Home Renovations – So Far…

If you’ve been following along lately, you know that my husband and I have recently withdrawn a bunch of money from the equity in our house in order to pay for some upcoming renovations.  We have some big plans and I have had some requests for some “before & after” type posts, so I thought I would go over our plans for renovations, but maybe the first place to start with is what we have done so far… So, here goes…

Home Renovations – What We Have Done So Far…

Our house is a 1950s house, solidly built and well maintained, but was needing a little TLC when we bought it.  And, although we wanted to jump in to the fun kitchen and bathroom redesigns, we first had to work on the inner workings and exterior stuff.  Saving for these things has been on my financial goals lists for the past couple years, so this shouldn’t come as any surprise to you if you’ve been reading for a while…


This is the picture that I “borrowed” from googlemaps.  I was sure that I had my own “before” picture of the exterior, but I can’t seem to find it right now… (Sign that perhaps I need to organize my photos? Maybe… but that’s a task for another day…)

New Heat Pump

The first thing we did was get rid of the old oil furnace and replace it with an efficient heat pump with small electric back-up.  We are lucky here in Victoria that the weather almost never gets too cold for a heat pump, so the need for a full back-up furnace is not required.  Nor do we really need any air conditioning because it doesn’t ever get too hot in the summer, though the heat pump would provide that if we did.  Unfortunately, this install occurred before I was keeping track of our expenses in YNAB, so I don’t have easy access to how much it cost us, but I’d wager it was somewhere in the $10,000 range.

New Roof

The next thing we tackled was the roof.  This was identified in our home inspection as requiring replacement in the near future, so we tackled that in the summer of 2015.  I mentioned it when I was doing our budget report for June 2015.  The full cost of the roof was around $7500 but should last us a long time.  And as a bonus, we got to change the colour.  Not that I don’t mind the colour red, but the red-brown roof with red gutters and red paint on the side of the house was all just a little too much for me.  We picked a nice neutral grey colour.

The new roof going on.

Misc. Small Things

After that we took some time off from doing major things around the house.  We did buy a new dishwasher (when the existing one died) and were gifted a lightly used laundry set from my parents, but we were busy with other stuff…  We had our wedding, I was away for work a lot, and then we had our honeymoon…  Then last spring, we built a new raised bed in our backyard.  The total cost for all of those small things probably came in around $2000.

New Gutters

This summer we decided to tackle a few more of the bigger things for the exterior of the house, starting with the gutters.  The old ones were working pretty well, but were showing signs of wear, had some places were they had been damaged in the past and not totally fixed, and were probably going to start failing.  Best to just replace them before they cause damage.  And, just like with the roof, when we got the new ones installed we could pick a colour other than red!  We picked white to go with the window trim.  Other than being a bit of a struggle to get the Christmas lights on, the new gutters have been great.  I was surprised that they came in at only $2200.

(Okay, I know that’s not a small number, but my knowledge of gutters is limited, and it seemed like a big task – turned out it was done in a few hours, so it was actually quite expensive per hour of labour…)

Back Yard Fence

When we moved in to the house, our backyard was open to the neighbour’s back yard on one side, and the other side had this giant hedge.  So, this summer, before we got our puppy, we thought we should probably get a fence built on the open side to keep the puppy in.  We could have probably built it ourselves, and we probably could have gone for a simpler fence and saved some money, but we went all in and got a friend’s company to build it for us and we think it is a very pretty fence.  Functional and nice to look at, perfect!  But, it wasn’t cheap.  The full cost of the fence came in at around $3800.  Since then, the neighbours on the other side have taken down the giant hedge, but haven’t removed the stumps yet, or decided on what sort of fence we all want to put in there, so there is now a temporary heavy duty chicken wire type fence on that side to keep Bentley in our backyard and away from their senior and somewhat cranky dog.  (To be fair, he is blind and partly deaf, so a rambunctious puppy is the last thing he wants to deal with.)  So, there will be more fence expenses in the future, but I think we will be sharing those with that neighbour so might be a bit cheaper.

Yes, that is Cleo walking along the fence…

Exterior Paint

The last thing we have done this year is get the exterior of our house painted.  Yes, this is probably something that we could have handled ourselves and done for cheaper, but with both my husband and I working full time, and our busy fall with weddings and other weekend events and travel, we really just wanted to get it done.  Plus, one of my dad’s really good friends is a painter, so I don’t mind supporting his business (similar to supporting our friend with the fence).  We picked some shades of grey (not 50, don’t worry) for the outside and kept the white trim (to match the gutters that we just replaced), and we are so happy with the result.  There is now almost no red on the outside of the house.  The red brick has stayed, so far, we aren’t sure if it will stay forever (thinking maybe covering the brick by the front door with a stone facade), but that small amount of red really isn’t overwhelming like it was at the beginning.  Anyway, the total for the painting was almost $4700.

Final Result (so far)

While the picture won’t show the peace of mind that comes with having new functional gutters and a new roof, nor will it show the warmth and efficiency of our new heat pump, I still thing that the result is pretty nice to look at.  The total that we’ve spent on the renovations so far comes in just over $30,000.  No wonder we haven’t been able to increase our retirement savings contributions!


I realize that this photo is from a different angle, and it isn’t really all that good, but it is dark by the time when I get home from work these days, so I haven’t been able to get a good “after” shot.  I’ll work on it… maybe this weekend?

So, What’s Next?

What do we have planned next?  Well, the interior of course!  But, this post is already pretty long, and adding in all the different things that we want to do to the inside of the house would just make this post ridiculous, so you will have to wait until next time.



11 thoughts on “Home Renovations – So Far…

  1. Your home looks great now! We are also working on improving some interior things on our house. Last year we replaced our front door, had our home painted gray as well, and got new gutters because ours fell. 😦

    Next on our item list is replacing our interior doors to the 3 bedrooms and the bathrooms. Our house was built in the 1930s!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1930s… That’s got to have some old quirky features then, right?

      That really sucks that your gutters actually fell! I’m glad that we replaced ours before we had something like that happen. What colour was your new door? I want to get a new front door too, but my husband is totally against any fun colours… He wants plain wood or to keep it white. I want red or blue.


      • Our front door is white. Red is fun! There are a few houses around here that have red doors.

        Yes, quirks are right! We have cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling, and our kitchen has no good place for a stove or refrigerator. They just kind of hang out free standing against a wall.

        Gutters falling is the most terrifying sound in the world! I thought a tree fell on our house. We also painted our house gray with white trim 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Is there a cat on the fence? And it doesn’t get hot enough for air conditioning or cold enough for a heater? Wow! Ever? That sounds like a perfect place to live! Anyways, the house looks great!!! I think you’re doing a really good job! The paint colors are super nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, that’s my cat Cleo. She’s the sweetest little thing! She uses the fence as a getaway from the puppy!

      Well, we definitely don’t get hot enough for too long. Our summers are quite moderate with an average temperature of only 20C. We are happy when we get the occasional 25C day. We do need the heat pump to heat in the winter and fall, but the typical winter temperatures are above freezing most days, so the heat pump can keep our house warm without too much work. It does have a small internal electric heater as back-up, but in most of Canada where the winters are harsh, you’d definitely need a better back-up source of heat.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! We are so happy with the grey. The interior is next for us. The exterior stuff isn’t too bad because it really doesn’t interfere with daily tasks… I think it’ll be a struggle for a while when we start taking things apart inside the house and having to live around the chaos… We will see… Might need to move out for a bit…

      Liked by 1 person

      • So far we haven’t had too many issues like that, we did the kitchen pretty much as we were moving in, and now we’re demoing one bathroom that I never use anyway and the laundry room that doesn’t have machines, so it hasn’t inconvenienced us too much yet thankfully.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lucky! We live very close to both my parents and my sister, so if we have any issues, we’ll just go over the their houses and bug them, I mean ask nicely to stay temporarily with them or borrow their kitchen/bathroom/laundry.

          Liked by 1 person

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