.  So paneling is easy to deal with.  Paint it white.  Seriously that’s the “in” thing now.

    Go slowly too.  A lot of things you can do yourself, but remodeling the sinks and cabinetry may involve a contractor.

    Best of luck!

  2. I could swear I recognize that house.  I am from Hillsborough Co. originally…Then moved up past Syracuse to Ft. Drum, lol.  It’s quite the change!  You’ll love it.  Do be conservative with your A/C.  You’d be surprised how cool you can make it when it’s hot out…I would keep my A/C at 81…and use fans to circulate the cool air.  It was a lot cheaper than my friends who kept the thermostat parked on 72!  I am glad you are all finally together as a family again.  🙂

    Publix – BEST grocery store EVAR.  Brocato’s in Tampa – BEST CUBAN sandwich ever.  🙂  

    1. We think our windows are leaking air judging by the electricity bill. Another thing to possibly replace…. The fans are very helpful and luckily at some point someone added newer Hunter Douglas fans all throughout the home. Thanks for the tip!

      1. It’s possible.  DO NOT go with Lowe’s or Home Depot for installation.  They *do* have an easy, quick process…but the markup is like 400% or something crazy (this is what my husband did before the Army, lol – and my dad still does).  Find a local installer who orders their own windows & installs them.  It will still be costly, though…b/c in FL ALL new installs must have some kind of storm protection on them..and in different areas, there are different ratings (Polk County is a lower rating than Miami-Dade).  Those are obviously, more expensive windows.  For now, I would just caulk around the seals to prevent air escaping.

          1.  Youtube has an amazing variety of do it yourself instructions; most of them are even helpful when deciding if you can tackle a project yourself. 

  3. Glad to hear your are in 🙂 We bought a 1960’s home last year and there is a ton to do to update it. We have done a little and now we are pausing the home stuff to work on paying more towards student loans 🙁

    One of my favorite things about the house is the big shady trees is both our front and back yard. We live in NC so, as you know, it can get pretty hot here too.

  4. From your earlier descriptions of your home I had imagined something far, far worse and much, much dirtier.  =)  The place looks great and in time you will put your own touches on the place.  Start slow and remember to take it one project at a time.  As for the outlets, might I suggest the flat/smooth style like this  The are much easier to keep clean as are rocker style light switches. — Says the owner of an early 70s house

    1. I think the photos hide the smaller issues that are more obvious to the human eye like the baseboards, general dirt, the closets are covered in tar from the smokers who lived here, etc. I know it COULD be worse but it is definitely in need of TLC. I like the outlets, thanks!

      1. You’re welcome about the outlets, Kim.  And yes, I know what you mean about what the photos don’t show.  Smoke, dirt, and smells can hide in a picture and still require extensive scrubbing.  One more tip.  Since smokers have been in your home, I suggest Kilz Primer under anything you paint.  We had to use that to help block some animal smells and general ‘old house’ scents.  

        Also, if you need new light switches I love this style 
         of dimmer switch over On the ones similar to the second style, the tiny sliding piece’s little caps pop off easily when kids are in the house.  When we were renovating we added dimmer switches to our kids rooms, family room, and bathrooms.  Sorry for the discombobulated comment.  There’s a lot of action around me.  Take care!

  5. Yay! Congrats on your new home!! The interior isn’t so bad. Paint will do wonders, believe me! The house we bought in August last year was much more dated lol! Think diagonal cedar tongue & groove, scary brown & orange linoleum & brown fake fur on the outside of the claw foot tub! There were also bathroom vanities with a SINK in each of the two upstairs bedrooms. Yikes! The hardest part is that I moved up in November. Pregnant. Our little boy was born in March and it feels like the renos will never end. Sigh! Once again, congrats!

  6. I love your enthusiasm! Might I recommend checking out Design*Sponge (the blog) for ideas, too (if you don’t already follow it)? Most of her stuff probably gets pinned to Pinterest, but I love seeing the stories behind renos.

  7. I love the floor plan and beams in the ceiling in the great room. It sure has a lot of potential. We just bought an old 1950s home in need of TLC and renovation, and I am nervous about leaving my home that we just finished making perfect for us! You are giving me strength to move forward, and I will look to see more renovation photos! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Please do post your renovations! I’ve got a fixer home and could use some inspiration and of course some disaster DIY stories! (Really I hope there are no disasters though)

  9. Kim – not nearly as bad as I thought it would be after reading your post. HUGE potential. Getting rid of the orange paint will, all by itself, improve it 100%. If you don’t have the budget to do the fireplace, paint the stones AND the grout the same colour. Will also make a world of difference! Can’t wait to see what you do!

    1. I’m starting to lean towards this for now. I’m also thinking of repainting the panels rather than removing them, but sanding out the grain as much as possible first. I’m going to paint the front door yellow, stoked about that!

  10. I don’t think it looked horrible! Unless you are a magician with the camera! When you were describing it I was picturing MUCH worse. It won’t take too much to Pain and clean it, I am sure that will make a huge difference.

  11. I know you don:t want to hear this but your fireplace is gorgeous, so lovely. It reminds me of living at home with my parents and the floor to ceiling stone fireplace they had. Your house has so much potential and I agree the seashell sinks are awful, hahaha. What great memories you and your family will have in your new home, Congrats!

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