Kelly’s Top Five Ways She Made A Stanky, Nasty Ol’ Foreclosure Feel Like Home

August 10, 2012 | by Jocie (email) |

Today is EXTRA special because not only am I still in Jamaica but it is also my birthday!! In some ways it will be my bestest birthday yet because, let’s face it, what could be better than being on the beach with a drink and no kids?

In other ways, it seems like many past birthdays. Growing up, we were often at the beach during the week of my birthday with my family and grandparents. That same grandmother is the one who is taking us to Jamaica!

Sadly, my twin brother, Scott was unable to come with us to Jamaica. But a BIG SHOUT OUT and Happy Birthday to my best friend from since before birth! I love you, Scotty!

Now to business…. Kelly from View Along the Way has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers since winning our first week of the Before and After Link Party supporting Habitat for Humanity (it’s not too late to link up!). Kelly has great style, a great sense of humor, and was kind enough to guest post while I’m being super lazy on the beach. Thanks, Kelly for sharing! We hope you’ll go visit her at View Along The Way and show some blog love!

I’m so excited to be here at One Project Closer! I’m always so inspired by the projects Jocie shares, so it’s an honor to get to share a tiny glimpse of our journey as we renovate our home.

I still remember that naive, silly moment: we had just closed on a very rough, kinda gross foreclosure, with all the hope and optimism inherent to DIYers-to-the-core. There we sat on the stained carpet floor, my husband and me, looking around the living room with my parents, when my mom said:

“You know, I really don’t think fixing up this house will be all that much work.”


Hilarious joke, Mom.

Four years after that day, we’re still working to make this house feel like a home. I blog our adventures and misadventures throughout the process over at View Along the Way.

Now that we’ve been in this house four years, we’ve had time to reflect on…

The Top Five Ways We’ve Made This Nasty, Stanky Ol’ Foreclosure Feel Like Home

1. Remove all the previous homeowners’ grodiness
You know what I’m talking about, right? The grunge in the corners of the kitchen cabinets. The used hair weave in the bathroom cabinet. The feces rubbed into the carpet of the guest room. (True story)

Our first step was to remove anything remotely gross, so we could stand to be in our new house without losing our lunch.

2. Throw “Resale Value” Out the Window
To an extent. Unless you know you’ll be moving in the next couple of years, forget about the next buyer and take on projects that make it right for the current buyer: you.

Will the next buyer need front-facing bookshelves, or will having a wall of bookshelves deter them from buying? Who knows.

Will the next buyer smirk at my dark paint choice in the dining room and wish we’d gone more neutral? Possibly.

But while we are here, we are going to be fully here.

3. Add Function to Make Your House Work For You
Sometimes you have to live in a space for a while before you really understand how your family will use it. But once you do? Don’t be afraid to DIY customized solutions that work for you.

We didn’t need to live in our house for long to know that I’m a late-night snacker. (Ha! Guilty as charged!) So enable my bad habit, we installed motion-sensing light (for $4!) in our pantry:

And we realized we need a LOT more storage, so we built this wall of bookshelves in our office:

Our current project is to update our laundry room to make more functional. (And hopefully a little prettier too!)

4. Inject Your Personality into Your Home
Don’t be afraid to try something a little different. Maybe you’ll hate it. But maybe you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with it and it’ll make your house feel more like you. (Or maybe you’ll LOVE it but your husband will hate it, but he’ll let you leave it up because you love it so much. Meet my plate wall.)

Another way to bring personality to your home is DIY art. I made this little DIY art piece with canvas and chipboard letters, but it could be changed and customized to any quote you like.

5. Take on some projects just for looks.
Were our popcorn ceilings making the house harder to live in? (Yes.) Technically, no. (But yes.) One of the first things we did was change what was just visually offensive to us. Was it a lot of work? Eh. Kinda? It’s really not that hard. But it was worth it.

Another completely cosmetic update: our hardwood floors. We got them from our Home Depot Clearance Center, and I gotta tell ya, I’m still totally digging them.

The moral of the story?
Don’t be afraid to tackle the big projects. Don’t focus on the next buyer. It’s worth the time to make your home livable for you and your family.

…even if four years later, you feel like you’re just getting started. 🙂

I hope you’ll come check out all the projects and updates we’re taking on over at View Along the Way! You can subscribe to the blog here, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Jocie, thank you so much for letting me crash your beautiful blog! Have a wonderful vacation!

What have you done to update your fixer-upper? What do you think of Kelly’s great projects?

As Always, thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Pinterest!

12 Responses
  1. Reuben says:

    Some good projects in there! Love the look of the new floor.

  2. Oh, Kelly, 17 years later I still feel like I’m just getting started! Never ending …

    Love, love your house and your blog. You know this Kelly. I never, ever skim you! I soak up each and every word …



  3. trebor says:

    The hardest thing for me to “get over” would be remembering how the house USED to be. I don’t think I could erase a poop-stained carpet from my mind.

  4. Bliss says:

    Grodiness, skanky, Kelly knows her foreclosures well! My husband jokes with his friends that he’s worried if he completely finishes the house I won’t have any reason to keep him around.


  5. It happens to everyone: “Oh, this won’t take too long to fix.” I believe it to be a giant practical joke that the universe plays on new homeowners.

  6. She is one foreclosure savvy gal and I love her mindset — MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU! Yay, Kelly — she rocks!
    xo Heidi

  7. frazzled5 says:

    Happy Birthday with no kids? WOW sounds amazing!
    I cannot decide what I love more, the plates going around the corner or the color of the crib bedskirt or the wall of bookshelves!!

  8. JustME says:

    So sorry I missed your birthday Jocie. I’m sure it was an awesome one!

    Kelly, what a beautiful home you have. And look all the love that went into making it a home!

  9. Blondeerin79 says:

    I love!!! the “Be still and know” picture… i may have to try that… (or get Jocie to make it for me)

  10. MissFixIt says:

    This makes me want to tackle more rooms here. Just amazing job over all. I like the bathroom vanity she scored for under $200(in the links) wow unheard of here in high price Canada land.

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