DIY or Hire a Pro – What We Did and a House Update

DIY or Hire a pro for home renovations – it can be hard deciding which way to go. Check out why made our choice to do both! Also, a quick update on the house!House reveal - before - exterior

DIY or hire a pro for home renovations – it is a very heavily discussed question – at least lately in our home. Coming from absolutely no personal or family history of DIY experience, I have come far enough to be able to build furniture and home decor projects. Renovating a house is an entirely different beast!

In case you need a recap – we bought our new (to us) home about 3 weeks ago. See all the before pictures here. It was in pretty good shape considering the other houses we had seen. I shared our plans for various rooms too!

Most of the house seems to have been updated in the last 5-6 years even though I would not have picked most of the colors and finishes. If you are reading a DIY blog, you realize by now that color is never a constraint, it can always be changed!

List of Major Projects –

But first thing’s first – we had to get the house move in ready. We made a list of the required major renovations  –

  1. Remove Carpet – the previous owners had 4 dogs and 2 cats… yes that carpet needed to go. It was only in the family room, stairs, master and one bedroom.
  2. Flooring – We expected to find hardwood under most of the carpet except the family room. Hardwood needed to be refinished or ripped out based on its condition
  3. Master bedroom expansion – This was going to be a huge project and many decisions were needed before this could happen
  4. Paint – Not only did most of the house have colors that we didn’t like, most of it was glossy paint.
  5. Popcorn ceiling – Was only in one room. That obviously had to go.

I had been itching to do all of that! It was like a (novice) DIYers dream come true!DIY or Hire a Pro for home renovations?

DIY or Hire a Pro

Given that we had exactly 11 days between closing on the house and moving in plus I was going to be away at Haven conference for 4 out of those 11 days, we had to make a few decisions based on –

  1. Skills – Do we have the skills to DIY? I dare say yes… I am comfortable with power tools and own quite a bit of them. I know a few things about painting. I know where to find information and resources to help learn skills. Plus I do have blogger friends who have tackled similar projects. Then begs the doubt – will the finished product be professional enough? If I mess up a piece of furniture, it is not a huge deal… it sits in the corner of a room. If it is truly messed up, I can cover it with a sheet or just store it in the shed in the backyard 😉 (did you notice how I didn’t say “throw it away”) When it comes to a room, it is a bit permanent.
  2. Time –  This is a big one! When you hire out to professionals, you get a (kinda sorta) defined timeline. When you do it yourself, it is way harder to define the time involved because it depends on experience and skill level. Plus how much time could we actually give the project every day? We also had a lot of packing to do at the old house!
  3. Sanity – This kind of ties in with no.2 above. It was going to be a new house, new preschool, new elementary school, new commute for the husband. Lots of new changes! We had no idea how the days were going to play out and how the kids were going to adapt. Adding to that – living in a house under renovation was not going to be fun!
  4. Priority – Did we really need to get it all done to move?

See All My Favorite Tools Here

What We Did –

Based this, we made the following decision – get one part of the house ready and move into it while we tackle the rest of the house.

This meant – changing out the flooring in the family room and stairs and getting the kitchen, living room, hallway and 2 bedrooms painted professionally.

Well actually, I suggested we get the walls only just sanded and primed so I can pick my colors and paint them later but the difference in cost did not justify it and I ended up making a trip to the paint stores to pick colors and samples 1 day before leaving for the conference!

Changing Out the Flooring –

Guess what – it was a good thing we decided to get the flooring professionally installed because we ended up having to remove the tile from the kitchen (it ended at a weird angle and we would have a doorway where 2 types of floor meeting each other!

When they removed the kitchen tiles, we found a layer of vinyl over a layer of laminate and we had to remove all those layers!Removing flooring to add wood look vinyl

They found that the cabinets were built on top of the tile so we had to cut around the tile under the cabinets!Cabinets over tile!

The stairs had hardwood but it was really beaten up and unsalvageable (even though it doesn’t look all the bad in the picture below). We had to rip it all up!Stairs after removing carpet

For all the new flooring, we decided on wood look vinyl plank flooring. I tried to find something to match the existing oak flooring but it can never be a perfect match. If you can’t match it, contrast it! We picked a dark gray brown!

We love it!!! I am so glad we decided to do this!Foyer after changing flooring of the stairway

Painted Rooms –

The rooms got painted professionally too – Living room, foyer, kitchen and stairway in Edgecomb Gray by BM, one bedroom (Guest room) in SW Sea Salt and another (my office) in SW Repose Gray. All the trim and doors got painted in SW Alabaster. We didn’t paint the ceilings because they are in great shape!DIY or Hire - After flooring and paint

And because we love before and afters, here is the before of these same rooms – Before pictures- the power of paint

Guess what! All of this was done in 5 days!!! It was amazing! I got back from the conference and everything looked different!

Now, we are moved in and living out of the guest room which acts as a master and the office which acts as the kids’ room.

Next, we are working on fixing up the remaining 3 bedrooms of the house and a hallway.

We decided to put the room expansion on hold and refinish the rooms ourselves which involves removing the popcorn ceiling, skim coating walls to remove texture and refinishing hardwood floors and a whole set of other projects like new baseboards etc. You get lots of glimpses of all that we up to on my Facebook page and Instagram stories!

I will be back with an update in a couple of weeks when I stop looking like this! 🙂 And that is a sneak peek of the room that needed the most help.DIY or Hire a pro - what we decided to do?

DIY or Hire a pro for home renovations - it can be hard deciding which way to go. See what we decided and why!

Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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  1. I do actually have pictures of before/during/after of the kitchen/dining/ living areas! I am now taking pictures as we go through the other end of the house. I am not sure how to get them to you though!? How would I get them to you exactly? (I have them in file albums on my phone).
    I have even thought about sending them to some website that might be interested to see what the “Boomer Generation” can still do, 😉 but have not really pursued that either. You never see that on HGTV or DIY channels. It is really only all about young people and their friends. …Furthermore, frankly–no time!;-)
    It IS a great feeling to see what you can accomplish once you put your mind and hands to a dream! 🙂 Thanks for your reply!

    1. That is awesome that you have all the pictures!! I would love to feature them on my blog!! You can submit them through the “submit a project” tab in the menu. Can’t wait to see them!! 🙂

  2. It’s definitely valuable post, Thank you so much for sharing my friend!

  3. We ran into a similar situation with our kitchen floors to. Your Renovations look amazing. Great job.

    1. Thanks Chris!

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